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Title: History of Spanish and Portuguese Literature (Vol 1 of 2)
Author: Bouterwek, Friedrich
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Spanish and Portuguese Literature (Vol 1 of 2)" ***

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Translated from the Original German,







F. Justins, Printer, 41, Brick Lane, Spitalfields.


The growing interest of Spanish and Portuguese Literature would,
perhaps, be thought a sufficient reason for laying the following
translation before the public, were the merits of the original work
even less conspicuous, and the deficiency it appears fitted to supply
in our language less sensibly felt. It is, indeed, extraordinary, that
no similar work has hitherto appeared in a country, where the subject
of which this history treats, has, in the instances in which it has
been partially explored, always been found a rich source of pleasure
and instruction. But the information thus collected from the literary
stores of Spain and Portugal, however satisfactory on particular
points, is, from its nature, detached and incomplete, and seems
calculated to increase rather than to diminish the desire for such a
connected and comprehensive view of the whole subject as M. Bouterwek
has exhibited in his General History of Modern Literature.

The following volumes on the literature of Spain and Portugal
are extracted from a work, entitled, _Geschichte der Poesie und
Beredsamkeit seit dem Ende der dreizehnten Jahrhunderts_, (History of
Poetry and Eloquence from the close of the thirteenth Century,) in
which M. Bouterwek has taken an historical and critical survey of the
literature of the principal nations of Europe. The work consists of
twelve volumes, published at different periods at Göttingen; the first
volume having appeared in 1805, and the last, which contains an index
to the whole, in 1819.[1] The two volumes now translated are the third
and fourth of the German original.

If it be admitted that there remains in English literature a vacant
place which ought to be occupied by a work of this kind, it is not
apprehended that the means now resorted to for filling up the chasm
will be disapproved; at least the translator is not aware that any
better source could have been found for supplying the deficiency. In
vain, she is persuaded, would any substitute be sought for in French,
much as that language abounds in works of criticism. Sismondi in his
_Litterature du Midi de l’Europe_, implicitly adopts the judgments
passed by Bouterwek on Spanish and Portuguese literature; and indeed
with respect to that part of his subject he says very little of
importance that is not directly borrowed from the German critic.[2]
The _Essai sur la Litterature Espagnole_, published in Paris in 1810,
and which appears to have been well received by the French public, is
a gross plagiarism. It is, with some slight additions, merely the
translation of an anonymous English work, entitled, _Letters from
an English Traveller in Spain_, the epistolary form being dropped,
and the materials transposed for the purpose of concealing the
theft.[3] The work of M. Bouterwek belongs, however, to a superior
class. To say that M. Bouterwek has treated his subject with great
perspicuity and precision, would be to express only a small portion of
his merits. Extensive and laborious as his enquiries have evidently
been, his judgment in the management of his materials is still more
remarkable than the indefatigable research with which they must have
been obtained. He has not confined himself to a mere narrative of the
progress and an exemplification of the beauties and deformities of
the literature of which he is the historian.--The philosophic spirit
which pervades his criticism was not to be circumscribed within such
narrow bounds. He seeks in the structure of society, the habits of the
people, and the influence of events, for the causes of the intellectual
phenomena he has to describe; and he examines with great candour and
impartiality the effects of mis-government and arbitrary institutions
on poetic genius and literary taste. Impressed with this favourable
opinion of the work, the translator has endeavoured to give a true
representation of its contents. In undertaking the translation, her
wish was to preserve the character of the original, as far as possible,
under an English dress. She began the task with an anticipation of its
difficulty, and she ends it with a consciousness of the indulgence of
which her labours stand in need; but at the same time with the hope
that she will not be found to have altogether failed in the object she
had in view.

The first of the following volumes is devoted to the history of
Spanish, and the second to the history of Portuguese Literature. The
subdivisions of the work correspond with periods marked out by certain
revolutions in taste, produced by the rise of eminent writers, or by
other influential circumstances. These epochs in literary cultivation
form convenient resting places for the student, and contribute to
exhibit in a clear point of view the circumstances by which the
advancement of polite learning has been accelerated or retarded.
The specimens, which are numerous, and a great portion of which are
selected from very scarce works, cannot fail to prove highly acceptable
to the lovers of the literature of Spain and Portugal. For a general
and comprehensive knowledge of that literature they will be found amply
sufficient, and to those who wish to pursue its study more in detail,
they will afford most useful assistance. In such a course of study,
great advantage may also be derived from the numerous bibliographical
notes which the author has introduced, and which are therefore
scrupulously retained in the translation.

The translator at first intended to give literal versions of all the
specimens extracted from Spanish and Portuguese authors; but had she
persisted in this plan, the translation could not have been completed
without augmenting the price of the publication much beyond the rate
to which the publishers were of opinion it ought to be limited. To
have omitted a part of the extracts in order to give translations of
the rest would have been still more improper, for the extracts quoted
in the notes are all necessary to the illustration of the text; and
besides such a mutilation would have deprived the work of a merit
which has just been pointed out, namely, that of supplying sufficient
materials for a comprehensive study of the literature of Spain and
Portugal. The translator has it, however, in contemplation, to prepare
for the press a volume containing translations of the specimens
given by M. Bouterwek, and of some other pieces from the Spanish and
Portuguese languages. This volume will not form a mere appendix to the
volumes now published; an endeavour will be made to render it useful
and entertaining as a separate work.

It is necessary to observe, that the History of Italian Literature,
which is sometimes referred to in the notes, is a part of M.
Bouterwek’s General History of Poetry and Eloquence. It forms the
two first volumes of the German work; some other parts of which the
translator will be prepared to send to the press, should the merits of
the original procure from the public a favourable reception for these
volumes on Spanish and Portuguese Literature.

Notwithstanding that the translator had considerable assistance in
reading and revising the proofs, she regrets to find that still further
correction would have been desirable. Fortunately, however, there are
few errors in the Spanish and Portuguese extracts; and those which do
occur in the English text, will be found to be in general of a literal
or obvious nature, altogether incapable of misleading the intelligent
reader. Of the mistakes of the press which have been observed, tables
of errata are made. If there are others, the translator is confident,
that the persons who are the best able to correct such faults, will be
the most ready to pardon them.






  Recollection of the general State of Spain and Portugal, about
    the middle of the thirteenth century                             1

  View of the principal idioms of the romance spoken in the
    Pyrenean Peninsula                                               5

  Original separation of the Catalonian and Limosin poetry from
    the Castilian and Portuguese                                    15

  National metres and rhymes common to the Spaniards and
    Portuguese                                                      20



  Probable period of the first romances                             27

  Poema del Cid                                                     28

  Poema de Alexandro Magno                                          30

  Gonzalo Berceo                                                    31

  Alphonso X.; his literary merits.--Nicolas and Antonio de los
    romances, &c.                                                   32

  Alphonso XI.                                                      35

  Early cultivation of Castilian prose.--Don Juan Manuel; his
    Conde Lucanor; his romances                                     36

  Satirical poem of Juan Ruyz, arch-priest of Hita                  44

  More precise account of the origin of the Spanish poetic
    romances and songs.--Probable rise of the romances of
    chivalry in prose.--Original relationship of the poetic and
    prose romances                                                  47

  The different kinds of poetic romance                             53

  Castilian poetry in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries       72

  Poetical court of John II.                                        76

  The Marquis of Villena                                            78

  The Marquis of Santillana--his poetical works--his historical
    and critical letter                                             82

  Juan de Mena                                                      90

  Perez de Guzman, Rodriguez de Padron, and other Spanish
    lyric poets of the age of John II.                             100

  Of the Cancionero General, and the different kinds of ancient
    Spanish songs                                                  102

  Of the Romancero General                                         121

  First traces of the origin of Spanish dramatic poetry in the
    Mingo Rebulgo.--Juan del Enzina.--Calistus and Melibœa,
    a dramatic tale                                                128

  Further account of Spanish prose.--Rise of the historical
    art.--Early progress of the epistolary style                   137

  Juan de la Enzina’s Art of Castilian poetry                      145



  INTRODUCTION.--General view of the state of poetical
    and  rhetorical cultivation in Spain during the above period   148

  FIRST SECTION.--History of Spanish poetry and eloquence
    from the introduction of the Italian style to the age of
    Cervantes and Lope de Vega                                     161

  Occasion of the introduction of the Italian style               ibid

  Boscan                                                           162

  Garcilaso de la Vega                                             176

  Diego de Mendoza                                                 186

  Mendoza’s account of the rebellion of Granada, the first
    classical history in Spanish literature                        205

  Saa de Miranda--(Commencement of elevated pastoral poetry
    in Spanish literature)                                         210

  Montemayor; his Diana--the first Spanish pastoral romance        217

  Herrera; first developement of the ode style in Spanish poetry   228

  Luis de Leon                                                     240

  Minor Spanish poets during the period of this section, viz.
    Acuna--Cetina--Padilla--Gil Polo                               254

  Obstacles to the imitation of the romantic epopee in
    Spain--Unsuccessful essays in serious epopee--translations
    of classical epic poetry                                       262

  Progress of the romantic poetry.--Castillejo; his contest with
    the partizans of the Italian style                             267

  History of Spanish dramatic poetry during the first half and
    ten succeeding years of the sixteenth century                  277

  The Erudite party                                                279

  The party of the moralists                                       281

  The first national party--Torres Naharro                         282

  The second national party--Lope de Rueda; collections of his
    dramas by Juan Timoneda                                        286

  Naharro of Toledo                                                289

  Juan de la Cueva; his art of poetry                              290

  Probable rise of the spiritual drama in Spain                    293

  Entremeses and Saynetes                                          294

  Spanish tragedies, by Geronymo Bermudez                          296

  History of Spanish prose during the first half and ten
    succeeding years of the sixteenth century                      303

  Prose romances of chivalry                                       304

  Romances of knavery--Lazarillo de Tormes                         305

  Tales of Juan Timoneda                                           306

  Didactic prose--Perez de Oliva--Ambrosio de Morales--Pedro
    de Valles--Francisco Cervantes de Salazar                      308

  Historical prose--Annals of Zurita                               315

  Oratorical prose--Perez de Oliva                                 320

  Epistolary prose                                                 321

  Spanish criticism during the period of this section--Alonzo
    Lopez Pinciano                                                 323

  SECOND SECTION.--History of Spanish poetry and
    eloquence from the age of Cervantes and Lope de Vega to
    the middle of the seventeenth century                          327

  Cervantes                                                       ibid

  Brief character of Don Quixote                                   333

  The moral tales of Cervantes                                     340

  The Galatea                                                      342

  The journey to Parnassus                                         346

  Dramatic works of Cervantes                                      350

  The romance of Persiles and Sigismunda                           357

  Lope de Vega                                                     359

  General characteristics of his poetry                            363

  Explanation of the idea of a Spanish comedy as it is
    exemplified in the dramas of Lope de Vega                      364

  Various species of dramas by this poet                           368

  Brief notice of his other poetic works                           390

  The Brothers Leonardo de Argensola--Classic cultivation of
    the didactic satire and epistle in Spanish literature          392

  Tragedies by the elder Argensola                                 394

  Epistles, odes, &c. by the younger Argensola                     400

  Continuation of the history of Spanish poetry and eloquence,
    during the age of Cervantes and Lope de Vega                   406

  Fresh failures in epic poetry--Ercilla’s Araucana                407

  Lyric and bucolic poets of the classic school of the sixteenth
    century                                                        413

  Vicente Espinel                                                  414

  Christoval de Mesa                                               415

  Juan de Morales                                                  416

  Agustin de Texada, &c.                                           417

  Rise of a new irregular and fantastical style in Spanish poetry  428

  Gongora and his Estilo Culto--the Cultoristos--the Conceptistos  431

  Two dramatic poets of the age of Lope de Vega                    441

  Christoval de Virues                                             442

  Perez de Montalvan                                               446

  Novels in the age of Cervantes and Lope de Vega                  450

  Progressive cultivation of the historical art--Mariana           455

  Fluctuation of Spanish taste from the classic to the
   corrupt style                                                   459

  Quevedo                                                          460

  Character of his best works                                      465

  Villegas                                                         475

  Continuation of the history of lyric, bucolic, epic,
    didactic and satirical poetry, to the close of the
    period embraced by this section                                485

  Jauregui                                                         486

  Borja y Esquillache                                              488

  Other poets of this period--the Sylvas or Poetic Forests         492

  Rebolledo                                                        493

  Continuation of the history of the Spanish drama                 499

  Calderon                                                         500

  Character of the different species of Calderon’s dramas          503

  History of the Spanish drama continued to the close of the
    period of this section                                         521

  Antonio de Solis                                                 524

  Moreto                                                           526

  Juan de Hoz                                                     ibid

  Tirso de Molina                                                  527

  Francisco de Roxas                                              ibid

  Agustin de Salazar y Torres                                     ibid

  Mira de Mescua                                                   528

  Collections of Spanish dramas published in the seventeenth
    century                                                        529

  Conclusion of the history of Spanish eloquence and criticism,
    within the period of this section                              530

  Antonio de Solis considered as a historian                       531

  Introduction of Gongorism into Spanish prose--Balthazar
    Gracian                                                        533


  History of Spanish literature from its decline in the latter
    half of the seventeenth to the end of the eighteenth century   538

  CHAP. I.

  General view of the state of poetical and rhetorical cultivation
    in Spain during this period                                    540


  Decay of the old Spanish poetry and eloquence, and introduction
    of the French style into Spanish literature                    547

  Candamo, Zamora and Cañizares, dramatists in the old
    national style                                                ibid

  Doña Juana Inez de la Cruz                                       551

  Gerardo Lobo                                                     556

  Diffusion of the French taste--Luzan, his art of poetry, &c.     557

  Luzan’s poetic compositions                                      568

  Mayans y Siscar and Blas Nasarre                                 570

  Montiano’s tragedies in the French style                         571

  Velasquez                                                        574


  Concluding period of the history of Spanish poetry and
    eloquence                                                      575

  La Huerta                                                        576

  His tragedies                                                    580

  His Spanish theatre                                              584

  Sedano                                                           587

  Yriarte                                                          588

  Leon de Arroyal                                                  593

  Juan Melendez Valdes                                             595

  Brief notice of some of the more recent literary productions
    of Spain                                                       600

  Conclusion                                                       605



When modern refinement began, during the thirteenth century, to emerge
from the rudeness of the middle ages, that part of Europe which
geographers have called the Pyrenean Peninsula, and which, according
to its present political division, forms Spain and Portugal, contained
four Christian kingdoms and some Mahometan principalities, to which
the title of kingdom has also been given. More than five hundred years
had elapsed since the battle of Xerez de la Frontera;[4] and the
Moors, who, by the result of that conflict, obtained the dominion of
the greater part of Spain and Portugal, had, by the repeated victories
of the Christians, been, in their turn, driven back to the southern
extremity of the country, and were obviously not destined to maintain
themselves much longer even in that quarter.

During these five centuries of almost uninterrupted warfare between the
race of Moorish Arabs and the Christians of ancient European descent,
both parties, notwithstanding that their reciprocal hostility was
influenced by fanaticism, had unconsciously approximated in mind and
in manners. The intervals of repose, which formed short links in the
chain of their sanguinary conflicts, afforded them some opportunities
for the interchange of the arts of peace, and they were soon taught to
feel for each other that involuntary respect which the brave can never
withhold from brave adversaries. Love adventures, in which the Moorish
knight and Christian lady, or the Christian knight and Moorish lady,
respectively participated, could not be of rare occurrence. The Arab,
who, in his native deserts, had not been accustomed to impose on women
half the despotic restraints to which the sex is subject in the harems
of Mahometan cities, was soon disposed to imitate the gallantry of the
descendants of the Goths; and still more readily did the imagination of
the Christian knight, in a climate which was far from being ungenial,
even to African invaders, acquire an oriental loftiness. Thus arose
the spirit of Spanish knighthood, which was, in reality, only a
particular form of the general chivalrous spirit then prevailing in
most of the countries of Europe, but which, under that form, impressed
in an equal degree, on the old European Spaniard an oriental, and on
the Spanish Moor a European character.

In the first period of this long contest the Arabs carried learning
and the arts to a degree of cultivation far beyond any thing known in
the Christian parts of Spain. Those wild enthusiasts learned, on the
European soil, to estimate the value of civilized life with a rapidity
as astonishing as that which distinguished the social improvement of
their brethren, whom they had left behind in Asia, under the government
of the Caliphs. Before the era of Mahomet, their language had been
cultivated and adapted to poetry and eloquence, according to the laws
of oriental taste. In Spain, it soon acquired, even among the conquered
Christians, the superiority over the barbarous _Romance_, or dialect
of the country, which was then governed by no rule: for in the eighth
century, when the Moors penetrated into Spain, the Visigoths, who had
been masters of the territory since the fifth century, were not yet
completely intermixed by matrimonial alliances with the _Provincials_,
or descendants of the Roman subjects; and the new national language,
which had grown out of a corrupt latin, was still the sport of
accident. The conquered Christians, in the provinces under Moorish
dominion, soon forgot their Romance. They became, indeed, so habituated
to the Arabic, that, according to the testimony of a bishop of Cordova,
who lived in the ninth century, out of a thousand Spanish Christians,
scarcely one was to be found capable of repeating the latin forms of
prayer, while many could express themselves in Arabic with rhetorical
elegance, and compose Arabic verses.[5]

But the Christians who had preserved their independence, descending
from the mountains of the Asturias, began to repel the invaders, and
in proportion as they extended their conquests, a wider field was
opened for the Spanish tongue. It remained, nevertheless, long barren
and rude, and was destined to receive many additions from the rich and
elegant Arabic, before it attained the copiousness requisite for the
wants even of common life.

The circumstances, however, under which the dialects of the several
provinces existed, did not present those facilities for an improved
national language, on the principle of the Italian _Volgare illustre_,
of the age of Dante, which would have enabled a poet of Dante’s
genius, had such then arisen in Spain, to form out of them one general
literary language for all the Christian states of the Peninsula. It
happened, singularly enough, that about the beginning of the thirteenth
century, the three principal idioms which were spoken from the coast
of the Atlantic to the Pyrenees, and from the Bay of Biscay to the
Mediterranean, were represented by three kingdoms perfectly independent
of each other. The Castilian prevailed exclusively only in the Castiles
and Leon, the latter of which was permanently united to the former in
the year 1230. The Portuguese was spoken both by the court and the
people of Portugal. In the kingdom of Arragon, the language in general
use was the Catalonian, a dialect nearly the same as the Provençal
or Limosin of the south of France, but differing greatly both from
the Castilian and the Portuguese. This language also extended to
the little kingdom of Navarre, but it was there spoken only by the
nobles, who were of French or Hispano-Gothic origin. The great body
of the population in Navarre spoke the ancient Cantabrian, called
still exists in the Pyrenees and in the Spanish province of Biscay.

The trouble will be repaid if a glance be now cast on the map, in order
to distinguish, with somewhat more precision than is usually thought
necessary, the respective domains of the three principal dialects of
the Spanish tongue; for it would be very difficult, if not impossible,
to form any opinion on the contest maintained between the Spaniards and
the Portuguese relative to the value of their respective languages,
and the influence which the merits or demerits of these languages have
had on the polite literature of both countries, without a knowledge
of the geographical boundaries, which, previously to the political
divisions, separated the Portuguese from the Castilians, and the
latter from the Arragonese. In these questions the Biscayan language
is of no consideration, as it has only an accidental and unimportant
connexion with the other Spanish dialects, and, besides, bears not the
most remote resemblance to them.[6]

The mutilated latin spoken along the Mediterranean on the Spanish
shore, from the Pyrenees as far as Murcia, appears to have resolved
itself, before the period of the Arabian invasion, into the same
language which extended eastward from the Pyrenees through the whole
of the south of France to the Italian frontiers, and which, according
to the most remarkable of its provincial forms, was called the
and the PROVENÇAL. Of all the tongues spoken in modern
Europe, this language of the coasts was the first cultivated. In it
the Troubadours sang, and their lays had all the same character,
whether addressed to the Italians, the French, or the Spaniards. From
Catalonia it probably spread itself along the chain of the Pyrenees.
The kingdom of Arragon became, after the restoration of the Spanish
romance in that quarter, its second country; for there both it and the
poetry of the Troubadours were particularly favoured by the princes
and the nobles. But at the very period of the decline of this poetry,
the kingdom of Arragon was united to the Castilian dominions. Another
kind of poetry, in the Castilian language, then obtained encouragement,
and the seat of the government of the united kingdoms was permanently
fixed in Castile. The energetic development of literary talent among
the Castilians, the bold romantic character of that people, and that
ardent spirit of national pride which prompted them to make the most of
all their advantages, soon banished the ancient and in other respects
highly esteemed dialect of Arragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Murcia,
from literature, law, and the conversation of the superior classes
of society. Finally, towards the middle of the sixteenth century the
Castilian became, in the strictest sense of the word, the reigning
language of the whole Spanish monarchy.[7]

The Castilian tongue (_Lengua Castellana_), now called, by way of
distinction, the Spanish, doubtless had its origin before the Moorish
conquest, in the northern and midland parts of the Peninsula. How far
it had originally spread towards the south, it would not now be easy
to determine; but it came down from the Asturian mountains with the
warriors who boldly undertook to recover the country of their fathers.
It first resumed its sway in the kingdoms of Leon and old Castile,
where it is still spoken in the greatest purity.[8] It then followed
step by step, the fortune of the Castilian arms, until it finally
became the established language of the most southern provinces, where
its progress had been longest withstood by the Arabic. More recently
cultivated than the Catalonian, it cannot be doubted that it owes to
that dialect a part of its improvement; but the elevated expression of
its long full-toned words, soon stamped on it the character of quite a
different kind of romance. The abbreviation of the latin words which
gave the Catalonian language a striking resemblance to the French, was
not agreeable to the genius of the Castilian, which, in consequence
of its clear sonorous vowels and the beautiful articulation of its
syllables, had, of all the idioms of the Peninsula, the greatest
affinity to the Italian. Amidst the euphony of the Castilian syllables,
the ear is however struck with the sound of the German and Arabic
guttural, which is rejected by all the other nations that speak
languages in which the latin predominates.[9]

The romance, out of which the present Portuguese language has grown,
was probably spoken along the coast of the Atlantic long before
a kingdom of Portugal was founded. Though far more nearly allied
to the Castilian dialect than to the Catalonian, it resembles
the latter in the remarkable abbreviation of words, both in the
grammatical structure and in the pronunciation. At the same time it
is strikingly distinguished from the Castilian by the total rejection
of the guttural, by the great abundance of its hissing sounds, and
by a nasal pronunciation common to no people in Europe except the
French and the Portuguese. In the Spanish province of Galicia, only
politically separated from Portugal, this dialect known under the name
of _Lingoa Gallega_ is still as indigenous as in Portugal itself,
and was at an early period, so highly esteemed, that Alphonso X.
king of Castile, surnamed the Wise, (_El Sabio_,) composed verses in
it. But the Galician modification of this dialect of the western
shores of the Peninsula has sunk, like the Catalonian romance of the
opposite coast, into a mere provincial idiom, in consequence of the
language of the Castilian court being adopted by the higher classes
in Galicia.[10] Indeed the Portuguese language, which in its present
state of improvement must no longer be confounded with the popular
idiom of Galicia, would have experienced great difficulty in obtaining
a literary cultivation, had not Portugal, which, even in the twelfth
century, formed an independent kingdom, constantly vied in arts and
in arms with Castile, and during the sixty years of her union with
Spain, from 1580 to 1640, zealously maintained her particular national

After accurately distinguishing these three principal idioms of the
Romance, which formed the early spoken and written language of the
Peninsula,[12] it will be more readily perceived why the Catalonian
and Limosin poetry could not maintain itself in competition with the
Spanish and Portuguese, which were of more recent growth, and why the
poetry of Spain and that of Portugal have, from their first rise,
preserved nearly the same character and passed through the same periods
of splendour and decay. The Catalonian poetry was, from its origin,
inseparably united with the language of the Troubadours, throughout
its territories, from the Italian to the Castilian frontiers. While
the _Cours d’Amour_, the festal meetings, and various other gallant
exhibitions prevailed, in which the GAYA CIENCIA, or Joyous
Art, of these bards of love and chivalry flourished, and in which the
bards themselves bore a brilliant part as masters of the ceremonies,
the language and the poetry gave reciprocal importance to each other.
When, however, the romantic spirit had exhausted itself in these
modes, when another sort of gallantry came into vogue, and finally,
when a more cultivated style of poetry, entirely new to Spain, was
introduced from Italy, and propagated with the Castilian language, the
poets of Catalonia, Arragon, and Valencia began to write verses in the
new manner, and to disown their mother tongue in their compositions.
This literary phenomenon, which has its epoch only in the sixteenth
century, cannot be attributed to political dependence alone; for
hitherto the ancient national poetry of the Castilians had continued
foreign to the inhabitants of the Arragonian provinces, individual
imitators excepted, even after these provinces were united with the
Castiles. But when the Arragonese, in their zeal to vie with the
Castilians in the reform of their ancient poetry, began to write
verses in the Castilian language, their success was facilitated by the
relationship which had long subsisted between the old Provençal poetry,
the sister of the Limosin, and the Italian, which in the sixteenth
century became the model of the Spanish and Portuguese.[13]

The ancient Castilian poetry was as closely allied to the Portuguese
and the Galician, as it was distinctly separated from the Limosin.
The Troubadours had, it is true, chaunted their lays at the courts of
Castile and Portugal, but the national taste in both kingdoms preferred
different accents, other metrical combinations, and was accustomed to
quite another kind of poetry of its own creation. No Troubadours were
needed in these countries; for the common national poetry, which was
unknown to the Arragonian provinces, formed a connecting tie for the
Castilians, Portuguese, and Galicians, as it was the faithful mirror
of their genius and character. However much the Castilians might
dislike the Portuguese tongue, and the Portuguese, in their turn,
the Castilian, their poetry continued essentially the same; and the
languages of both countries deviated, at all times, far more from the
Limosin romance, than ever they differed from each other. Besides, the
old Galician idiom, which was scarcely distinguishable from the old
Portuguese,[14] was originally a favourite with the Castilians; and
when it ceased to be a literary language, the political conflicts of
the Spaniards and the Portuguese did not destroy the poetical harmony
of the two nations. The Castilians, indeed, constantly maintained
the opinion, that the Portuguese language was incapable of giving
appropriate expression to heroic sentiments; but the Portuguese
contradicted this assertion, not merely by words, but by deeds.[15]

The old Castilian, Portuguese, and Galician poetry was, under its own
peculiar forms, still more popular and strictly national than was the
Provençal, or than the Italian after it has ever been. It was not
destined to be recited in courtly circles, before lords and ladies.
It arose amidst the clang of arms, and was fostered by constantly
reiterated relations of warlike feats and love adventures, transmitted
from mouth to mouth; while almost every one who either witnessed
or participated in those feats and adventures, wished to give them
traditional circulation in the vehicle of easy verse. So common was
the practice among all ranks of composing verses, particularly in
Portugal, that the historian, Manuel de Faria y Sousa, thought himself,
at a later period, justified in calling every mountain in that country
a Parnassus, and every fountain a Hippocrene.[16] The poems called
Romances took their name from the national language; and it is probable
that the same name was at first given to all kinds of amatory and
heroic ballads, the taste for which, however rapidly those productions
increased and supplanted each other, appears to have been insatiable.
To mark with critical precision the limits of the different species
of poetic composition, was never contemplated by the authors of the
Romances, but they very carefully distinguished, in their national
verse, several kinds of measure and forms of rhyme, which differed
widely from the Provençal and Limosin; and having touched on this
subject, it will, perhaps, be most convenient here to introduce a brief
description of the nature of the verse common to the ancient Castilian,
Portuguese, and Galician poetry.

Of the metrical compositions common to the ancient Castilians and
Portuguese, the most peculiarly national were the REDONDILLAS.
All verses, consisting of four trochaic feet, appear to have been
originally comprehended under the name of _redondillas_,[17] which,
however, came at length to be, in preference, usually applied to
one particular species of this description of verse. To a people
so romantic and chivalrous, and at the same time so fond of their
national poetry, as the Spaniards and Portuguese, nothing could be
more agreeable than verses of this sort, which, in languages such as
theirs, could be composed on the spur of the occasion, and which to the
charm of simplicity add the beauty of a sonorous harmony.[18] It is
difficult to suppose that the redondillas have been formed in imitation
of bisected hexameters, as some Spanish authors have imagined.[19]
They may, with more probability, be considered a relic of the songs
of the Roman soldiers, which were doubtless often heard in these
countries, and which must have left recollections, the impressions of
which would be easily communicated by the romanized natives to their
conquerors, the Visigoths.[20] In such verses, every individual could,
without restraint, pour forth the feelings which love and gallantry
dictated, accompanied by his guitar; as little attention was paid to
correctness in the distinction of long and short syllables as in the
rhyme. When one of the poetic narratives, distinguished by the name
of Romances, was sung, line followed line without constraint, the
expression flowing with careless freedom, as feeling gave it birth.
When, however, romantic sentiments were to be clothed in a popular
lyric dress, to exhibit the playful turns of the ideas under still
more pleasing forms, it was found advantageous to introduce divisions
and periods, which gave rise to regular strophes (_estancias_ and
_coplas_). Lines were, for the sake of variety, shortened by halving
them; and thus the tender and impressive melody of the rhythm was
sometimes considerably heightened. Seduced by the example of the Arabs,
something excellent was supposed to be accomplished when a single
sonorous and unvarying rhyme was rendered prominent throughout all the
verses of a long romance.[21] Through other romances, however, pairs
of rhymeless verses were allowed to glide amidst a variety of rhymed
ones. At length, at a later period, it was observed, that in point of
elegance, the _redondilla_ was improved, rather than injured by the
change which was produced; when, instead of perfect rhymes, imperfect
ones, or sounds echoing vowels but not consonants, were heard in the
terminating syllables. Hence arose the distinction between _consonant_
and _assonant_ verses, which has been cultivated into a rhythmical
beauty unknown to other nations.[22] Thus varied, and yet ever simple,
the redondilla has been still more valuable to Spanish and Portuguese
versification, than the hexameter was to the poetry of Greece and Rome.
It has even become the prevailing measure of dramatic poetry.

The period of the invention of the redondillas was also nearly that
of the dactylic stanzas, called _versos de arte mayor_, because their
composition was considered an art of a superior order. They had their
origin, according to some authorities, in Galicia and Portugal.[23]
This metrical form is, however, found in several of the most ancient
Castilian poems. As the inventors of these stanzas were ignorant of the
true principles of prosody, the attention paid to purity in the rhythm
of the dactyles was even less than in the rhymes of the redondillas.
They contented themselves with dealing out eleven or twelve syllables,
and left the dactylic measure to accident. This may account for these
verses falling into disuse, as the progressive improvement of taste,
which allowed the redondillas to maintain their original consideration,
was not reconcilable with the half dancing, half hobbling rhymed lines
of the _versos de arte mayor_.[24]

Besides the above national modes of rhythm and rhyme, common to
Castilians, Galicians, and Portuguese, the form of the sonnet was also
known in the west of Spain and Portugal long before the imitation of
Italian poetry was thought of in those parts of the Peninsula. It had
doubtless been acquired through the intervention of Provençal and
Limosin poets. But the character of the sonnet was not sufficiently
popular for the old Spaniards and Portuguese, and they were never fond
of that kind of poetic composition. Not less adverse to the taste of
the country was the long protracted alexandrine. Monkish rhymesters,
who forced their imitations of latin doggrels on the nation, introduced
this kind of verse into the Spanish language, in the thirteenth or
perhaps even in the twelfth century, but certainly at a period anterior
to its appearance in any other modern tongue. It soon, however, sunk
into disesteem, and was neglected.

Thus, during the progress of their civilization, the Spaniards and
the Portuguese co-operated in cultivating the same spirit and form of
poetry. What is, notwithstanding, dissimilar in the polite literature
of the two countries, and what is peculiar to each, will, with other
subjects, become matter for consideration in the following sheets.







The origin of Castilian poetry is lost in the obscurity of the middle
ages. The poetic spirit which then awoke in the north of Spain,
doubtless first manifested itself in romances and popular songs.
_Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar_, called _El Campeador_, (the Champion), and
still better known by the Arabic title of the _Cid_, (the Lord or
Leader), assisted in founding the kingdom of Castile for his prince,
Ferdinand I. about the year 1036, and the name and the exploits of
that favorite hero of the nation were probably celebrated during his
own age in imperfect redondillas. That some of the many romances which
record anecdotes of the life of the Cid may be the offspring of that
period, is a conjecture which, to say the least of it, has never been
disproved; and indeed the whole character impressed upon Spanish poetry
from its rise, denotes that the era which gave birth to the first songs
of chivalry must be very remote. In the form, however, in which these
romances now exist, it does not appear that even the oldest can be
referred to the twelfth, far less to the eleventh century.[25]


Some examples of Old Castilian verse, which are held to be more
ancient than any known romance or ballad in that language, have been
preserved.[26] Of these the rhymed chronicle, Of the Exile and Return
of the Cid, (_Poema del Cid, el Campeador_), is considered the oldest.
This chronicle can scarcely be called a poem; and that it could not
have been the result of a poetic essay made in the spirit of the
national taste, is evident, from the nature of the verse, which is a
kind of rude alexandrine. It is the more difficult to speak with any
certainty respecting its age, as there also exists a very old prose
account of the Cid, which corresponds in all the principal facts
with this rhymed chronicle. Though it may be true that the author
lived about the middle of the twelfth century, as his editor Sanchez
supposes, still it is not with this work that the history of Spanish
poetry ought to commence. As a philological curiosity, the rhymed
chronicle is highly valuable; but any thing like poetry which it
contains must be considered as a consequence of the poetic character
of the nation to which the versifier belonged, and of the internal
interest of the subject. The events are narrated in the order in which
they succeed each other, and the whole work scarcely exhibits a single
mark of invention. The small portion of poetical colouring with which
the dryness of the relation is occasionally relieved, is the result
of the chivalrous cordiality of the writer’s tone, and of a few happy
traits in the description of some of the situations.[27]


Still less of the character of poetry belongs to the fabulous chronicle
of Alexander the Great (_Poema de Alexandro Magno_), respecting the
origin and age of which the Spanish critics are far from being agreed.
Whether it be, as some pretend, a Spanish original of the twelfth or
thirteenth century, or as others assert, the translation of a French
work of the same age, in verse, or, what is still more probable, a
versified translation of a latin legend, with the manufacture of which
some monk had occupied his solitary hours, are questions which a
writer of the history of Spanish poetry cannot, with propriety, stop
to discuss, even though alexandrine verse should, as some suppose,
have taken its name from this chronicle. Next to stringing together
his rhymes,[28] the chief object of the author probably was to dress
the biography of Alexander the Great in the costume of chivalry.
Accordingly he relates how the _Infante_ Alexander, whose birth was
distinguished by numerous prodigies, seemed, while yet a youth a
Hercules; how he was taught to read in his seventh year; how he then
every day learned a lesson in the seven liberal arts, and maintained
a daily disputation thereon; and many other wonders of this sort.[29]
Alexander’s officers are counts and barons. The real history only
feebly glimmers through a grotesque compound of puerile fictions and
distorted facts. But perhaps this mode of treating the materials is not
to be laid to the account of the versifier.


There are some prayers, monastic rules, and legends in Castilian
alexandrines, which are regarded as of very ancient date, but they
were probably composed by Gonzalo Berceo, a benedictine, about the
middle of the thirteenth century. Spanish authors have made the dates
of the birth and death of this monk objects of very minute research,
and have exerted great industry in recovering his rude verses.[30] In
this field, however, the poetical historian can find nothing worth the


The names of several early writers of rude Castilian verse are recorded
by different authors. A notice, however, of the literary merits of
Alphonso X. called the _Wise_, by which is meant the learned, forms
the most suitable commencement for a history of Spanish poetry. This
sovereign, who was a very extraordinary man, for the age in which he
lived, was ambitious, among his other distinctions, of being a poet.
Scarcely any romance or song of true poetic feeling can be attributed
to him; but he loved to embody his science and learning in verse.
He disclosed his Alchymical Secrets in the dactylic stanzas, called
_versos de arte mayor_. Alchymy was his favourite study; and if his
assertions in verse may be relied on, he several times made gold, and
in times of difficulty turned his power of producing that precious
metal to his own advantage. His verses are, in some degree, harmonious,
and ingeniously constructed; but no trait of poetic description
enlivens the dry and uninteresting precepts he details.[31] It is not,
therefore, on account of his rhymes that Alphonso the Wise deserves
to be placed at the head of the Castilian poets. His claim to occupy
that station can only be founded on the attention he devoted to the
cultivation of the Castilian language, an attention which is easily
recognized even in his unpoetic verses, and which could not fail to
prove a most powerful incitement to emulation, since he who set the
example was the king of the country, and possessed a reputation for
learning which was flattering to the national pride. The greater
purity and precision which was thus introduced into the dialect of
Castile and Leon, enabled the poetic genius of the nation to unfold
itself with increasing vigour and freedom. But the benefits which
Alphonso conferred on the Spanish language and literature, did not
stop here. The bible was, by his command, rendered into Castilian;
and a Paraphrase of Scripture History accompanied the translation. A
General Chronicle of Spain, and a History of the Conquest of the Holy
Land, founded on the work of William of Tyre, were also written by his
order. Finally, he introduced the use of the national language into
legal and judicial proceedings. No direct interest was, however, taken
by Alphonso in the improvement of the popular Castilian poetry. He
probably thought it too destitute of art and learning to deserve much
consideration. It appears to have been on this account, and not from
vanity, that he favoured the Troubadours, assembled at his court, in
whose more elegant verse his praises were unceasingly proclaimed.[32]
His influence had an extensive operation; but his death, which happened
in the year 1284, was no loss to the national bards of Castile, who
still sung their Romances in obscurity.

The history of Spanish poetry continues barren of names until towards
the end of the fourteenth century; and yet, according to all literary
probability, the greater part of the ancient Castilian romances, which
have, in the progress of time, been collected, and have undergone
more or less improvement, were composed at a much earlier period.
One Nicolas, and an abbot named Antonio, are mentioned as celebrated
writers of romances in the thirteenth century, anterior to the reign
of Alphonso X.[33] But until the period of the invention of printing,
no regard was paid by the learned, or by those who wished to be
considered learned, to popular ballads; and when the attention of
men of letters began at last to be directed to the old romances, the
authors were either forgotten, or no trouble was taken to preserve or
recover their names. With a view, therefore, to the convenience of
historical arrangement, a particular account of the ancient romance
poetry of Castile may, with propriety, be postponed until the period
when the first instance of literary publicity, which was given to it,
must be recorded. In the mean while, some little known, though not
unimportant memorials of the state of poetical and rhetorical culture
in the fourteenth century, may here be brought to recollection.


That the example of Alphonso X. operated powerfully among the grandees
of Castile, cannot be doubted; and to its influence must, in a great
measure, be attributed the encouragement given to the cultivation of
knowledge by Alphonso XI. This prince, amidst all the troubles of his
busy reign, maintained the character of a protector of learning, and
endeavoured to distinguish himself as a writer in his native tongue.
In the accounts of his labours given by Spanish authors, he is stated
to have composed a General Chronicle in Redondillas,[34] which is
either lost, or still remains buried in some of the old archives of
Spain. However slight may be the merits of this work, in a poetical
point of view, it is rendered interesting by the circumstance, that
the king chose for the rhythmic structure of his narrative, the easy
flowing verse of the romances, instead of stiff monkish alexandrines,
and the ungraceful dactylic stanzas. This brought the redondillas more
into favour. Alphonso XI. also caused books to be written in Castilian
prose, among which were a kind of Peerage, or Register of the noble
families of Castile, with an account of their hereditary estates
and possessions, and a Hunting Book, (_Libro de Monteria_,) in the
composition of which several persons assisted. Though rhetorical art
might derive no advantage from these books, they contributed to give
consideration to the national dialect, and to incite persons of rank to
engage in literary labour.


But the most valuable monument of the cultivation of Spanish eloquence
in the fourteenth century is _El Conde Lucanor_, a book of moral and
political maxims, written by Don Juan Manuel, a Castilian prince.
This Don Juan was one of the most distinguished men of his age.[35]
He was descended, in a collateral line with the reigning family of
Castile, from king Ferdinand III. usually called the SAINT.
He served his sovereign Alphonso XI. with chivalrous fidelity, and
by the judicious policy of his conduct, retained the favour of that
prince, who certainly had reason to regard him with jealousy. After
distinguishing himself by a number of honourable and gallant deeds,
Alphonso appointed him governor (_adelantado mayor_) of the country
bordering on the Moorish kingdom of Grenada. In this station he became
the terror of the hereditary enemy of Castile. He made an irruption
into Grenada, and defeated the Moorish king in a great battle. After
this brilliant victory, he always acted one of the first parts in
the internal troubles of Castile, and during twenty years conducted
the war against the Moors. He died in 1362, leaving behind him some
of the ripest fruits of his experience in his _Count Lucanor_. A
Spanish book, so full of sound practical good sense, of a character so
truly unostentatious, and clothed in a simple, homely, but far from
inanimate garb, could scarcely be expected to belong to the fourteenth
century. In estimating the merit of this work, it ought also to be
recollected, that at the period in which it appeared, the taste for the
wild tales of chivalry called romances had begun to prevail. Amadis de
Gaul, the prototype of all subsequent knight-errantry romances, had
then obtained general circulation. There is, however, in the _Count
Lucanor_, no trace of romantic extravagance, none of the dreaming
flights of an irregular imagination; for in every passage of the book
the author shews himself a man of the world and an observer of human
nature. In the course of his long experience he had formed maxims for
the conduct of life which he was desirous of pursuing. He gave to many
of these axioms a laconic expression in verse; and, to impress them
the more forcibly, invented his _Count Lucanor_, a prince conscious
of too limited an understanding to trust to his own judgment in cases
of difficulty. He gives the Count a minister (_consejero_), whose
wisdom fortunately supplies the deficiency of his master’s intellect.
When the Count asks advice of his minister, the latter relates a
story, or sometimes a fable. The application comes at the close, and
the narrative is the commentary of the verse or couplet with which
it terminates. In this manner forty-nine moral and political tales
are told. They are not of equal merit; but though some are inferior
to others, the difference is not great, and they have all the same
rhetorical form. Sometimes it is the idea that gives the chief
interest, sometimes the execution. Among the versified maxims are the

“If you have done something good in little, do it also in great, as the
good will never die.”[36]

“He who advises you to be reserved to your friends, wishes to betray
you without witnesses.”[37]

“Hazard not your wealth on a poor man’s advice.”[38]

“He who has got a good seat should not leave it.”[39]

“He who praises you for what you have not, wishes to take from you what
you have.”[40]

This last axiom is deduced from the well-known fable of the fox and the
raven. It is curious to observe the resemblance between the unconscious
artless simplicity with which Don Juan Manuel relates his fable, and
the finely-studied simplicity with which the elegant La Fontaine tells
the same story. Who would expect to find in an old Spanish book of the
fourteenth century, the same knowledge of the world and mankind, as
distinguished the refined age of Louis XIV.[41]

This work appears to have been preserved without alteration, as it was
originally written. It is only occasionally that the difference of the
language in single words,[42] betrays the officious industry of some
transcriber. In a short preface, the author gives a candid explanation
of the object of this collection of tales.

Don Juan Manuel was also the author of a Chronicle (_Chronica de
España_); the Book of the Sages, (_Libro de los Sabios_); a Book of
Chivalry, (_Libro del Caballero_); and several other works in prose
of a similar nature.[43] It appears that these works are now lost,
though they were preserved in manuscript in the sixteenth century.
A collection of Don Juan Manuel’s poems also existed at that time,
according to the express testimony of Argote y Molina, who published
_El Conde Lucanor_ in the sixteenth century, and intended to publish
those poems likewise. He calls them coplas; and they certainly were
not alexandrines. After this testimony, it can scarcely be doubted
that some of the romances and songs, which are attributed, in the
_Cancionero general_, to a Don Juan Manuel, have this prince for their
author.[44] But if such be the fact, then how many of the similar
romances which are still preserved, may, considering the greater
antiquity of their form, be yet more ancient!


Don Juan Manuel had for his contemporary the author of an allegorical
satire, written in Castilian alexandrines, or in a kind of verse which
may be called doggrel. The result of the researches of the Spanish
critics ascribes this very singular work to Juan Ruiz, arch-priest
of Hita, in Castile.[45] This writer evidently possessed a lively
imagination; he has personified with great drollery Lent, the Carnival,
and Breakfast, under the titles of _Doña Quaresma_, _Don Carnal_, and
_Don Almuerzo_; and these and other personages are placed in a very
edifying connection with _Don Amor_. The object of the satire is thus
apparent, but the execution is as unskilful as the language is rude.
Only a part of the work has been preserved.[46]

He, however, who has to record the developement of true poetic genius,
must hasten from this and other examples of monastic humour and rugged
versification, in order to speak with something like historical
precision of the romances and other lyric compositions which form the
real commencement of Spanish poetry.


The latter half of the fourteenth century is the period when the
history of the Spanish romances and songs, the unknown authors of
which yet live in their verse, though still very defective, begins
to acquire some degree of certainty.[47] In the absence, however,
of that particular information which would be desirable, it becomes
necessary to take a view of the manner of thinking of the Spaniards
of that age, in order to connect the general idea which ought to be
formed of their literary culture, with those scattered notices which
must supply the place of a more systematic account. It will here be
recollected that the cultivation of Spanish literature received at
its commencement a national poetic impulse. In constant conflict with
the Moors, and acquainted with oriental manners and compositions, the
Spaniards felt the proper distinction between poetry and prose, less
readily than that distinction was perceived by any other people on the
first attempt to give a determinate form to their literature. Popular
songs of every kind were probably indigenous in the Peninsula. The
patriotic Spaniards, like many other ancient nations, were fond of
preserving the memory of remarkable events in ballads. They also began,
at a very early period, to consider it of importance to record public
transactions in prose. The example of their learned king Alphonso X.
who caused a collection of old national chronicles to be made, gave
birth to many similar compilations of the history of the country.
But historical criticism, and the historical art, were then equally
unknown. As the giving to an accredited fact a poetical dress in a
song fit to be sung to a guitar, was not thought inconsistent with the
spirit of genuine national history, still less could the relating of a
fabricated story as a real event in history seem hostile to the spirit
of poetry. Thus the _historical romance_ in verse, and the _chivalric
romance_ in prose, derived their origin from the confounding of the
limits of epic and historical composition. The history of Spanish
poetical romance is therefore intimately interwoven with the history of
the prose chivalric romance.

Whoever may have been the author of _Amadis de Gaul_, his genius lives
in his invention; this work soon obscured, even in France, all the
other histories of knights-errant written in latin or french, by many
of which it had been preceded. From the very careful investigations
of several Spanish and Portuguese writers, it appears that the name
of the real author of the first or genuine Amadis was Vasco Lobeira,
or, according to the Spanish orthography and pronunciation, Lobera,
a native of Portugal, who flourished about the end of the thirteenth
century, and lived to 1325. It is probable, however, that before the
period at which the work obtained its highest celebrity both in Spain
and France, it had passed through the hands of several emendators, and
it is therefore impossible to know how much of the book, as it now
exists, belongs to the original author, and how far it is indebted to
the labours of Spanish or French editors.[48] From these circumstances
too, it appears that the work could scarcely be generally known in
Spain before the middle of the fourteenth century; and its influence on
the national literature must, on that account, have been the greater;
for it would be operating with all the force of novelty, precisely at
the time when the poetic genius of the nation began to display itself
in youthful vigour. What other book could have produced an effect so
fascinating on the minds of the Spanish nobles, as Amadis de Gaul? The
monstrous perversions of history and geography in that work, did not
disturb the illusion of readers who knew little or nothing of either
history or geography. The prolixity of the narrative gave as little
offence as the stiff formality of the style. Indeed the virtues of
gothic chivalry appear more pure as they shine through the formal
stateliness of the narration. The author has borrowed nothing from
the Arabian tale-tellers, except the attraction of fairy machinery.
This was, however, a powerful charm, and gave an epic-colouring to
the Amadis, which, joined to the pathetic descriptions of romantic
heroism, produced an influence over the imagination and feelings of
the age which no former work had possessed. The moral character of
the plan and execution is strangely blended with a peculiar kind of
delicately veiled licence, which appears to have very well accorded
with the spirit of Spanish chivalry. While the gentle knights, amidst
innumerable adventures of love and heroism, observe as the chief law
of chivalry, the most inviolable fidelity in all situations towards
females as well as males, they and the ladies with whom they have
pledged their faith, by a secret betrothing, live together without
scruple before marriage, as husband and wife. But a picture, so true
and glowing, of the noblest heroic feelings and the most unshaken
fidelity,--circumscribing with no anxious care the boundaries of
love’s dominion, yet admitting no offensively indecorous or immoral
trait,--displaying the enthusiastic flights of an imagination often
exalted beyond nature, but redeemed by an ingenuous simplicity of
description with which even a refined taste must be delighted,--well
deserved at the time of its appearance that favour which it continued
for ages to enjoy. It is obvious that more of Spanish than of French
features enter into the character of the chivalry exhibited in this
work. The romantic self-torment of Amadis on the _Peña pobre_ (barren
rock) is one of the striking Spanish traits. Even the name Beltenebros,
given on this occasion by a pious hermit to the disconsolate knight,
contributes to prove that the work is not of French origin; for the
French paraphrastic translation, _Le beau tenebreux_, is not only in
itself very insipid, but poor Amadis appears quite ridiculous when made
to pronounce it from his own mouth as his name.[49]

When the Amadis, after being widely circulated, became the object
of numerous imitations, the particular account of which may be left
to the explorers of literary curiosities, it was no longer possible
for the prose romance of knight-errantry and the ballad romance
to disown their relationship. At this period the romance poetry
obtained a consideration which it had not previously enjoyed. Songs
which were formerly disregarded were now carefully noted down. Those
poetic romances, the materials for which are taken from histories of
knights-errant, are among the oldest of the Spanish ballads which have
been preserved in the ancient language and form. Some are imitations
from the Spanish Amadis, others are translations from the French; and
it may here be observed, that the Spaniards and the French possessed
at this period a body of romantic literature, which was throughout
its whole extent nearly the same to both countries.--With the old
poetic romances, derived from books of chivalry, are closely connected
the most ancient of the historical ballads founded on the history of
the country. The latter, it may be presumed, soon transferred their
national tone and character into the former. But it was not until after
they had given to each other a reciprocal support, that the historical
romance found a place in Spanish literature. They also mutually
declined from the height of their common celebrity, and at last sunk
again into the obscurity attached to pieces of mere popular recreation.
In this way, however, they have retained an oral currency among the
common people down to the present age. The Spanish critics notice
them too briefly, as if they were afraid to depreciate the dignity of
their literature by dwelling on the antiquated and homely effusions
of the poetic genius of their unlettered ancestors. But a people free
from this prejudice who can admire simple and natural, as well as
learned and artificial poetry, and who set little or no value on the
latter, when it entirely separates itself from the former, will be
disposed to see justice more impartially distributed to the old Spanish


The romances composed on subjects derived from the fictions of
chivalry, which have been preserved in the collections, are
distinguished by the old forms of the language, and the primitive mode
of repeating a single rhyme, which often becomes a mere assonance, from
the romances of a later date, though even these have long since been
called old. Amadis de Gaul appears to have contributed very little
to this kind of ballad.[51] The great number and the longest of the
romances are taken from the fabulous adventures of Charlemagne and his
Paladins. In them we again meet with the twelve peers of France, who
figure in the poems of Boyardo and Ariosto, with the addition of Don
Gayferos, the Moor Calaynos, and other poetic characters, to whom the
Spanish public were the more readily disposed to grant an historical
existence, in consequence of the chivalric history of Charlemagne’s
Paladins (who are represented to have fought like the Spaniards against
the Moors,) being held in great respect as a supplemental part of
Spanish National History. In progress of time, however, the romance
of the Moor Calaynos became the subject of a proverb, employed to
denote verses in an old exploded and vulgar style.[52] The ballad
of the _Conde Alarcos_, who with his own hands strangled his lady
in satisfaction to the honour, and in obedience to the commands of
his king, appears to have had its origin in some romantic work of
chivalry. This and two other romances which relate how the youthful Don
Gayferos avenged the death of his father, are among the best to which
knight-errantry has given birth; though in the remaining specimens
of this kind of ballad, the poetic genius of the age occasionally
displays itself in all its energetic simplicity. The authors of these
romances paid little regard to ingenuity of invention, and still less
to correctness of execution. When an impressive story of poetical
character was found, the subject and the interest belonging to it were
seized with so much truth and feeling, that the parts of the little
piece, the brief labour of untutored art, linked themselves together,
as it were, spontaneously; and the imagination of the bard had no
higher office than to give to the situations a suitable colouring
and effect. This he performed without study or effort, and painted
them more or less successfully according to the inspiration, good
or bad, of the moment. These antique, racy effusions of a pregnant
poetic imagination, scarcely conscious of its own productive power,
are nature’s genuine offspring. To recount their easily recognized
defects and faults is as superfluous, as it would be impossible by any
critical study to imitate a single trait of that noble simplicity which
constitutes their highest charm.[53]

The simplicity of the old historical romances is still more remarkable.
They form altogether a mere collection of anecdotes of Spanish
history, from the invasion of the Moors, to the period when the
authors of the romances flourished. Neither the materials nor the
interest of the situations owe any thing to the invention of these
simple bards. They never ventured to embellish with fictitious
circumstances, stories which were already in themselves interesting,
lest they should deprive their ballads of historical credit. In the
historical romances the story displays none of those entanglements
and developements which distinguish some of the longer romances of
chivalry. They are simple pictures of single situations only. The
poetic representation of the details which give effect to the situation
is almost the only merit which can be attributed to the narrators,
and they employed no critical study to obtain it. In this way were
thousands of these romances destined to be composed, and partly
preserved, partly forgotten, without one of their authors acquiring
the reputation of a great poet. It was regarded rather as an instance
of good fortune than a proof of talent, when the author of a romance
was particularly successful in painting an interesting situation.
In general their efforts did not carry them beyond mediocrity, but
mediocrity was not discouraged, for it depended entirely on accident,
or perhaps some secondary causes, whether a romance became popular or
sunk into oblivion. It would require a separate treatise to discuss
in a satisfactory manner, the degree of merit which belongs to these
national ballads, the immense number of which defies calculation.
Many little, and upon the whole very unimportant specimens are still
worthy of preservation, on account of some one single trait which
each exhibits. Others, on the contrary, excite attention by the happy
combination of a number of traits in themselves minute and of little
value; again, a third class is distinguished by a sonorous rhythm
not to be found in the rest. Unfortunately, no literary critic has
yet taken the trouble to arrange these pieces in anything like a
chronological order. Until this be done, it cannot be discovered how
the historical romance gradually advanced from its original rudeness
to the degree of relative beauty which it at last attained, though it
could not rise to classic perfection, as that kind of composition never
acquired the rank or consideration of classic poetry in Spain.

Among the most ancient historical romances are several, the subjects
of which have been taken from the earliest periods of Spanish
history, anterior to the age of the Cid. Like the romances derived
from the prose works of chivalry, they have only a single rhyme which
interchanges with blank verse, and which is frequently lost in a simple
assonance.[54] The romances of the Cid, of which more than a hundred
still exist, are either of a more recent date, or have, at least,
been in a great measure modernized.[55] In some a series of regularly
arranged assonances may be perceived.[56] Others are divided into
stanzas, with a burden repeated at the close of each.[57] In the
greater part, however, the rhyme almost wholly disappears, and only
an accidental assonance occasionally occurs. This form also prevails
in most of the romances founded on the history of the Moors. Their
number is very great, perhaps greater than that of those derived from
events of Spanish history; and this abundance might well excite as much
astonishment in the critic as it has given offence to some orthodox
Spaniards.[58] But even the Spaniards of old Castilian origin found
a certain poetic charm in the oriental manners of the Moors. On the
other hand, the European chivalry, in so far as it was adopted by
the Moors, became more imposing from its union with oriental luxury,
which favoured the display of splendid armour, waving plumes, and
emblematical ornaments of every kind. The Moorish principalities or
kingdoms were even more agitated by internal troubles, and acts of
violence, than the christian states; and in the former, particularly,
when different races powerfully opposed each other, the lives of
celebrated warriors were more fertile in interesting anecdotes than in
the latter. The Christian warriors, it also appears, had sufficient
generosity to allow justice to be done, at least to the distinguished
leaders of their enemies, who are described in an old romance, as
_gentlemen, though infidels_.[59] Besides, all these romances, whether
of Moorish or Spanish history, whether more ancient or more modern,
present nearly the same unsophisticated character and the same artless
style of composition. The subject is generally founded on a single
fact. Thus, for example, _Roderick_, or _Don Rodrigo_, the last king
of the Goths in Spain, before the Moorish invasion, takes flight after
his total overthrow, and bewails his own and his country’s fate; and
this is sufficient for a romance.[60] The Cid returns victorious
from his exile, alights from his horse before a church, and delivers
a short energetic speech; this again forms the whole subject of a
romance.[61] In others, with equal simplicity of story:-- the king
joins the hands of the Cid and Ximena, invests him with fiefs of
castles and territories, the names of which are all recorded, and
thus makes preparation for the marriage of the lovers.--The Cid lays
aside his armour and puts on his wedding garments, which are minutely
described from the hat to the boots.--At a tournament the Moorish
knight Ganzul enters the lists on a fiery steed; the beautiful Zayda,
who has been unfaithful to him, once more yields up her heart to her
lover, and confesses to the Moorish ladies who surround her the emotion
she experiences.[62]--The Moorish hero Abenzulema, who has filled
the prisons with Christian knights,[63] being exiled by his jealous
prince, takes leave of his beloved Balaja.[64] Such is the nature of
a countless number of these ballads. In general, the ornaments of the
armour, and the device of the knight, which must harmonize with these
ornaments, are minutely described. Were an artist of genius to study
these interesting situations, he would open to himself a new field for
historical painting.

There is a kind of mythological romance in which the heroes of Greece
appear in Spanish costume, which may be regarded as an imitation of
the species already described. The history of the siege of Troy,
having been clothed in the garb of a chivalric romance, it followed,
as a matter of course, that the Grecian heroes should be exhibited as
knights-errant in the poetic romances. It is obvious, on examination,
that most of these mythological romances are very old.[65] Even
christianity is made to contribute to this kind of composition, and
anecdotes from the bible are related in the favourite romance form;
as, for example, the lamentation of king David on the death of his son


In ancient Spanish poetry the strictly lyric romances do not form
a different class from the narrative romances. On the contrary,
these kinds are inseparably confounded. In like manner, no essential
distinction between what was called a _cancion_ (song), and a lyric
romance, was established either in theory or in practice. A custom
prevailed of classing, without distinction, under the general name of
romance, any lyric expression of the feelings which ran on, in the
popular manner, in a string of redondillas, without distinct strophes,
and which, in that respect resembled the greater part of the narrative
romances. When, however, the composition was divided into little
strophes, or coplas, it was usually called a _cancion_, a term employed
in nearly the same indeterminate sense as the word _song_ in English,
or _lied_ in German, but which does not correspond with the Italian
_canzone_. The same name, however, came afterwards to be applied to
lyric pieces of greater research and more elevated character, if they
were divided into strophes. Compositions in coplas must have been
common in Spain about the middle of the fourteenth century; for the
traces of their origin lead back to the ancient Spanish custom of
accompanying such songs, in the true style of national poetry, with
dances. The saraband is one of those old national dances, during the
performance of which coplas were sung. Hence the Spanish proverb
denoting antiquated and trivial poetry, when it is said of verses that
“they are not worth as much as the coplas of the saraband,” in the
same way as the romance of Calainos is quoted proverbially.[67] But
many lyric compositions which are preserved in the collections of the
most ancient of the pieces known by the general name of romances, are
probably of an older date than those in coplas which appear in the
_Cancioneros_. They have, like the older romances, only a single rhyme,
alternating with assonances and blank verses; but, independently of
this proof, their old language, which corresponds so naturally with
the ingenuous simplicity of their manner, is sufficient to mark their

The Castilian lyric poetry seems to have begun to confer reputation on
those who cultivated it, in the latter half of the fourteenth century.
The Marquis of Santillana, who lived in the first half of the fifteenth
century, relates that his grandfather composed very good songs, and
among others some, the first lines of which he quotes.[69] According
to the statement of the Marquis, a Spanish jew, named Rabbi Santo,
celebrated as the author of maxims in verse, flourished about the same
time. He also informs us, that during the reign of John I. from 1379 to
1390, Alfonso Gonzales de Castro, and some other poets, were esteemed
for their lyric compositions. But all these names, so honoured in their
own age, were forgotten in the commencement of the fifteenth century,
when under the reign of John II. there arose a new race of poets, who
outshone all their predecessors.


The Spanish authors make the reign of John II. the commencement of an
epoch in their poetry. But though some poetic essays of greater compass
than had previously been undertaken, were then produced, still this
period ought really to be regarded only as that in which the ancient
poetry received its last improvement, and by no means as constituting
a new era. The old national muse of Castile continued the favourite of
many of the grandees of the kingdom who were ambitious, in imitation of
Alphonso X. of uniting the reputation of learning to the fame of their
poetry, but who had more true poetic feeling than that monarch. These
noble authors thought they could acquire little honour by devoting
their attention to the composition of romances, properly so called,
but preferred distinguishing themselves by giving to lyric poetry a
higher degree of art in its forms, and more ingenuity of invention.
As a consequence of this taste, they displayed a particular fondness
for allegory, and ingenious difficulties and subtilties of every kind
were the great objects of their labours. Their best works are some
compositions in which they seem unconsciously to have allowed nature
to speak, and these specimens possess about the same value as the
anonymous romances. They brought the dactylic stanzas (_versos de arte
mayor_,) again into vogue, because such artificial strophes had a more
learned air than the easy flowing redondillas. Mythological illusions
and moral sentences were, with these authors, the usual substitutes
for true poetic dignity. But barbarous as was their taste, nature,
which they wished to renounce, sometimes worked so powerfully within
them, that she triumphed over the pedantic refinement to which they had
surrendered their understandings;--and the graceful facility of the
popular manner occasionally appeared in their writings. In this way the
ancient national poetry became amalgamated with works distinguished for
laborious efforts of art, and ultimately attained a higher degree of
consideration. There resulted, however, no revolution in the literature
of Spain; and it cannot be said, that the authors of the age of John
II. formed an epoch, unless it be for having introduced, with more
success than Alphonso X. learning and philosophy into the sphere of
poetry; and for having, besides, by their united endeavours, given
to the ancient lyric forms of their maternal language, that sort of
improvement which, consistently with the spirit of the age, they were
capable of receiving, and which finally brought them to their highest
state of perfection.

But this period of brilliant improvement in the ancient national poetry
of Spain is, in another respect, more memorable than the writers on
Spanish literature appear to have regarded it. During the whole period
the Castilian monarchy was convulsed by internal troubles. Even in
the last ten years of the fourteenth century, the powerful barons of
the kingdom had almost wrested the sceptre from the hands of John I.
and Henry III. Under John II. the celebrated patron of poetry, who
reigned from 1407 to 1454, the monarchy was more than once menaced
with destruction. The grandees sported with the royal prerogatives,
and John II. had not sufficient firmness of character to render his
authority respected. In the difficult situations in which he was
involved, he derived, in a certain measure, his security from his love
of literature, which yielded a valuable return for the favours he had
bestowed. It won and preserved for him the attachment of many of the
most considerable noblemen of the country, who formed around him a
poetical court, which was not without influence on public affairs. It
would not be easy to find in the history of states and of literature,
another instance of a similar court, with the members composing it,
at once poets, warriors, and statesmen, surrounding and supporting a
learned sovereign, in spite of his imbecility, during a period of civil
commotion. This phenomenon proves the supremacy of the poetic spirit at
this time in Spain, since it was not to be subdued even by the spirit
of political faction, which is always hostile to poetry, and which was,
at this time, particularly powerful.


Previously to this period, before the poets had rendered the court of
John II. the most brilliant society of the age, an eminent nobleman,
the Marquis Enrique de Villena, was distinguished for his literary
efforts. He sought to adorn his erudition with the lyric graces of
the Limosin Troubadours, who had then attained their highest and
final celebrity at the court of Arragon; and, thus united, to adapt
both the learning and the poetry to the Castilian taste. He seemed
called by birth to the performance of this task; for he was descended
by the paternal side from the kings of Arragon, and by the maternal
from those of Castile. His reputation for metaphysical and natural
knowledge was so great, that he came, at last, in that ignorant age, to
be regarded as a magician, and on that account he and his books were
never mentioned but with horror. His talent for poetic invention was,
however, an object of particular admiration with many of the poets of
the age of John II. and among others of the Marquis de Santillana and
Juan de Mena.

The Marquis of Villena was the author of an allegorical drama, which
was performed at the court of Arragon in celebration of a marriage,
and which may, therefore, be supposed to have been written in the
Limosin rather than in the Castilian language. Among the characters
stated to have been introduced into this drama, are _Justice_, _Truth_,
_Peace_, and _Clemency_.[70] Rhetorical and poetical competitions
were instituted at Toulouse, in the year 1324, under the name of the
_Floral Games_, to foster, by prizes and gallant ceremonies, the
Troubadour spirit. This institution, which was soon after imitated in
Arragon, was transplanted by the Marquis of Villena to Castile, but the
result of that enterprize was not successful.[71] The Marquis died
at Madrid in 1434. A work supposed to have been printed at Burgos in
1499, under the title of _Los trabajos de Hercules_, (The Labours of
Hercules), used formerly to be quoted as one of his poems; but from
more recent investigations, it appears that this pretended poem was
a mythological tale in prose.[72] A translation of the Æneid by the
Marquis, is besides mentioned, but this work appears also to be lost.
A kind of art of poetry, which he wrote under the title of _La Gaya
Ciencia_, has been more fortunate; for it has been partially preserved,
and is still regarded with respect as the oldest work of the kind in
the Spanish language.[73] This treatise, however, does not deserve to
be called an Art of Poetry, except in a very limited sense. It must
have been intended as a necessary instruction, in the first place,
for the Marquis of Santillana, to whom it is directly addressed, and
doubtless, in the next, for the other members of the Institute of the
Gay Science, (_El Consistorio de la gaya Ciencia_), which the Marquis
of Villena had formed in Castile. In conformity with this object, the
author relates the history of the Institute, endeavours to prove its
utility, takes that opportunity of expressing his opinion on the object
of poetry in general, and concludes with laying down the principles of
Castilian prosody. These principles appear to have been particularly
useful with reference to the conflict which then subsisted between
the Castilian and Limosin tongues. Among his general observations on
poetry, he says--“Great are the benefits which this science confers
on civil society, by banishing indolence, and employing noble minds
in laudable speculations: other nations have, accordingly, wished for
and established among themselves, schools of this science, by which
it has been diffused over different parts of the world.”[74] It is
obvious that this active nobleman was full of zeal for the improvement
of the poetry of his country, and for the honour of that art which was
cultivated with method and dignity in the Arragonian provinces, but
which in Castile, where it was left to itself, appeared to stand in
need of direction and encouragement. The difference between science
and art was not more clearly perceived by the Marquis of Villena than
by the other poets and men of learning of his age; and to distinguish
the Castilian forms of romantic poetry from the Limosin, did not appear
to him necessary. Thus, while his labours contributed to heighten the
respect in which poetry and liberal pursuits were held, they had only
an indirect influence on the improvement of Castilian poetry.


After the death of the Marquis of Villena, his pupil, Don Iñigo Lopez
de Mendoza, Marquis of Santa Juliana, or Santillana, appears at the
head of the brilliant society of poets who adorned the court of John
II. Whenever a Marquis of Santillana is mentioned in the history of
Spanish literature, without any more particular description, it is this
nobleman that is meant. He was born in the year 1398. His elevated
rank and great fortune, joined to the military and political talents
by which he was distinguished from youth upwards, placed him in a
situation in which he was called upon to perform a principal part among
the nobles of Castile. His intellectual culture had for its basis the
philosophy of Socrates; and his strict morality procured him no less
celebrity than his sound understanding and love of science.[75] This
uncommon union of rank, influence, character, talents, and learning,
could not fail to render the Marquis of Santillana highly respected;
and he was indeed regarded as so extraordinary a man, that foreigners
are said to have undertaken journies to Castile for the sole purpose
of seeing him. He was greatly esteemed by king John, who, during the
civil wars, constantly received from him, in return, the homage which
was due to a protector of learning, though the Marquis was not always
of that prince’s party. After the death of John II. in the latter
years of his life, this eminent man assisted with his counsels Henry
IV. under whom the regal authority in Castile was subsequently almost
annihilated. He died in the year 1458.

The Marquis of Santillana possessed no uncommon poetic talent. But he
studied to give to the poetry of his age a moral tendency, to extend
its sphere by allegorical invention, and to adorn poetic description
with the stores of learning. Two poems, in which he has best succeeded
in realizing these objects, are also the most celebrated of his works.
The first is an elegy on the death of the Marquis of Villena;[76] a
lyric allegory in twenty-five dactylic stanzas, constructed according
to the ancient form. The idea is very simple, and the commencement
of the piece brings to recollection the hell of Dante, of which it
is probably an imitation.[77] The poet loses himself in a desert,
finds himself surrounded by wild and frightful animals, advances
forward, hears dismal tones of lamentation, and finally discovers some
nymphs in mourning, who bewail the loss and chaunt the merits of the
deceased Marquis of Villena. On this poem, which does not discover much
ingenuity of invention, the Marquis of Santillana probably expended all
his stock of learning. He cites as many deities and ancient authors, as
the nature of his work will permit him to notice.[78] Such a display
of erudition had never before been seen in the Castilian language. No
genial poetic spirit is to be found except in the descriptions and in
some other scattered passages of this lyric allegory;[79] but the
verse is not destitute of harmony. The other considerable poem of the
Marquis, consists of a series of moral reflections, occasioned by the
unfortunate fate of Don Alvaro de Luna, the favourite of John II.; the
Marquis called this work, _El doctrinal de Privados_, (the Manual of
Favourites.) It must be regarded as the earliest didactic poem in the
Spanish language, unless that title be given to any series of moral
maxims in verse. The work which is divided into fifty-three stanzas in
redondillas, receives a poetic colouring from the manner in which the
shade of Don Alvaro is introduced confessing his faults, and uttering
those moral truths, which the author wished to impress on the hearts of
the restless Castilians.[80] He was less successful in his love songs
composed in the Castilian manner, to which he unfortunately thought a
new dignity would be given, by rendering them the vehicles of learned
allusions. He possessed, however, the art of reconciling this pedantry
with a pleasing style of versification.[81] A kind of hymn, which he
composed, under the title of _Los Gozos de neustra Señora_, (the Joys
of our Lady) has been preserved, but it possesses no poetic merit.[82]
He also wrote a collection of proverbs and maxims in verse, for the use
of the Prince Royal of Castile, who afterwards ascended a tottering
throne under the title of Henry IV.[83] However low a critical
examination might reduce the value of these works, still the Marquis of
Santillana deserves to retain the place assigned to him in the history
of Spanish literature by his contemporaries, by whom he was generally
admired, as the “representative of the honour of poetry.”

Among the literary remains of the Marquis of Santillana, the critical
and historical letter is particularly remarkable. This letter, which
is frequently mentioned in the early accounts of Spanish poetry,[84]
is instructive in various respects. It affords the means of accurately
observing the infancy of Spanish criticism in that age, for the
Marquis has added to the letter a collection of his ingenious maxims,
(_decires_,) and of his poems for Don Pedro, a Portuguese prince;
and from the embarrassment evinced by the Marquis when he attempts
to give the prince an account of the rise of Castilian poetry, it is
obvious, that with respect to the real origin of that poetry, less
was understood at that time than is known at the present day. Poetry,
or the gay science, is, according to the Marquis of Santillana, “an
invention of useful things, which being enveloped in a beautiful
veil, are arranged, exposed, and concealed according to a certain
calculation, measurement, and weight.”[85] Thus, allegory appeared to
him to belong to the essence of poetry. He could scarcely have imbibed
this opinion from Dante. In Spain, as well as in Italy and France, it
seems to have issued forth from the monkish cells, when endeavours
were made to unite poetry with philosophy, and to make the poetic art
the symbol of knowledge, in order to ensure to it estimation among
the learned. The allegorical spirit which pervades the half gothic
poetry of that period, is therefore inseparably connected with the
characteristic origin of modern poetry. The Marquis of Santillana
would have come to a totally different conclusion, had he taken an
unprejudiced view of the genuine national poetry of his country. But
he imagined he was laying down a principle which would ennoble it,
when, according to his theory, he held allegory to be indispensable.
Without scruple, therefore, he confounded the Castilian and Limosin
poetry together in one mass. Respecting the origin of the former, he
entered into no investigation. He commences the history of poetry with
Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and Job,[86] gives a copious account
of the changes which the art of the Troubadours had undergone in
the Arragonian provinces, and adds a notice of some of the earliest
Galician and Portuguese poets: among the Castilian poets, he mentions
king Alphonso and some others, without saying a syllable on the subject
of the ancient romances.


Juan de Mena, who is by some writers, styled the Spanish Ennius, ranks,
as a poet, in a somewhat higher scale than the Marquis of Santillana,
though he was less favoured by fortune, and was not distinguished
by so many various merits as the latter. He was born in Cordova,
about the year 1412. In this southern district of Spain, which but a
short time before had been recovered from the Moors, the Castilian
genius was doubtless very rapidly naturalized. Juan de Mena, though
not descended from a family of rank,[87] was not of mean origin, and
at the early age of three-and-twenty he was invested with a civil
appointment in his native city. His own inclination, however, prompted
him to devote himself to philosophy, and particularly to the study of
ancient literature and history. From Cordova he went to the University
of Salamanca. But in order more nearly to approach the source of
ancient literature, he undertook a journey to Rome, where he zealously
prosecuted his studies. Enriched with knowledge, he returned to his
native country, and immediately attracted the notice of the Marquis
of Santillana, and shortly after of king John. Both received him into
their literary circles with distinguished approbation. The Marquis of
Santillana attached himself with more friendship to Juan de Mena than
to any other poet who enjoyed the favour of the king, although their
political opinions did not always coincide. The king nominated him one
of the historiographers, who, according to the arrangement which had
subsisted since the time of Alphonso X. were appointed to continue the
national chronicles. Juan de Mena lived in high favour at the court of
John II. and was a constant adherent of the king. He died in 1456, at
Guadalaxara, in New Castile, being then about forty-five years of age.
The Marquis of Santillana erected a monument to his memory.

From the history of Juan de Mena’s life, it might be expected that his
endeavours to extend the boundaries of Castilian poetry would be made
under the influence of Italian taste, more or less of which he may be
presumed to have adopted, and on his return introduced into his native
country. But no Italian poet, save Dante, appears to have produced
any remarkable impression on him. Indeed, with the exception of Dante
and Petrarch, there was, at that period, no Italian poet of classic
consideration; and in the first half of the fifteenth century Italian
poetry suddenly declined. Sonnets were still in favour throughout the
whole of Italy, but Juan de Mena continued faithful to the old forms
of the Castilian poetry, perhaps from a feeling of national pride. He
certainly did not imitate the sonnet; and even from Dante himself, he
copied neither metrical form nor style. In allegory alone he followed
the footsteps of the Italian poet. His most celebrated poem is, the
Labyrinth, (_el Labyrintho_) or, the Three Hundred Stanzas (_las
trecientas_,) an allegorical historical didactic work, in old dactylic
verse (_versos de arte mayor_.[88]) Had the Labyrinth proved what,
according to the idea of the author, it was intended to be, it would
have been proper, merely on account of that single work, to commence
a new epoch of Spanish poetry with the reign of John II. But with all
its merits, which have been highly extolled by some authors, and which
are certainly by no means trivial, it can only be regarded as a mere
specimen of gothic art.[89] It belongs to the period which gave it
birth, and bears no traces of the superiority of a genius which might
have ruled the spirit of the age. Juan de Mena formed the grand design
of executing in this work an allegorical picture of the whole course
of human life. His intention was, to embrace every age, to immortalize
great virtues, to stigmatize with opprobrium great vices, and to
represent in striking colours the irresistible power of destiny.[90]
But the poetical invention of Juan de Mena was subordinate to his
false learning. The three hundred stanzas, of which the poem consists,
are divided into seven orders, (_ordenes_), in imitation of the seven
planets, the influence of which, according to Juan de Mena’s doctrine,
is wisely prescribed by Providence. To represent this influence
figuratively, Mena resorted to a most insipid and grotesque invention.
After invoking Apollo and Calliope, and earnestly apostrophising
Fortune,[91] he loses himself in imitation of Dante in an allegorical
world, where a female of astonishing beauty appears to him, and becomes
his guide. This female is Providence:[92] she conducts him to three
wheels, two of which are motionless, while the third is in a state
of continual movement. These wheels, it will readily be conjectured,
represent the past, the present, and the future. Human beings drop
down through this mill of time. The centre wheel turns them round.
Each has his name and destiny inscribed on his forehead. While the
wheel of the present is revolving with all the existing human race,
it is controlled astrologically in its motion by the seven orders or
circles of the seven planets under the influence of which men are born.
Whether or not these circles are perceptible on the wheel itself, is
not clearly stated. To this description succeeds, in the order of the
seven planets, a long gallery of mythological and historical pictures,
which presents abundant fruits of the poet’s extensive reading. This
grotesque composition is interspersed with individual passages of great
interest and beauty, though none of the traits call to mind similar
traits in Dante. The most glowing passages of the lyric, didactic, and
narrative class, are those in which Juan de Mena gives utterance to
the language of Spanish patriotism.[93] He is particularly successful
in the description of the death of the Count de Niebla, a Spanish
naval hero, who attempted to recover Gibraltar from the Moors; but
through ignorance of the return of the tide, fell a sacrifice to the
waves, because he preferred perishing with his men, to saving himself
singly.[94] But particular attention is bestowed on Don Alvaro de
Luna,[95] the favourite of the king, who is introduced in this poem
with great pomp, under the constellation of Saturn. When Juan de Mena
wrote this poem, and thus proclaimed the glory of de Luna, the latter
had not yet fallen, and the energy of his character seemed to promise,
as the poet prophesied, that he would ultimately triumph over all the
Castilian nobles who had excited the hostility of the country against
him. King John, as may naturally be supposed, is in Juan de Mena’s
Labyrinth complimented on every suitable occasion. A genealogy of the
kings of Spain forms the conclusion of the poem; and thus were the
Spaniards made to feel a kind of national interest for the whole work,
which in some measure subsists, at least among their writers at the
present day. Even in Juan de Mena’s time, the learned solecisms with
which he endeavoured to elevate his poetic language were uncommon;[96]
but other essential faults, such, for instance, as Aristotelian
definitions in verse, were then esteemed great beauties; and the gothic
and fantastic hyperboles in praise of king John, with which the poem
opens, as if intended to appal the reader at the outset, were not at
that period considered unpoetic.[97]

But king John was not satisfied with the torrent of praise which was
poured upon him by Mena’s Labyrinth. The king, with critical gravity,
signified his wish that the poet should add sixty-five stanzas to the
three hundred which he had already written, so that by making the
number of stanzas correspond with the number of days in the year,
the beauty of the composition might be heightened. The sixty-five
new stanzas were also to have a political tendency, with the view of
recalling the rebellious nobles to their allegiance. Juan de Mena
proceeded to the prescribed task; but he could produce no more than
twenty-four additional stanzas (_coplas añadidas_.) They are contained
in the _Cancionero general_.

Another work of Juan de Mena, very celebrated at the period when
the poet flourished, is his Ode for the Poetical Coronation of the
Marquis of Santillana.[98] That Mecænas sometimes vied with him in the
composition of ingenious questions, or enigmas and their answers,
which were versified by both in dactylic stanzas.[99] His other poems
are, for the most part, love songs, in the style of the age, and
according to the perverted taste of the poet, loaded with mythological
learning. In the course of this work further notice will be taken of
these songs, together with other amatory poems of the same period.
During the last year of his life, Juan de Mena was engaged in a moral
allegorical poem, which, however, he did not complete. It was entitled
a Treatise on Vices and Virtues, (_Tractado de Vicios y Virtudes_.)
The author intended in an epic poem to represent the “more than civil
war,” which the will, instigated by the passions, maintains with
reason.[100] The will and reason are in the end personified.

To collect biographical notices of the other poets and writers of verse
who enjoyed the favour of king John II. and whose works are partly
contained in the _Cancionero general_, or to give an extensive account
of their productions, is a task which must be resigned to the author
who has made this department of Spanish literature his particular
study. As to poetic value, the writings of all those authors are in the
main the same; and it may therefore be presumed that it will prove more
instructive to consider works so nearly related to each other, under
the comprehensive view of general criticism. A few notices, however,
of men worthy of more particular remembrance, may precede the critical
comparison of their works.[101]


Fernan Perez de Guzman was held in no trifling consideration at the
court of John II. His family, which was one of the most distinguished
in Castile, was related to all the other great families in the
country. As a poet, he studied to combine the peculiar tone of moral
and spiritual poetry with that of the old romances. His Representation
of the Four Cardinal Virtues, dedicated to the Marquis of Santillana,
which consists of sixty-four strophes or couplets, is versified in
redondillas, as are also his _Ave Maria_, his _Paternoster_, and his
other spiritual songs.

Rodriguez del Padron seems likewise to have been held in some esteem
at the court of John II. His family name is not known, and as little
are the dates of his birth and death, but he is named after the
place of his nativity, the little town El Padron in Galicia. It is
remarkable that in his poetry he dropped his Galician idiom and
adopted the Castilian. Besides the reputation he obtained by his
poetic productions, which are chiefly love songs, he is celebrated
for his friendship with the Galician poet Macias, who will be further
mentioned in the history of Portuguese poetry. The tragical death of
Macias, who fell a sacrifice to his romantic susceptibility, made such
an impression on Rodriguez del Padron, that he shut himself up in a
Dominican cloister, which he had erected at his own expense. He became
a monk, and terminated his life in that convent.

Alonzo de Santa Maria, called also Alonzo de Cartagena, wrote love
songs, probably in his youth, and then devoted himself to spiritual
affairs. He died Archbishop of Burgos, in the year 1456.

Several other poets whose works fill the _Cancionero general_, also
lived in the reign, or rather under the anticipated domination of
queen Isabella, who, in the year 1465, vouchsafed to her almost
dethroned brother, Henry IV. the little authority, which, as a nominal
king he retained till his death in 1474. At this troubled period Garci
Sanchez de Badajoz sang his passionate and glowing songs of love; and
at the same time flourished the two Manriques, Gomez Manrique and
Jorge Manrique; the latter was nephew to the former. Both owed the
consideration they enjoyed no less to their poetical works than to
their high and pure Castilian descent. The Bachelor de la Torre, of
whom nothing further is known than what his own songs express, lived at
the same period.


Between the works of the above poets, all of which are to be found in
the _Cancionero general_, and the other poems contained in the same
collection, whether their authors lived in the first or the second half
of the fifteenth century, there is a very striking resemblance. This
collection, so remarkable in its kind, may therefore be regarded as a
single work, which, together with a portion of the General Romance Book
(_Romancero general_), embraces nearly all the Castilian poetry of the
fifteenth century. No other remains of Spanish poetry, belonging to
the same age, are sufficiently important to be brought into comparison
with this national treasure. It may not, then, be improper to introduce
here, a few particulars respecting the history of the _Cancionero
general_. Of the _Romancero general_ some further account must
hereafter be given.

The bibliographic notices towards the history of the collections of
Spanish poetry, to be found in the works of various authors, readily
explain why many old Spanish poems and names of poets have been
either totally lost, or are still only preserved in manuscript in a
way which renders them foreign to literature. It appears that having
been withheld from the press, on the introduction of printing into
Spain,[102] they were forgotten as soon as other collections were made
known by means of that art. In the reign of John II. Alphonso de Baena,
who himself wrote in verse, prepared a collection of old lyric pieces,
under the title of _Cancionero de Poetas Antiguos_. This collection,
though still preserved in the library of the Escurial, was never
printed;[103] but a list of the poets whose works are contained in it,
has appeared, and includes names which do not occur elsewhere. Alvarez
de Villapandino is mentioned as a particularly excellent “master and
patron of the said art,” namely, poetry. Sanchez Salavera, Ruy Paez
de Ribera, and others, of whom besides their names, nothing else is
known, are also cited. It is not very probable that Alphonso de Baena’s
collection was the origin of that which subsequently appeared under
the title of the _Cancionero general_. Of this celebrated collection
it is merely known that it was originally produced by Fernando del
Castillo, at the commencement of the sixteenth century, and within a
short period frequently augmented and reprinted. Fernando del Castillo
began his collection with the poets of the age of John II. He did not,
however, take the trouble to carry on the series in chronological order
through the fifteenth century. He places the spiritual poems before
the rest. He then gives the works of several poets of the reign of
John II. mingled with others of more recent date, but so arranged,
that the productions of each author seem to be kept distinct. After,
however, the works are thus apparently given, other poems follow under
particular heads, partly by the same and partly by different authors,
whose names are sometimes mentioned and sometimes not: there are also
a few Italian sonnets, and some coplas in the Valencian language.
In proportion as the collection extended, the additions were always
inserted at the end of the book. In the oldest editions the number of
poets mentioned amounts to one hundred and thirty-six.[104]

A nation which can enumerate one hundred and thirty-six song writers
in a single century, and which also possesses a great number of songs
by unknown authors, produced within the same period, may well boast of
its lyric genius; and the literary historian, before he proceeds to
a closer review of this collection, may reasonably expect to find in
it a full and true representation of the national character. Thus the
old Spanish _Cancionero_ is even more interesting to the philosophic
observer of human nature than to the critic.

The Spiritual Songs, (_Obras de Devocion_,) at the head of the
collection, probably will not fulfil the expectations which may be
formed respecting them. It is natural to presume that in a nation so
poetically inclined, and in an age when, for the most part, nature was
followed without reference to the rules of art, the poets could not
fail to view Christianity on its poetic side. But the scholastic forms
of the existing theology crushed the genius of poetry; and the unpoetic
side of Christianity, because it was the most learned, was alone deemed
worthy the strains of the Spanish poets of the fifteenth century. They
likewise seldom ventured to give scope to the fancy in devotional
verses, because the nation was accustomed to the most implicit faith
in every dogma of the church, and the recognition of the sacredness
of literal interpretation was identified with orthodoxy, long before
the terrors of the inquisition and its burning piles were known. This
rigid orthodoxy of the Spanish Christians was a consequence of their
war of five hundred years duration with the Moors. Throughout that
long period the Spanish knight invariably fought for religion and
his country; and from the constant hostility that prevailed between
the Christian and Mahometan faiths, the Spanish Christians were wont
to make a parade of their creed, as the Christians of the east are
accustomed to do at the present day. Hence the strictest formality
was observed in all matters connected with religion; and great as was
the enthusiasm of the Spaniards in the fifteenth century, it produced
few, if any, lyric compositions, containing more poetry than a common
hymn. Whether reference be made to the Twenty Perfections of the
Holy Virgin,[105] (_Obra en loor de veinte excellencias de nuestra
Señora_), by Juan Tulante, who is the author of most of the spiritual
songs in the _Cancionero general_; to the play on the five letters
of the name _Maria_,[106] by the Visconde de Altamira; or to Fernan
Perez de Guzman’s versions of the _Ave Maria_ and _Paternoster_,[107]
which could not have been more dryly and formally written in prose;
we find in all the same monotony without any poetic adaptation of the

The moral poems of this collection do not weigh heavier in the scale
of poetic merit. The art which the ancients possessed of introducing
moral ideas into the region of poetry, was not attainable by the
pupils of the monastic schools. They allegorized either virtues or
vices according to the catalogue and definitions of the scholastic
philosophy; or they made common place observations on human life,
sometimes with declamatory pomp, sometimes with real warmth of feeling,
and occasionally in agreeable verse, though destitute of any poetic
spirit. Gomez Manrique with commendable frankness addressed a didactic
poem on the Duties of Sovereigns (_Regimiento de Principes_) in
redondillas, to Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand of Arragon;
but however valuable the truths which he wished to impart to the
royal pair, he could only express them in versified prose.[108] The
moral coplas of his nephew Jorge Manrique present somewhat stronger
claims to poetic merit; they were subsequently glossed as a National
Book of Devotion, and were held in high estimation up to a recent
period.[109] In the moral as well as in the spiritual songs the
character of the nation is manifest. With equal warmth of feeling, with
the same disposition for light and sportive gaiety, the Spaniards were
invariably distinguished from the Italians by moral gravity. Hence,
they have in all times set a high value on rules of conduct, sentences,
and useful proverbs, and have never regarded the principles of genuine
rectitude as less important than maxims of worldly wisdom.

But love songs form by far the principal part of the contents of the
old Spanish _Cancioneros_. To read them regularly through, would
require a strong passion for compositions of this class, for the
monotony of the authors is interminable. To extend and spin out a theme
as long as possible, though only to seize a new modification of the
old ideas or phrases, was, in their opinion, essential to the truth
and sincerity of their poetic effusions of the heart. That loquacity
which is an hereditary fault of the Italian Canzone, must also be
endured in perusing the amatory flights of the Spanish redondillas,
while in them the Italian correctness of expression would be looked
for in vain. From the desire perhaps of relieving their monotony, by
some sort of variety the authors have indulged in even more witticisms
and plays of words than the Italians, but they also sought to infuse
a more emphatic spirit into their compositions than the latter.[110]
The Spanish poems of this class, exhibit, in general, all the poverty
of the compositions of the Troubadours, but blend with the simplicity
of these bards, the pomp of the Spanish national style in its utmost
vigour. This resemblance to the Troubadour songs was not however
produced by imitation; it arose out of the spirit of romantic love,
which at that period, and for several preceding centuries, gave to
the south of Europe the same feelings and taste. Since the age of
Petrarch, this spirit had appeared in classical perfection in Italy.
But the Spanish amatory poets of the fifteenth century had not reached
an equal degree of cultivation; and the whole turn of their ideas
required rather a passionate than a tender expression. The sighs of the
languishing Italians became cries in Spain. Glowing passion, despair
and violent ecstacy, were the soul of the Spanish love songs. The
continually recurring picture of the contest between reason and passion
is a peculiar characteristic of these songs. The Italian poets did not
place so much importance on the triumph of reason. The rigidly moral
Spaniard was, however, anxious to be wise even in the midst of his
folly. But this obtrusion of wisdom in its improper place, frequently
gives an unpoetic harshness to the lyric poetry of Spain, in spite of
all the softness of its melody. It would be no unprofitable or useless
task to pursue this comparison still further. But the limited extent of
this work can afford space for only a few notices and examples.

How successful the Spanish poets of the fifteenth century were in
gay and graceful love songs, when guided only by their own feelings,
is manifest from some of the compositions of Juan de Mena; but the
charm vanishes the instant the poet begins to display his skill
and erudition.[111] In a love song by Diego Lopez de Haro, reason
and the mind enter into a prolix conversation on the value to be
attached to affections of the heart; and the thinking faculty admits
reason at the expense of poetry.[112] In the other songs of the
same author, in which the mind obeys only the heart, he is poetic in
all the simplicity of passion, though in search of wit he sometimes
involves himself in obscure subtilties.[113] The fire of passion is
excellently painted, even amidst sports of wit,[114] in several
songs by Alonzo de Cartagena, afterwards archbishop of Burgos; and it
seems to rage incessantly in the love songs of Guivara, to one of
which he has given the emphatic title of _El Infierno de Amores_; or,
The Hell of Love.[115] Sanchez de Badajoz, when, like a despairing
lover, he wrote his will in poetry, thought he might avail himself
of some passages from the book of Job to express his suffering. He
divided this strange kind of will into nine lessons, (_leciones_).
The ideas are very extravagant, but the execution is vigorous, and
in many parts not unpoetic.[116] It might be presumed that profane
applications of the doctrines and language of the bible would have
given offence to the Spanish public, or at least alarmed the guardians
of catholic orthodoxy. But such was not the case. Rodriguez del Padron
chose the Seven Joys of Love as the subject of one of his songs, the
title of which calls to mind the Marquis of Santillana’s Joys of the
Holy Virgin; he also versified Love’s Ten Commandments, (_Los diez
Madamientos de Amor_.)

The other kinds of lyric poems, for example, the laudatory poems, which
are dispersed through the _Cancionero general_, are not distinguished
by any peculiar features; but the poems under miscellaneous titles in
this collection deserve particular attention. They exhibit the natural
style, amalgamated with a conventional, and thus form the model of a
species of national poetry, which has descended to the present age.
Certain short lyric poems, usually called songs, (_canciones_,) in
the more strict sense of the term are distinguished by a peculiar
character and a decided metrical form. They have always a sententious
or an epigramatic turn. The number of lines is generally twelve, which
are divided into two parts. The first four lines comprehend the idea
on which the song is founded. And this idea is developed or applied
in the eight following lines. The _Cancionero general_ contains one
hundred and fifty-six of these little songs, some of which are the best
poems in the whole book. For this advantage they are probably indebted
to their conventional form, which confined the romantic verbosity
within narrow bounds. These little songs were to the Spaniards of the
fifteenth century, what the epigram had been to the Greeks, and what
the madrigal was to the Italians and French. Like the latter, they
are generally devoted to some theme of gallantry; and though they do
not possess so high a polish, yet the interest excited by the truth
with which they paint the character of the age, and their ingenious
simplicity, entitles them to be ranked among the sweetest blossoms of
the ancient spirit of romance.[117]

The Villancicos bear an immediate affinity to these little songs. The
idea which forms the subject of the Villancico, is sometimes contained
in two, but more commonly in three lines. The developement, or
application, may be completed in one short stanza, but often extends to
several similar stanzas. These stanzas always include seven lines. It
was, perhaps, by way of irony that the name Villancico was originally
applied to productions of this kind; for the spiritual motets,
which are sung during high mass on Christmas eve, are also called
Villancicos. At least no satisfactory etymology has yet been found for
the name. The _Cancionero general_ contains fifty-four Villancicos, and
among them are some which possess inimitable grace and delicacy.[118]

These remarkable compositions, whose origin appears to be lost in the
early periods of the formation of the Spanish language, doubtless gave
rise to the poetic gloss (_glosa_,) a kind of poem scarcely known, even
by name, on this side of the Pyrenees, but to which the Spaniards and
Portuguese of the fifteenth century were particularly attached, and
which subsequently even after the introduction of the Italian forms,
continued to be preserved as national poetry in Spain and Portugal.

The poetic glosses may, in some measure, be compared to musical
variations. The musician selects as his theme some well known melody,
which he paraphrases or modifies into variations; in like manner in
Spain and Portugal, well known songs and romances were paraphrased or
modified into new productions, but in such a manner that the original
composition was, without any alteration in the words, intertwined line
after line, at certain intervals into the new one. A poem of this kind
was called a gloss. By this operation the connection of the glossed
poem was broken, and the comparison of the poetic glosses to musical
variations is therefore not in all respects exactly just. But the
distinction between them arises out of the different nature of the
arts of music and poetry; and it is indeed more surprising that these
compositions have not flourished beyond the boundaries of Spain and
Portugal, than that they should have been peculiar favourites in those
two countries. At first, the old romances were glossed;[119] then, as
it appears, mottos, or sentiments, (_motes_,) in the style of gallantry
peculiar to the age,[120] and, at length, every thing that was capable
of being glossed. There is a particular class of _jeux d’esprit_, in
the _Cancionero general_, namely, versified questions and answers,
and versified interpretations of devices (_letras_,) which, together
with corresponding emblems, lords and ladies drew by lot at festivals,
tourneys, bull fights, &c. But these questions, answers, and devices,
are in general more whimsical than ingenious.


The latter half of the fifteenth century seems also to have given birth
to the greater portion of those Spanish romances, which wrested the
approbation of criticism and public favour from the older productions
of the same class; and which, therefore, in the sequel, formed the bulk
of the _Romancero general_, or General Romance Book. This Romancero
of the Spaniards is so closely related to their _Cancionero general_,
that some account of it may not be out of place here, though it was
not printed as a complete collection until the close of the sixteenth
century. With the exception of the narrative romances, the Romancero
may be considered merely as a continuation of the Cancionero. The
poetry of the lyric pieces contained in it, which are extremely
numerous, is both in spirit and metrical form, precisely the same as
that which appears in the Cancionero, but more polished in manner and
language. The title of romance indicates no essential difference. The
narrative romances, which occupy the greater portion of the Romancero,
have, in some measure, been characterized in this history in treating
of the old romances of the same class; for most of them, particularly
those of the historical kind, differ little from the more ancient.
But a considerable portion of compositions of every class have been
contributed to the Romancero by poets of the sixteenth century. The
collectors have mingled these romances and the older ones together,
without any attention to critical arrangement or chronological order;
and in no instance is there any mention or indication of an author.
In a history of literature, it therefore becomes necessary to speak
of the Romancero as a whole; and for this purpose, the present is
perhaps the most convenient opportunity; for, even at the period when
this collection was produced, the poets who wrote romances in the old
national style, merely improved that style without essentially altering

Among the historical romances, contained in the Romancero, those
in which anecdotes of the Moorish war, or the heroic and gallant
adventures of Moorish knights, are poetically treated, seem, for the
most part, to belong to the latter half of the fifteenth century. All
these romances relate to the civil wars of Granada, the last Moorish
principality in Spain. The civil dissensions of Castile retarded for
upwards of half a century the conquest of Granada, which was at length
effected in the year 1492, by the united power of Isabella of Castile
and Ferdinand of Arragon. During this last period of the conflict
between the Christians and the Mahometans of Spain, the former became
more intimately acquainted with the history of the latter. As the last
blow for the deliverance of the Peninsula was now about to be struck,
all that related to the Moors was doubly interesting to the Castilians.
The two rival factions, the Zegris and the Abencerrages, whose mutual
enmity accelerated the fall of Granada, were, in a particular manner,
the objects of their adversaries attention.

About this period it seems to have become a fashion among the Spanish
romance writers, to select from the events of Moorish history,
materials for their songs; and in these romances the heroes of the
Zegri and Abencerrage tribes sustain the principal characters. Even
after the conquest of Granada, the interest excited throughout Spain
by that great national event, still continued; and, doubtless, many
romances, the subjects of which are borrowed from Moorish history, were
produced in the sixteenth century.[121]

The first Spanish pastoral romances, were probably produced during the
last ten years of the fifteenth century. But no distinct traces exist
of the rise of this species of poetry in Spain. In the poetry of the
age of John II. neither pastoral names nor ideas appear, except in the
satyrical poem, entitled, _Mingo Rebulgo_, which will be hereafter
noticed. Pastoral dramas are, however, to be found in the works of
Juan de la Enzina, who flourished towards the close of the fifteenth
century, and of whom we shall also have occasion to speak more at
large. The Spanish pastoral poetry seems, shortly after its rise, to
have been blended with the romantic poetry. Many of the most beautiful
narrative pieces in the _Romancero general_ are properly pastoral
romances. It is quite impossible to ascertain correctly to what age
these bucolicks belong;[122] and it has, hitherto, proved equally
impossible to obtain any positive information respecting the origin of
the facetious and satyrical romances and songs, dispersed through the
_Romancero general_.[123]

Finally, the history of the _Romancero general_ itself still waits for
bibliographic illustration; and in order to throw any light on this
subject, it would be necessary to have the opportunity of examining
the Spanish libraries and old collections of manuscripts, and to be
able to bestow on them the most indefatigable attention. Of all the
collections, bearing the common title of _Romancero general_, only
two are quoted by authors; one was edited by Miguel de Madrigal, in
the year 1604; and the other by Pedro de Flores in 1614.[124] Another
publication, however, under the same title, which also appeared in
1604, and which contains upwards of a thousand romances and songs,
professes to be a new and augmented collection of this kind.[125] At
what time, then, was the first collection made or published?

Those, however, who may think it unimportant to enquire how many of
these anonymous poems, which have for ages delighted the Spanish
public, were produced in the fifteenth or sixteenth century, and who
may merely wish to see a selection of the best Spanish poems in the
old national style, have only to turn to the _Romancero general_.
Many of the narrative romances which it contains, vie, in romantic
simplicity, with those of apparently older date in other collections,
and exceed them in elegance; and still more do a number of the songs
in the _Romancero_ surpass those in the _Cancionero general_. Thus the
historian of literature has additional cause to lament that through
the absence of all chronological and bibliographical notices, he is
deprived of even the slight satisfaction of paying a just tribute to
the memory of the authors of the best of these romances and songs,
which really deserve to be immortal. The poets themselves, it is
true, do not seem to have attached much value to fame. If their
songs, accompanied by the guitar, interested the hearts and charmed
the ears of their auditors, they sought no laurels in addition to
that true reward of the poet. Yet, for this very reason, in an age
when the lowest degree of poetic merit presumptuously claims literary
distinction, the task would be the more pleasing to do honour to those
venerable authors, by raising the veil beneath which their names have
too long been concealed.


All that now remains to be stated respecting the poetic literature of
the Spaniards during the fifteenth century, must be comprehended in a
notice of their first essays in dramatic poetry.

In lieu of those poetic works which are styled dramatic in the true
sense of the word, and which afterwards formed the most brilliant
portion of Spanish poetry, the Spaniards of the fifteenth century
possessed merely spiritual or temporal farces, written in the style
which prevailed in the middle ages, and which can scarcely be said
to belong to literature. At Saragossa, the residence of the Court of
Arragon, attempts towards the improvement of dramatic amusements were
earlier made than in the Castilian court. There, as has already been
observed, the Marquis de Villena devoted his learning and inventive
talents to the drama. Allegorical dramas, indeed, do not seem to have
been in favour at the court of Castile, notwithstanding the taste for
allegory which distinguished the poets of the reign of John II. A
singular union of pastoral and satirical poetry first gave birth to a
species of dramatic poem in the Castilian language.

In the reign of John II. an anonymous poet amused himself by describing
the court of that monarch in satirical coplas. It is impossible to
account for the whim which induced him to throw his rhymes into the
form of a dialogue, and to select shepherds for his interlocutors.
The work extends to thirty-two coplas, and critics have sometimes
classed it among the eclogues, and sometimes among the first satirical
productions of the Spanish poets. Some make Rodrigo de Cota the author
of these coplas; and others, who ascribe them to Juan de Mena, seem to
forget that the latter was zealously devoted to the court party. This
singular composition is usually mentioned under the title of Mingo
Rebulgo, from the names of the two shepherds who carry on the dialogue.
Supposing pastoral poetry to have been in vogue at that period in
Spain, and particularly at the court of John II. it would be easy to
explain how a witty author might conceive the bold idea of converting a
pastoral dialogue into a satire; but in that case the ideas of a poetic
pastoral existence must have been diffused through Spain, as they were
through Italy. It is probable, however, that in both countries the
revived study of classical literature, and particularly of Virgil’s
eclogues, gave rise to the practice of clothing modern ideas in a garb
imitated from the ancient bucolic poetry; and it seems the effect of
mere accident that a Spaniard should have been the first to devote a
work of this kind to the purposes of satire.[126]

Doubtless neither the eclogue of Mingo Rebulgo, nor the colloquial
stanzas in the _Cancionero_ can properly be regarded as the
commencement of dramatic poetry in Spain. But all these preliminary
essays in dialogue, are in a literary point of view connected together;
and about the close of the fifteenth century, pastoral dialogues were
converted into real dramas, by a musical composer, named Juan de la
Enzina, or del Enzina, as he is styled in the old collections of his
works. This ingenious man who was born in Salamanca during the reign of
Queen Isabella, though in what year is not precisely known, was equally
celebrated as a poet and musician. He travelled to Jerusalem in company
with the Marquis de Tarifa, and this journey could not fail to store
his mind with many new ideas. He lived for some time at Rome in the
quality of chapel-master, or musical director to Pope Leo; who, it is
well known, afforded great encouragement to dramatic amusements. But
at Rome, as well as in Palestine, Juan de la Enzina still remained a
Spaniard. His poetry imbibed no tincture of the Italian taste, and he
continued to write songs and lyric romances in the old Castilian style.
He also exercised his fancy in making jests, consisting of ridiculous
combinations or heterogeneous conceits, called _disparates_, which he
wrote in the form of romances. For instance, he talks with an absurd
but harmless humour of a “cloud which at night, at day break in the
afternoon arrived from a pilgrimage, having in its train a domestic
utensil which appeared in _pontificalibus_,” &c.[127] These oddities
rendered his name a proverb in Spain. He converted Virgil’s eclogues
into romances, in which he displayed singular simplicity, and applied
to his patrons, Ferdinand and Isabella, the duke and duchess of Alba,
and others, the compliments which Virgil addressed to the emperor
Augustus. Accident had introduced into Spain a mixture of pastoral
poetry with the drama, and Juan de la Enzina wrote sacred and profane
eclogues, in the form of dialogues, which were represented before
distinguished audiences on Christmas eve, during the carnival, and on
other festivals. They are, however, entirely lost to literature.[128]

The dramatic romance of _Callistus_ and _Melibœa_ is, however, more
celebrated than Juan de la Enzina’s eclogues. It was probably
commenced in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella; though some authors
assign this singular production of popular descriptive talent and well
meant plainness to the age of John II. The author is supposed to be
Rodrigo de Cota, to whom the pastoral dialogue of Mingo Rebulgo is also
attributed. This dramatic romance was continued and completed at the
commencement of the fifteenth century by Fernando de Roxas, who has
recorded his own name in the initials of the introductory stanzas.[129]
Fernando de Roxas did not possess the forcible descriptive powers of
the unknown author, though he appears to have fully entered into the
plan traced out by the latter. Either he or his precursor entitled the
work a tragi-comedy. It consists of twenty-one acts, and consequently
its vast length renders it unfit for theatrical representation. This
production may be regarded as original in a certain sense, for there
existed no work of the same kind which the author could have chosen
as his model. But in a higher and truly critical point of view,
it possesses as little originality as real poetic merit. Natural
description and moral precept seem to have formed the great object
of both authors. They both aimed at exhibiting a series of dramatic
lessons to warn youth against the seductive arts of base agents
employed to promote intrigues. In order to attain this moral end, the
authors deemed it necessary to paint in glowing colours the disgusting
picture of a brothel, and through a series of scenes unconnected by
the unities of time or place, to exhibit in the most striking point
of view, the tragical end of an intrigue conducted by a woman of
infamous character. Owing to its moral object, the book has found
admirers in all ages, though many have not unreasonably conceived
it more advisable to withdraw such scenes of vice from the eye of
youth, than to paint them with the minuteness and vivid colouring of
truth. But, even allowing that an inconsiderate young person may have
occasionally been deterred from an intrigue by the sad history of
Callistus and Melibœa, yet the whole dramatic tale, both in the subject
and execution, is nevertheless revolting to good taste. The story is
as follows:--Callistus, a young man of noble family, entertains a
romantic passion for Melibœa. The young lady is also attached to him;
but her own prudence, as well as the strict observation to which she
is subject in the house of her parents, prevents all communication
between the lovers. In this difficulty, Callistus applies to an artful
and abandoned woman, to whom the author has given the elegant name
of Celestina. She easily devises a pretence for insinuating herself
into the house of Melibœa’s parents, where she succeeds in bribing the
servants. The intrigue then proceeds in the most common manner, though
the author thinks it necessary to call in the aid of witchcraft and
magic. Callistus at length attains his object, and Melibœa’s parents
discover the mischief when it is too late. Murder is committed among
the servants of Melibœa; Celestina’s house likewise becomes the scene
of bloodshed; the profligate woman is herself murdered in the most
horrible manner imaginable; Callistus is assassinated, and Melibœa
closes the tragedy by throwing herself from the top of a lofty tower.
Such is the ground-work of the twenty-one acts of this tragi-comedy.
It must be admitted, that the authors appear to have wished to paint
the scenes in the house of Celestina in as decorous a manner as
the nature of the subject would permit. The profligate personages,
particularly Celestina, are drawn with great truth; and in the list of
the characters their description is unreservedly added to their names.
The first act, which is by the unknown author, is distinguished above
the rest for the easy flow of the dialogue.[130] Considered in this
point of view alone, the work is extremely interesting. It affords a
fair proof that the fluent and natural style of conversation which the
dramatic poets of the north did not attain, until after much labour
and repeated failures, arose spontaneously in Spain, on the first
attempt made by a writer of talent to make dramatic characters speak
in prose.[131] This tragi-comedy, as it is styled, has, however, but
little relation to poetry.[132]



In a history of Spanish prose of the fifteenth century, it would be
improper to omit a brief notice of the chronicles, which, in Spain, at
this period, were not written by monks, as in other parts of Europe,
but by knights, many of whom were at the same time poets. The custom
instituted by Alphonso X. of appointing historiographers to record
the most remarkable events of national history, was maintained by his
successors throughout the fourteenth century; and, in addition to
those historians, who were regularly appointed and paid, there arose
others in the fifteenth century, who wrote of their own accord from the
love of fame, or for the sake of doing honour to the parties to which
they were respectively attached. Historians were never held in such
high estimation in modern Europe as they were at this time in Castile.

But notwithstanding the fortunate circumstances which combined to
revive the taste for historical composition in Spain, the noble
authors of the Spanish chronicles in very few instances rose above
the vulgar chronicle style. They faithfully adhered to the language
of the historical books of the bible. In nothing is their poetic
talent disclosed, except in a better choice of expression, than is
to be found in the common chronicles, which were in general written
by monks. Spirited and adequate historical description was totally
unknown to them. They all wrote in nearly the same manner. Facts
were heaped on facts, in long monotonous sentences, which uniformly
commenced with the conjunction _and_. Occasionally, indeed, the writers
of these chronicles seem to have made attempts to imitate the ancient
historians; for at every favourable opportunity little speeches are
put into the mouths of the characters they record; but these speeches
are given either in the language of scripture or the law. Thus wrote
the illustrious Perez de Guzman, who was celebrated among the poets of
his age; and thus wrote the grand Chancellor of Castile, Pedro Lopez
de Ayala, who is better known than the former as an historian, in
consequence of having compiled from ancient chronicles a connected
history of the kings of Castile of the fourteenth century.[133]

An agreeable surprise is, however, excited in discovering among these
chronicles some biographical works, one of which was probably written
in the last years of the fourteenth century, and another, doubtless,
belongs to the fifteenth. These two productions deserve to be noticed,
but in a rhetorical point of view neither can be very highly estimated.
The first is the history of Count Pedro Niño de Buelna, one of the
bravest knights of the reign of Henry III. The author is Gutierre Diez
de Games, who was the Count’s standard-bearer.[134] The gothic taste
of the age, it must be confessed, is sufficiently apparent in this
history. The chivalrous author begins by apostrophizing the Trinity
and the Holy Virgin. He then reasons methodically on virtue and vice,
according to the scholastic notions of morality. It is, however,
easy to perceive that the author has taken great pains to avoid the
dry chronicle style. He evidently wished to give to the history of
his hero the interest of a romance. He did not, therefore, confine
himself very scrupulously to historical truth, and he has even blended
fabulous stories in his narrative. But on the other hand he paints
real events with a degree of spirit of which no example is to be found
in the chronicles; and some of his descriptions are so remarkable for
precision, and accuracy of expression, that they might be mistaken for
the production of a modern writer, if the simplicity of the ideas did
not betray the age to which the chivalrous author belonged.[135]

The second of these biographical works is the history of Count Alvaro
de Luna. The author, whose name is not known, appears to have been
in the Count’s service, and to have taken up the pen soon after the
execution of that extraordinary man, to raise a monument to his memory
in defiance of his enemies.[136] The work is in fact an apology, in
which the enthusiasm of the anonymous author for his hero carries him
beyond the bounds of historical calmness and of impartiality. But
this very enthusiasm gives the work a degree of rhetorical interest,
which is wanting in the chronicles. Alvaro de Luna is regarded by his
apologist in his real character; namely, as the greatest, if not the
most disinterested man of his age in Spain: and it was the author’s
intention that the animated picture he drew should mortify and shame
the powerful party which overthrew his hero. His zeal frequently
betrays him into declamatory pomp. But what other Spanish writer
of that age could declaim with so much eloquence.[137] He is not,
however, always declamatory. His introduction, notwithstanding the
high elevation of the ideas, possesses real dignity of expression,
combined with the true harmony of prose.[138] His apostrophe to truth
at the close of this introduction, is a genuine overflowing of the
heart.[139] It is true that the narrative itself somewhat inclines to
the manner of the chronicles; but the spirit which pervades the whole
work is perceptible even in the style which, considered with reference
to the period in which it was written, is remarkable for precision and
facility.[140] In short, this biographical chronicle, estimated by
its rhetorical merit, has, in spite of all its gothic ornaments and
declamatory excrescences, no parallel among the chronicles of the age
to which it belongs.

_Los Claros Varones_, the Celebrated Men, is a work which claims
particular attention. The author is Fernando del Pulgar, who filled
the office of historiographer in the reign of Isabella and Ferdinand.
This ingenious man was ambitious to be thought the Plutarch of his
nation. In his twenty-six short biographical sketches, he has, however,
confined himself within limits too narrow to effect all that he was
capable of; but the precision of his descriptions, and the purity
of his style, are nevertheless remarkable for the age in which he

Fernando del Pulgar is also the oldest Castilian author in the
epistolary style; and upon the whole he may be regarded as the first,
who, in the character of a statesman and public functionary, formed
his correspondence in a modern language on the model of Cicero and

Those who have time and opportunity to peruse Spanish manuscripts of
the fifteenth century, will doubtless find many more documents to prove
the high degree of cultivation which Spanish prose had attained at that
period. In spite of the lofty poetic flight which then characterized
the genius of Spain, and the powerful charm of the poetic prose of the
chivalrous romances, the national gravity of the Spaniards, when their
minds were directed, not to sports of the imagination, but to things,
made them incline to what may be termed the style of affairs, in
the same degree as the genius of the Italians, which attached itself
exclusively to beautiful forms, had been accustomed to manifest an
indifference for true prose. The philosophic writings of Aristotle
were, in the same age, translated into Spanish by a scholar, whose
name, as well as his work, have fallen into oblivion.[143]


The literature of this period possesses, however, not the slightest
trace of true criticism. Though the poetical and rhetorical rules of
Aristotle were known to a few scholars, they were of little utility
to writers who either applied them erroneously, or considered them
impracticable. Of the state of poetry in Spain, during the reign
of Ferdinand and Isabella, a correct notion may be formed from a
Treatise on Castilian Poetry, (_Arte de Poesia Castellana_,) by Juan
de la Enzina. In this work, addressed to the Prince Royal of Spain,
the author wished to prove that he thoroughly understood the art on
which he wrote, and that he was not an unskilful Troubadour.[144] The
commencement of the treatise might teach the reader to expect some
profound investigation. Juan de la Enzina observes, “that poetry is so
excellent an art, that it merits the particular favour of princes and
nobles”, who being reared “in the bosom of sweet philosophy,”[145]
know how to unite the virtues both of peace and war; it was therefore,
he continues, his intention to write a theory (_arte_) of Castilian
poetry, which might facilitate the distinction between good and bad.
He treats of the origin of poetry among the ancients and among the
Italians, and marks the difference between a poet and a Troubadour. The
former, he says, is, with respect to the latter, “what a composer or
learned musician is to a singer or musical performer, a geometrician to
a mason, or a captain to a private soldier.”[146] After all these high
promises, Juan de la Enzina merely gives an Essay on Castilian prosody
in a few chapters. Such is his art of poetry.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus did Castilian poetry and eloquence develope itself in the
ancient national forms, during the first centuries that succeeded its
birth, without any superior genius having either raised it to higher
perfection, or enlarged its boundaries. Like the _Gaya Ciencia_ of
the Troubadours, it was a common property, protected by a literary
democracy, which allowed no despotic genius to encroach upon its
rights. It is difficult to imagine what might have been the fate of
Castilian poetry, had not a new political connection formed between
Spain and Italy, at the commencement of the sixteenth century, suddenly
brought the Spanish nation, as it were in mass, in contact with the
Italians. At all events, the Spaniards must, in the progress of
cultivation, have ceased to be satisfied with the poetry of their old
songs and romances, on their literary taste becoming in any way more





The union of the kingdoms of Castile and Arragon, in consequence of
the marriage of Isabella, the heiress of the Castilian throne, with
Ferdinand king of Arragon, forms an epoch in Spanish literature, as
well as in Spanish power. Hitherto Spain had been occupied only with
her own internal affairs. The monarchs contended for their prerogatives
with the powerful barons of their respective states; and the two
kingdoms waged war against each other. The only object which they
pursued in common, was the overthrow of the Moorish principality of
Granada, which was enabled to resist them, as long as their political
jealousy of each other counter-balanced their mutual zeal for religion
and conquest. Spain, in her detached situation to the west of the
Pyrenees, never appeared so completely separated from the rest of
Europe as in the middle of the fifteenth century. With Italy, Spain
maintained no relations, except such as were purely ecclesiastical.
A marked change, however, took place on the union of the crowns of
Castile and Arragon, though the union of the two monarchies was not
properly consolidated until after Ferdinand’s death, which happened in
1516. Since the year 1492, Granada had been a Castilian province. The
poets had no longer the feats of the Zegris and Abencerrages to record;
and the Spanish knights had no infidels to vanquish, unless they
travelled to Africa in quest of them. If, however, they were successful
in that quarter of the world, their victories did not present subjects
of such interest to the Castilian muse as former achievements had
afforded. The love of industry and social order, which distinguished
the people of Arragon, at length extended to Castile; and the old
chivalrous spirit declined in proportion as the use of gunpowder, which
was at this period rapidly increasing, became more general. The manners
of the Spaniards of both monarchies, had now approximated to those
of the Italians; and the analogy between the Castilian and Italian
languages, could not fail to be remarked, whenever opportunities for
making that observation occurred. Ferdinand soon afforded such an
opportunity; his ambition induced him to take an active part in the
transactions of Italy, and his interference was attended with success.
The victorious Gonsalvo Fernandez de Cordova, admired as the conqueror
of Granada, and a second Cid, and surnamed, by way of distinction, _El
gran Capitan_, presented the crown of Naples to his sovereign in the
year 1504. The political union which then took place between Spain and
Italy, and which continued longer than a century, paved the way for
that influence of the Italian poetry on the Spanish, which soon after
became manifest.

About the same period that Ferdinand and Isabella united their
dominions, they also co-operated in the establishment of that terrible
tribunal which soon became known throughout Europe by the name of
the Spanish Inquisition, and which to the disgrace of human reason
exercised during two centuries and a half its monstrous powers in
their fullest extent. A crafty policy contrived to render religion
its instrument, in subjugating to one common tyranny the reason and
the rights of mankind; for the establishment of regal despotism in
both kingdoms was the great object of this institution, and its whole
organization corresponded with the end for which it was destined.
The pope, who penetrated the design of the founders, viewed their
proceedings with much dissatisfaction; but even the pope was obliged
to support the pretended interest of the church, and to honour
Ferdinand by bestowing on him, as a peculiar distinction, the title
of “Catholic King.” Thus the court of Rome contributed to annul the
privileges of the Cortes of Castile and Arragon, and to invest the
whole powers of government, without limitation, in the hands of an
absolute monarch: and thus did political artifice triumph over the
energy of one of the noblest nations in the world, at the very moment
when the genius of that nation had begun to expand, when the promising
flower had burst forth from the bud, and was about to unfold itself in
full vigour and beauty. A simultaneous and concordant cultivation of
the different powers of the human mind was now as little to be hoped
for in Spain as the improvement of her political constitution. Under
these circumstances the literary genius of the country could not be
expected to reach that high maturity of taste which always presupposes
a certain degree of harmony in the moral and intellectual faculties.
Poetic freedom was circumscribed by the same shackles which fettered
moral liberty. Thoughts which could not be expressed without fear of
the dungeon and the stake, were no longer materials for the poet to
work on. His imagination instead of improving them into poetic ideas,
and embodying them in beautiful verse, had to be taught to reject them.
But the eloquence of prose was more completely bowed down under the
inquisitorial yoke than poetry, because it was more closely allied to
truth, which, of all things, was the most dreaded.

The yoke of this odious tribunal weighed, however, far less heavily on
the imagination than on the other faculties of the mind; and it must
be confessed that a wide field still remained open for the range of
fancy, though the boundaries of religious doctrine were not permitted
to be overstepped. To suppose that the Spanish inquisition could have
entirely annihilated the poetic genius of the nation, it must also be
supposed, that at the period of its establishment, there had existed
a style of poetry altogether hostile to such an institution, and that
the spirit of the inquisition was directly opposed to the spirit of
the nation. But it would be forming a false notion of the horrors of
the inquisition, to imagine that they were ever felt in Spain in the
same manner as in other countries, and particularly in the Netherlands,
where that tribunal was introduced hand in hand with foreign despotism.
When the inquisition was established in Spain, it harmonized to all
appearance, that is to say, as far as orthodox faith was concerned,
with the prevailing opinions of the Spanish Christians. It was
ostensibly directed not so much against heretics as against infidels,
namely, Mahometans and Jews. Its operations were accordingly commenced
by waging war against those infidels, for no sect of Christian heretics
existed at that period in Spain, and the inquisition took care that
none should be afterwards formed. To maintain the purity of the
ancient faith was the avowed object of the inquisition; and its wrath
was poured out on the unfortunate Jews, Moors, and Moriscos, (the
descendants of the Moors), with the view of removing every blemish
from the faith of a nation, which prided itself in its orthodoxy. This
bigotted pride was a consequence of the contest maintained in Spain
during four centuries and a half, between Catholic Christianity and
Mahometanism. The Spanish Christians celebrated the conquest of Granada
as the triumph of the church; and the inquisition, which at first
excited terror, soon became an object of veneration with men in whose
hearts religious enthusiasm was inseparably blended with patriotism.

This view of the subject may serve to explain how it happened in the
sequel, and particularly during the reign of Philip II. that while,
throughout all the rest of Europe men shuddered at the very name of the
Spanish inquisition, the Spaniards still lived under it as happily
and cheerfully as ever; and also how, from the operation of the same
cause, the ecclesiastical shackles had not a more injurious effect on
the developement of the poetic genius of the nation. The conduct of the
inquisition was no subject of alarm to those who were confident that
they never could have any personal concern with it; for the suspicion
of deficiency in Catholic orthodoxy, the ground on which that tribunal
acted, was more degrading in Spain than the most odious crimes in other
countries. Before the establishment of the inquisition, fanaticism was
so firmly rooted in the minds of the Spaniards, that all scepticism
in matters of religion was abhorred as a deadly sin. He, however,
who submitted with blind devotion to the decrees of the church, was
held to have a clear conscience, and in that sort of clear conscience
the Spaniards prided themselves. The inquisition disturbed the good
Catholic as little in his social enjoyments, as criminal justice the
citizen who lived in conformity with the laws. The Spaniard was cruel
only to heretics and infidels, because he thought it his duty to hate
them; but in the orthodox bosom of his native country, he was animated
by a spirit of gaiety of which the literature of Spain presents
abundant proofs. While the Duke of Alba in the Netherlands ruled
with the axe of the executioner, Cervantes, in Spain, wrote his Don
Quixote, and Lope de Vega, who himself held a post connected with the
inquisition, produced his admirable comedies. The dramatic literature
of Spain flourished with most brilliancy during the reigns of the
three Philips, from 1556 to 1665, and that is precisely the period
when the Spanish inquisition exercised its power with the greatest
rigour and the most sanguinary cruelty. Many melancholy traces of
fanaticism are certainly observable in the literature of Spain during
the reigns of the three Philips; but those traces are so insulated, and
the painful impression which they naturally produce on liberal minds
is so far compensated, by the noblest traits of humanity, that to him,
who, from reading the works of the Spanish poets, should turn to the
perusal of the political history of the Spaniards during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, and particularly to the history of their
transactions in the Netherlands and America, it might well appear that
he had become acquainted with two distinct nations.

Indeed, notwithstanding the generally prejudicial effects of the
restrictions imposed by the inquisition on intellectual freedom,
those restrictions could not fail, under the circumstances which have
been described, to prove in one respect favourable to the polite
literature of Spain. The poetic genius which, at the period of the
establishment of this tribunal, was energetically developing itself
throughout the Peninsula, was not now to be annihilated. Its strength
was even augmented by that growing national pride, which the union of
the Castilian and Arragonian monarchies fostered. During the period
marked by the reign of Charles I. better known by his Germanic imperial
title of Charles V. which was nearly half a century, namely, from the
year 1516 to the year 1555, the Austrian and Spanish monarchies were
also united, and Spain acquired rich possessions in a new quarter of
the world. The Spanish arms were not so victorious under the three
Philips as under Charles V. But, sacrificed as this gallant nation was
to fanaticism and the most despicable of governments, its spirit never
sunk under disaster, and its genius vented itself in the cultivation
of poetry, because it was excluded by religious despotism from every
graver study, except the scholastic philosophy of the convent. It
is also to be considered, that the influence of the ever debasing
despotism of the Spanish government could operate only gradually in
extinguishing the energies of national genius. The bold manifestation
of the spirit of freedom in Castile and Arragon on the accession
of Charles V. was attended with discouraging results, because the
nobility and the third estate did not unite in support of their common
interests. Had that union existed, Spain would probably have presented
the first model of a constitutional, and at the same time a vigorous
monarchy. That honour was withheld by fate: but the genius of the
Spanish people was not so easily suppressed as their political and
religious freedom. Kings might rule as they pleased; they might madly
shed the blood of their subjects, or waste the treasures drawn from
America; but the people, who had yielded to despotism only for the sake
of religion, continued in their hearts to be what they had always been,
till the influence of time consummated their subjugation. The Spanish
patriot, who fought in the cause of his king and country, was until
then, in his own estimation, still a free man. Kings received homage in
verse as well as in prose; but a court poetry, like that which existed
in France in the reign of Lewis XIV. was never known in Spain. The
kings of Spain, too, never bestowed any very liberal encouragement
on the poetic literature of their country. Charles V. honoured a few
Spanish and Italian poets with some degree of attention, according to
the fashion of the princes of that age; for in the sixteenth century a
poet was accounted an extremely useful man for business of every sort;
but that sovereign seems to have taken a more particular interest in
Italian than in Spanish literature. Philip II. from his joyless throne,
occasionally cast a glance of favour on a man of talent; but restless
ambition and blind bigotry occupied his gloomy mind, and deprived him
of all susceptibility for the beautiful. His son, Philip III. though of
a more amiable character, was too indolent to take a warm interest in
any thing whatever. Philip IV. however, did more for Spanish literature
than any of his predecessors since the time of John II. His taste for
pomp and splendour, to which he thoughtlessly gave himself up, while
decay and disorder preyed upon the vitals of the state, disposed
him to favour the Spanish theatre. Calderon, whom he pensioned, was
indebted to him for that leisure which enabled him to devote his life
to dramatic poetry. But Calderon only improved on the labours of
predecessors, who, without receiving the pay of kings, produced works
which did honour to the nation, and were approved and rewarded by the
public. Spanish literature owes nothing to kings, and has to thank only
the popular spirit for all its brightest flowers. The drama, therefore,
remained wholly national, even after the imitation of Italian forms
had long prevailed in the lyric and epic poetry of Spain. Writers
for the stage must of necessity obey the voice of a public possessing
sufficient energy of character to condemn every piece which does not
pay homage to the popular taste. The whole history of the Spanish
theatre exhibits this dominion of the public over authors; and the
particular taste of the dramatists being formed under the influence
of the general poetic genius of the nation, they very willingly, like
Lope de Vega, followed the stream, even though, like him, they well
knew what the true theory of their art required. The cultivation of
prose was more completely left to the individual taste of the authors;
but any instance of encouragement from the throne was as uncommon with
respect to it as to poetry. Antonio de Solis, who received a pension
from Philip IV. as historiographer, for writing the History of Spanish
America, was indebted for that honour in some measure to his reputation
as a poet, and his various acquirements, but by no means for any
particular esteem he had obtained on account of his talent for prose

During the whole of this period, however, intellectual talents were
never undervalued, either by the kings, or the nobles of Spain. In
that country, as well as in Italy, the higher orders considered it a
duty to seek distinction through learning, and poetry was the soul
both of Spanish and Italian literature. Most of the Spanish poets of
this period, if not of noble birth, belonged, at least, to families of
consideration. Heroes, statesmen, ecclesiastics, all composed verses,
and poetry was most intimately interwoven with all the relations of
social life. No where did chivalrous gallantry so long survive the
extinction of real chivalry as in Spain; and poetry was the exhaustless
language of that gallantry, whether it displayed itself in secret
love intrigues, or at public entertainments and festivals. Every
characteristic national amusement, as for instance, a bull fight,
proved an incitement to the writing of sonnets and romances. There
are found in various Spanish poems of this period many expressions
and allusions which have reference to popular amusements, but the
poetic sense of which is only intelligible to readers who bear in
their recollection the favourite diversions of the nation. The
romantic intrigues which were common in high life, formed models for
the intricate plots of the Spanish comedies; but no ordinary powers
of invention were necessary to enable the dramatic author to maintain
on the stage a competition with the scenes which actually occurred
in society. Throughout the whole country, singing and dancing were
essential ingredients in every amusement. Learned musical composition
had, at this time, little attraction for the Spaniards; but wherever
joy was, musicians were not wanting, and every dance had its song.

In the mean time the cultivation of the other fine arts, afforded
little aid to Spanish poetry, as the overwhelming interest attached to
it in its golden age directed the intellectual energies of the nation
almost exclusively to that one object. All other liberal pursuits were
consequently left far behind.

Spanish taste was, at this period, entirely left to form itself, being
abandoned to the influence of Italian literature, and the authority of
eminent national authors. The Italian system of academies found little
favour in Spain. Perhaps the jealousy of the inquisition foreboded evil
from meetings of men of letters. Be this as it may, Spanish literature
sustained little loss by the want of those institutions. The Royal
Academy for the Spanish language and literature was not established
until the eighteenth century.

The intimate union, which, during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, subsisted between the eloquence of prose and poetry in
Spain, renders a separate history of each unnecessary. A division
may, however, be advantageously made in the whole body of the Spanish
literature of this period, though the two sections cannot form two
distinct epochs. From the introduction of the Italian style into
Spanish poetry, until the decline of learning in the latter years of
the reign of Philip IV. no literary revolution was experienced in
Spain. The _corrupters of taste_, as certain writers who appeared
in the latter half of this period are called by some of the Spanish
critics, only continued a movement, the impulse of which had been given
long before by various authors, and particularly by the dramatic poets.
Several of these writers were contemporaries with authors who placed
a high value on classical correctness, and yet they exercised a much
greater influence over the general literature of Spain than the latter.
To confound Calderon, who perfected the Spanish comedy, according to
its true national character, with the corrupters of taste, is an idea
which could only have been entertained in the eighteenth century,
when it became customary in Spain, as every where else, to measure all
productions of genius by the rules of French criticism. But at the same
time, that Spanish poetry approximated as closely to the Italian, as
the necessary connection of the former with the national style would
permit, that national style, with all its faults and beauties, still
maintained the pre-eminence; and the passion for Italian correctness
again declined. This crisis in Spanish literature, occasioned by the
struggle between Italian refinement and the bold eccentricity of the
national manners, occurred in the age of Cervantes. At that time Lope
de Vega shone with more brilliancy in the eyes of his countrymen than
Cervantes, and the party of the former gained the victory and kept the
field. The taking of a distinct view of the progress of poetry and
eloquence in Spain, will therefore be facilitated, if the period of the
influence of Cervantes and Lope de Vega be made an historical resting
point. It is doubtless very remarkable, that Cervantes, who created an
epoch in the general literature of Europe, should not have produced
sufficient effect on the Literature of his own country, to justify the
choosing him as the founder of a new epoch in its literary history. An
opportunity will hereafter arise for reverting to this subject.[147]


    _History of Spanish Poetry and Eloquence, from the Introduction
    of the Italian Style to the Age of Cervantes and Lope de Vega._


After the complete consolidation of the monarchies of Castile and
Arragon by the accession of Charles of Austria, the grandson of
Isabella and Ferdinand, there appears to have been, for a short
time, a suspension of all literary activity in Spain. The political
convulsions which then agitated the interior of the two united
kingdoms, occupied the public mind too powerfully to allow any interest
to be felt in calmer and more agreeable objects. But as soon as the
civil contests were terminated by the success of the Austrian party,
and the enterprising Charles, incited by Francis I. employed the force
of his Spanish states to win new dominions in Italy, the poetic genius
of Spain revived in all its pristine vigour. In the meantime, the
ancient dialect of the Arragonian provinces began to be supplanted
by the Castilian, which became the language of the state and of
public business throughout Spain. Castile was then considered the
heart of the whole monarchy. Madrid rose to the rank of the capital
of Spain, and Saragossa sunk into the condition of a provincial town.
It was therefore no very extraordinary event, that a Catalonian,
whose maternal language still possessed a certain degree of poetic
consideration, should, in connection with a Castilian, produce a
revolution in Castilian poetry.


Juan Boscan Almogavèr, who, in concert with his friend Garcilaso de
la Vega, introduced the Italian style into Castilian poetry, was born
in Barcelona, towards the close of the fifteenth century. He belonged
to one of the Patrician families of that city, of equal rank with
the nobility of the country. Though possessing a liberal education,
and sufficient fortune to enable him to gratify his inclination for
literary studies, without regard to any secondary views, he embarked,
notwithstanding, on his first outset in life for a short period in
the profession of arms. He afterwards travelled, but the countries he
visited are not mentioned in the brief notices which remain of him.
If, however, it be supposed that he went at this time to Italy, and
rendered himself intimately acquainted with the literature of that
country, it appears that he was still far from entertaining the idea
of transplanting the forms and manner of Italian poetry into Spain;
for the Castilian verses, which he wrote in his youth, were all in
the ancient lyric style, which, since the time of Juan de Mena no one
had thought it necessary to try to improve. It was not until 1526,
when, after having flourished at the court of Charles V. he had made
a happy marriage, and was settled in his native city, that a Venetian
induced him to imitate the Italian poetry in the Castilian language.
The emperor resided for some time in Granada; and, among the foreign
ministers who repaired to his court, was Andrea Navagero, the envoy
from Venice, a man of great literary and historical knowledge, and,
like every well-educated Italian of that age, a writer of canzoni
and sonnets. Boscan, having formed an intimate friendship with this
minister, was taught by him to view the Italian poetry and also the
classical latin in quite a new light. The Spanish lyric poetry, which
with all its gothic excrescences was still pleasing to the nation,
if not so barbarous in his eyes as in those of his Italian friend,
appeared to him, when compared with a sonnet of Petrarch, at least,
in the point of good taste greatly inferior. He now readily perceived
the nature and felt the value of the precision and correctness of the
great works of antiquity. Animated by his new ideas, he fearlessly
ventured to follow the counsel of Navagero, in spite of the menacing
clamour of the friends of the old national forms. He took upon himself
the character of a reformer of the lyric poetry of his nation, and
commenced his labours by writing sonnets in the manner of Petrarch.

The metrical structure of the sonnet had long been known in Spain;[148]
but the genius of Castilian poetry was adverse to that form, and the
Spaniards had manifested very little predilection for any thing like
the elegant correctness of Petrarch. Boscan had therefore elevated
himself above the literature of his country, when he perceived that it
was necessary to infuse a new spirit into Castilian poetry before it
could be reconciled to the Italian forms. His friend Garcilaso de la
Vega participated in this opinion. But thousands of voices were raised
against the reformers. Some insisted that preference was to be given to
the old Castilian verse on the ground of euphony. Others went further,
and asserted that the ear could perceive no distinction between the
new verse and prose. Finally, a third party discovered that Italian
poetry was effeminate, and was fit only for Italians and women. Boscan
relates that this violent opposition made him reflect seriously on the
propriety of proceeding with his design; but as he was soon convinced
of the futility of the reasons urged against him, he persisted in
his undertaking. His party rapidly increased and soon obtained the
superiority, not indeed throughout the whole mass of the public, but in
that portion of society which was most enlightened and refined.[149]

The other circumstances of Boscan’s life, in so far as they are known,
have little interest for the literary historian. The mature part of
his age was chiefly spent in his native city Barcelona, or in the
neighbouring country. The urbanity of his manners and his talents
recommended him to the family of Alba, which was then one of the most
brilliant of the noble houses of Castile, and to which the homage of
the Spanish poets was from that time constantly paid. Boscan was for
some time Ayo, or first governor of the young Don Fernando de Alba,
who was afterwards the terror of the enemies of the Spanish monarchy.
He appears, however, to have soon resigned this employment, in order
to divide his time between study and the society of literary friends.
The year in which he died is not exactly known; it is only ascertained
that his death happened before the year 1544.[150] He prepared for the
press a collection of his poems, to which he added those of his friend
Garcilaso; but the work was not published until after his death.[151]

From the point at which Boscan found Castilian poetry, to that in
which it was necessary it should be placed before he could open for
himself a new path, the distance was considerable, and the transition
was to be accomplished by a single bound. That he succeeded in this
undertaking was owing not so much to his genius, as to a natural
susceptibility for the real beauties of Italian and ancient poetry,
accidentally excited at the favourable moment, and to a talent for
the imitation of classical models, without altogether discarding that
tone of feeling which was properly his own. To estimate, however, the
full value of Boscan’s talent, it is not only necessary to examine
the works by which he introduced a new style into Spanish poetry,
but to take a retrospective view of the productions of the Castilian
muse in the ancient manner. It is only by this comparison that a just
conception can be formed of the surprise with which the Spaniards
must have regarded the bold attempt of Boscan. He was the first among
his countrymen who had an idea of classical perfection in works of
imagination; and though the greater part of his poems fall below that
standard, they all afford evidence of his endeavours to reach it. An
aspiration so entirely unaffected and unembarrassed, had never been
manifested by any previous Spanish poet. Between the kind of poetry
which he introduced into his native land and that which he abandoned,
there was no visible passage. But lest the merits of Boscan should be
too highly rated, it is proper to observe, that at this time a reform
of the Spanish poetry, precisely such as that to which his efforts gave
birth, was, notwithstanding the clamour of his opponents, desired by
the more cultivated part of the Spanish public, though, perhaps, there
no where existed any distinct perception of the wished-for object. Had
it been otherwise, Boscan must have stood alone, and the numerous poets
of his nation, who have equalled or surpassed him in the new style,
never would have followed his example.

The early productions of Boscan, which form the first book of his
works, are scarcely distinguishable by any trace of superior delicacy
or correctness from the poems of the same descriptions contained in the
_Cancionero general_. The very title of the longest of these youthful
essays, namely, _Mar de Amor_ (the Sea of Love) excites an anticipation
of the fantastic flights of the old Spanish muse; and it is impossible
to read the first strophe without being convinced that the author still
adhered to the original character of Castilian song.[152] It was,
however, only at the request of his friend Garcilaso de la Vega, who
said that he received from these poems the same sort of pleasure as
from pretty children, that Boscan renounced his intention of entirely
suppressing them.

The second book of Boscan’s poems, contains _sonetos_ and _canciones_,
in the style of the Italian _sonetti_ and _canzoni_. They all betray,
in a greater or less degree, the disciple of the school of Petrarch;
but the spirit of Spanish poetry still displays itself throughout the
whole. The language, though it successfully imitates the precision
of Petrarch, seldom attains the sweetly flowing melody of its model.
In painting the feelings, the shadows are charged with stronger
colours than the Italian Petrarchists of the sixteenth century
permitted themselves to employ. Impetuous passion, which, with higher
pretensions, was, on account of its very violence, less capable of
commanding sympathy than a mild enthusiasm, strikingly distinguished
Boscan’s poetry from that which was the object of his imitation. The
contrast was farther increased by the constantly recurring picture
of a struggle between passion and reason. But these were precisely
the traits which disclosed the true Spanish character. It was not
individual feeling that prevented Boscan from equalling the delicacy
and softness of the Italian sonetto and canzone, for as his biography,
and still more his other poems, shew he was a man of a very mild
disposition. But it was necessary that the language of love, to appear
natural and true to a Spaniard, should burn and rage. At the same
time, to satisfy Spanish taste, reason was to be introduced to deliver
her precepts amidst the storm of passion, to prove its force by her
feebleness, and to give to lyric composition a moral gravity which was
not desired by the Italians. In so far however as the Spanish character
permitted the experiment to go, the fascinating tone of Petrarch was
very happily seized by Boscan;[153] and in the expression of tender
passion he has even sometimes surpassed the Italian poet.[154]

The greater part of the third book of these poems is occupied by a
paraphrastic translation of the Greek poem of Hero and Leander. Nothing
of the kind had been previously known in the Spanish language. The
metrical form which Boscan chose for his translation, was that of
rhymeless iambics, or an imitation of the blank verse of the Italians.
The language is so pure and elegant, the versification so natural, and
the tone of the narrative so soft, and at the same time so elevated,
that it is impossible not to be pleased even with the prolixity which
the influence of the taste for romantic poetry has introduced into
this free translation. To this translation succeeds a poem in the
Italian style, entitled a _Capitulo_, and some epistles in tercets. The
_Capitulo_, as it is called, is a love elegy, abounding in pleasing
ideas and images, but on the whole too much spun out, like most Italian
poems of the same kind. It has also its full share of genuine Spanish
hyperbole and amorous despair.[155] The best of his epistles is, “The
Answer to Diego Mendoza,” who was himself the first epistolary poet
among the Spaniards, and whom it will soon be necessary to notice more
at length. After the new poetical career was opened, these authors vied
in imitating the epistles of Horace; but it is plain that the elegiac
tenderness of Tibullus was constantly present to the mind of Boscan.
In his Answer to Mendoza, the descriptions of domestic and rural life
charm by their exquisite delicacy, and possess a still more powerful
interest than the moral reflections, though these are unaffected and
noble, and conceived in the true spirit of didactic poetry.[156]

Boscan’s works conclude with a narrative poem in the Italian style,
which has no other title than that which denotes the structure of the
verse, namely, _octava rima_. Some ideas and images are borrowed from
the Italian poets; but the whole invention and the execution of the
greater part of the details belong to Boscan. The merit of the fable,
however, is not great. A mythological allegory, describing the empire
of love, forms the introduction to a poetical relation of a festal
meeting of Venus, Cupid, and the other inhabitants of that imaginary
region. Little Cupids are dispatched all over the world by Venus to
defend her against the reproaches of unreasonable men, and to make
known the real blessings of love. One of those winged envoys directs
his course towards Barcelona, the natal city of the poet, gives a
particular account of his mission to the fair ladies of that town, and
takes the opportunity of saying many gallant things to them. As to the
construction of the fable of this poem, Boscan certainly gave himself
very little trouble. His object appears merely to have been to compose
a romantic picture of greater extent than a sonnet or a cancion, and to
make his countrymen sensible of the charm of descriptive poetry in the
Italian manner. It is impossible not to admire the grace and facility
with which Boscan has accomplished this purpose. The descriptions are
so animated,[157] and all the details so elegant and engaging, that
the tediousness of some of the parts is amply compensated by the happy
execution of the whole. Light plays of fancy embellish the lyric and
romantic passages; and, upon the whole, this is a work which no other
of the same kind by later Spanish poets has excelled.[158]

If a comprehensive view be taken of the merits of Boscan, it will be
impossible, notwithstanding the striking faults which appear in his
works, and particularly in his sonnets, to withhold from him the title
of the first classical poet of Spain. Some of his expressions are
now antiquated, but upon the whole his language has continued a model
for succeeding ages. Simplicity and dignity had never, in the same
degree, and under a form so correct, been united with poetic truth
and feeling by any previous Spanish author. The partizans of the old
national poetry reproached him with being an imitator; but without
the kind of imitation by which he naturalized in his language a taste
for the literature of Italy and the ancient classics, it would have
been impossible for Spanish poetry to have gained that field in which
it afterwards competed with the Italian. That he did not obtrude upon
his countrymen a kind of poetry irreconcilable with the genius of the
language and the national character, is evident from the rapidity
with which the new taste spread over the whole of Spain, and extended
into Portugal, and from its duration in both kingdoms. The poetic
innovators, at whose head Boscan stood, were certainly blameable, in so
far as they wished to banish entirely the ancient Spanish style, which
was also, in its own manner, susceptible of classical improvement. But
it is doubtful whether the partizans of that style would have thought
of perfecting it after classical models, had not the disciples of the
Italian school unexpectedly shewn the high cultivation of which Spanish
poetry was capable under new forms. This Boscan first made manifest,
not by critical reasoning, but by example; and his modesty contributed
not a little to attract to his party the more liberal minded of his
countrymen. Had he commenced his reform by trying to beat down the old
style with theoretical argument, or egotistical declamation, he would
only have rendered himself an object of ridicule; for the public he had
to deal with was not indisposed to improvement, but would not submit to
have lessons read to it magisterially.

After Boscan, his friends, who participated in the fame of that reform
to which he shewed the way, are justly entitled to the next place in
the history of Spanish poetry.


The first Spanish poet who followed the example of Boscan was Garcilaso
de la Vega, a young Castilian, descended from a family of consideration
in Toledo, and born, according to the statements of different authors,
either in 1500 or 1503. His poetic talent was early developed, and he
had written several lyric pieces in the old Spanish style, when his
acquaintance with Boscan, which soon grew into friendship, commenced.
The character of the poetry of the ancients and of Italy was then
seen by him in a new light. He proceeded with ardour to the study
of classical models, and of Petrarch and Virgil in particular. The
improvement of pastoral poetry in his native tongue, appears to have
been his first object. But it was his lot to follow the restless
profession of arms; and the wars of Charles V. carried him abroad, and
dragged him from country to country. In the year 1529, he distinguished
himself in the Spanish corps, which was attached to the imperial army
opposed to the Turks. While in Vienna he was involved in a romantic
intrigue, between a near relation of his own and a lady of the court.
The imperial dignity, it appears, was conceived to be compromised
by this intrigue, and Garcilaso was punished for his interference by
imprisonment in an Island of the Danube. There he composed one of
his canciones, in which he bewails his destiny, but at the same time
celebrates the Danube and the countries through which it flows.[159]
His imprisonment probably was not of long duration. In the year 1535,
he served in the adventurous expedition of Charles V. against Tunis,
in which he acquired both glory and wounds. In Naples and Sicily,
he devoted, as far as circumstances would permit, his moments of
relaxation to poetry. He execrated war, and exerted all the powers
of his imagination in painting an Arcadian pastoral life, but still
remained a soldier.[160] It may be presumed, however, that his military
talents were not inconsiderable, for when the imperial army in the year
1536, penetrated into the South of France, Garcilaso de la Vega, who
could then be only thirty-three, or at most thirty-six years of age,
commanded eleven companies of infantry. That campaign, which did not
terminate so fortunately as it commenced, was the last to Garcilaso,
and tore him from the world in the bloom of life. The emperor in person
ordered him to take by assault, a fort, the garrison of which harrassed
the army in its retreat. Garcilaso executed this command with more
gallantry than prudence. He wished to be the first to scale the walls.
He attained his object, but was struck with a stone on the head, and
thrown down from the ramparts. Being mortally wounded, he was removed
to Nice, where, a few weeks after, he died.

It would be difficult to discover from the works of Garcilaso, that the
author had spent a considerable portion of his short life in camps,
and had died in the bed of military honour, the victim of his courage;
for he approaches even more closely than Boscan to the tenderness of
Petrarch. The general tone of his poetry is so soft and melancholy,
that it is only by occasional characteristic traits, that the Spaniard
is recognized; but it must be confessed that when such passages do
occur, the exaggeration is striking enough.[161] In his sonnets,
which are not numerous, the imitation of Petrarch is obvious; but he
sometimes betrays that affectation of wit, which was still in Spain
regarded as an ingenious manner of expressing vehement and profound
passion.[162] One however exhibits throughout a delicacy of style and
sweetness of manner, equalled by few pieces of the same kind, in the
Spanish language.[163] He was not equally successful in seizing the
character of the Italian canzone, of which he, as well as Boscan, was
an imitator; and his reputation rests chiefly on his pastoral poems,
which therefore deserve to be more particularly noticed.

Since the rude dramatic eclogues of Juan de la Enzina pastoral poetry
had made no progress in Spain. But Garcilaso de la Vega imitated Virgil
and Sanazzar, and so happily united the romantic character with the
correctness of the ancients, that his eclogues, though only one of
them can be regarded as a masterpiece, surpass all Italian poems of
the kind, those in the Arcadia of Sanazzar alone excepted. The fine
Neapolitan sky appears to have had the same influence on Garcilaso
as on Virgil and Sanazzar; and he seems to have regarded Naples as
his poetical country. The first of his eclogues is by far the most
beautiful, and marks an epoch in Spanish pastoral poetry. The whole
composition has the metrical form of an Italian canzone. The invention
is very simple. In the four introductory strophes, in which is
interwoven a dedication to the Viceroy of Naples, Don Pedro de Toledo,
Marquis of Villafranca, the author describes, with all the simplicity
which belongs to true pastoral poetry, the meeting of two shepherds,
Salicio and Nemoroso, who alternately give vent to their feelings in
melancholy strains. These elegiac songs reply to each other without
interruption, and the relation subsisting between them gives to the
whole lyric composition a proper consistence and unity. This is all the
plan of the eclogue. But the glow of enthusiastic feeling, the happy
choice of expression, and the harmony of versification so completely
satisfactory to the ear, to be found in almost every line of these
songs of sorrow, cannot fail to give delight to every mind susceptible
of elegiac and beauty. Accordingly the Spanish critics are nearly
unanimous in pronouncing this eclogue one of the finest works in their
language. The subject of the first song is the infidelity--of the
second, the death of a mistress; and the latter complaint appears to be
founded in fact. But Garcilaso would have better secured the sympathy
of the more scrupulous Spanish reader, had he entirely passed over the
cause of the lamented fair one’s decease. The lady whom he describes as
a pastoral nymph, lost her life it seems in childbed; for an apostrophe
of the complaining shepherd to Lucina, indicates plainly enough the
nature of her death. But is the affected delicacy which takes offence
at a trait so truly natural and pathetic, worthy of the attention of an
author? In the first strain in which the shepherd Salicio deplores the
infidelity of his mistress, the interest appears to be raised as far
as it is possible to carry it.[164] Passion is here elevated to the
highest pitch, and then lost in a most affecting self sacrifice.[165]
But the song in which Nemoroso laments the death of his mistress, even
surpasses the former in elegiac force, perhaps because it possesses
greater softness. In retracing his recollections the mourner draws a
series of melancholy pictures which have an indescribable charm. The
beauty of the poem rises with the description of the beauty of the
departed shepherdess.[166] The passage in which Nemoroso relates how
he carries in his bosom a lock of his Eliza’s hair, from which he is
never separated--how when alone he spreads it out, weeps over it, dries
it with his sighs, and then examines and counts every single hair--is
unexampled either in ancient or modern literature.[167] Occasional
imitations of Virgil have been pointed out, but they harmonize so
completely with the romantic spirit of the poem, that were it not
for the particular references which critics have made, they would
in general escape the notice of even the most erudite. The poem, as
a whole, is evidently the genuine offspring of the author’s soul.
Materials of an affecting but prosaic nature are, by his art, converted
into the most graceful and impressive poetry.

As Garcilaso only imitated the ancients by the introduction of certain
ideas and images, and not in the structure of his eclogues, he
considered himself at liberty to vary their form at pleasure. But here
his good taste abandoned him. The second and longest of his eclogues is
an unnatural mixture of heterogeneous styles. An unfortunate shepherd
deplores his unsuccessful love. Another shepherd joins him, and their
conversation proceeds unconstrained in a romantic pastoral tone; but
it is impossible to discover any reason for the changes which take
place in the verse. Tercets are succeeded by rhymeless iambics, after
which the tercets re-appear and are followed by the syllabic measure
of a canzone. The simple dialogue suddenly becomes dramatic. The fair
huntress, whose indifference is the subject of the first shepherd’s
lament, appears upon the scene. The lover seizes and refuses to let
her go, until she swears to listen to his addresses. She makes the
required vow, and when at liberty flies. The despair of the shepherd
then becomes frenzy; and a third shepherd, who has in the mean time
arrived, enters into conversation with the one who first joined the
unhappy lover, on the means of restoring him to reason. The author
seizes this opportunity to convert his eclogue into a most unseasonable
eulogium on the house of Alba. One of the shepherds proposes that
medical assistance should be obtained, and mentions a physician named
Severo; but this name is assigned to a learned friend of Garcilaso and
the Alba family. Nothing more is necessary, according to the critical
conception of the author, to warrant the making a poetical digression
from his account of the merits of the physician, whose miraculous skill
is to recover the frantic shepherd, to the history of the house of
Alba, which he details in iambic blank verse.

In the third and last of Garcilaso’s eclogues, the genuine pastoral
character is resumed. The lyric dialogue in octaves, or Italian
stanzas, pleasingly harmonizes with the soft description of amatory
sorrows given in this poem.

Garcilaso made essays in other kinds of poetry, but with less success.
An elegy written to console the Duke of Alba for the death of his
brother, is an imitation, or rather a translation of an Italian poem by
Frascatoro, and is at once cold and verbose. More of interest belongs
to another elegy which is addressed to Boscan, and which the author
wrote at the foot of Mount Etna. Mythological recollections excited
by that classic ground, melancholy complaints of the miseries of war,
and tender anxieties for a loved object in the poet’s native land,
diffuse a charm over the whole of this elegant poem, which is besides
remarkable for comparisons and images full of novelty and truth.[168]

Garcilaso is also the author of a small epistle in which he has
endeavoured to seize the true horatian tone. It is not sufficiently
important to deserve particular notice, but it is easy to recognize in
it the fine tact of this author, to whom the critic, however severely
he may judge his faults, cannot deny the title of the second classic
poet of Spain.


The third classic poet, and at the same time the first classic prose
writer of Spain, is Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza,[169] a native of
Granada, where he was born in the beginning of the sixteenth century,
but in what year is not known. Descended from one of the first familes
of the country, he had before him the prospect of high honours, which,
as he was one of five children, his parents destined him to reach
through the church. Being educated for the clerical profession, he
received what was then considered a learned education. Besides the
classical languages of antiquity, he acquired the Hebrew and Arabic.
At the university of Salamanca, he studied scholastic philosophy,
theology, and ecclesiastical law. While yet a student he was the
inventor of the comic romance or novel, for it was at Salamanca that
he wrote his celebrated work, the Life of Lazarillo de Tormes. Having
become as conspicuous for a vigorous and sound understanding as for his
wit and learning, the Emperor Charles V. who perceived that his talents
might be employed with advantage in public business, drew him from his
studies. He had not long left the university when he was appointed
imperial envoy to Venice. He availed himself of the opportunities
which this situation afforded to cultivate an intercourse with learned
Italians, and to obtain an intimate knowledge of the spirit of
Italian literature. Before his departure for Italy, he appears to have
formed an acquaintance with Boscan; but he was patriot enough not to
despise the old Spanish poetry. Though he loved the Italian poets, he
preferred the ancients, and in particular Horace, who, like himself
a man of the world, might occasionally assist him in his journey
through the slippery path of political life; and certainly few poets
could have divided themselves between literature and politics with as
much dexterity as Mendoza. He was, however, far from being a cringing
courtier. His low opinion of diplomatic dignity is stated frankly,
and even somewhat coarsely, in one of his epistles, in which he
exclaims:--“O these ambassadors, the perfect ninnies! when kings wish
to cheat they begin with us. Our best business is to take care that we
do no harm, and indeed never to do or say any thing that we may not
run the risk of making ourselves understood.”[170] The ambassador of a
prince of such deep dissimulation as Charles V. might naturally enough
form an unfavourable opinion of his office; but he who could speak his
mind in this manner, even when at his post, must have retained some of
the spirit of old Spanish freedom.

The emperor made no mistake in the choice of his ambassador, of whose
turn of thinking he doubtless was not ignorant, but on the exercise
of whose talents he knew he could rely. He considered him the fittest
person that could be selected to go to the council of Trent, and
recommend, by an elegant manner, the truths he wished to be told to the
assembled fathers in the name of the Spanish nation. This commission
Mendoza executed to the satisfaction of the emperor. The speech which
he delivered before the council in 1545 was highly admired, and
Charles was convinced that it was impossible to confide the affairs
of Italy to better hands. In the year 1547, Mendoza appeared at the
papal court, then the centre of all political intrigues, as imperial
ambassador, and invested with powers which rendered him the terror
of the French party in Italy. The emperor at the same time appointed
him captain-general and governor of Sienna, and other strong places
in Tuscany. He was ordered to humble the pope, Paul III. even in his
own court; and to repress, by force, the movements of the restless
Florentines, who still hoped, under the protection of France, to shake
off the yoke of the Medicis. A man of less firmness of character would
have been totally unfit for such a task; but the terrible energy with
which Mendoza performed it, exasperated in the highest degree the
opposite party, and more particularly the Florentines. The repeated
insurrections in Tuscany could not be suppressed without measures of
great severity, and Mendoza was consequently detested as a tyrant by
all Italians who were not reconciled to the introduction of Spanish
garrisons. In Sienna he was constantly exposed to assassination; and on
one occasion, a musket ball directed against him killed the horse on
which he rode. His intrepidity, however, was not to be shaken, and he
continued to administer his difficult government until Paul III. died,
and was succeeded by Julius III. a pope inclined to the Spanish party.
The new pope wishing to bestow on Mendoza a particular mark of respect,
appointed him Gonfalonier, or Standard-bearer to the church. In this
character, Mendoza marched against the rebels in the ecclesiastical
territories, and made them submit to the pope.

Thus did a Spanish poet, alike feared and admired, govern Italy for
the space of six years. During this stormy period of his life, Mendoza
composed verses, visited the Italian universities, purchased Greek
manuscripts, and collected a large library. Since the days of Petrarch
no friend of literature had shewn so much zeal for the acquisition
of Greek manuscripts. He spared no pains nor expense to procure them
even from Greece, and sent special messengers for that purpose to
the convent of Mount Athos. He availed himself of a service he had
rendered to the Ottoman sultan, to obtain supplies of corn for the
empty granaries of Venice, and of manuscripts for his own library. Many
a Greek work came first to the press from his valuable collection.
Whoever wished to promote the study of ancient literature, found in
him a friend and protector; and to him the learned bookseller, Paulus
Manutius, dedicated his edition of the philosophic writings of Cicero,
to the study of which Mendoza was particularly attached, and for the
correct publication of which he even made critical observations on the

Literature and politics, it appears, did not afford sufficient
occupation for this extraordinary man. He chose also to engage in
affairs of gallantry; and, according to the manners of the age, gave to
such pursuits, at least in verse, the character of romantic passion.
His looks, however, were not calculated to recommend him to the fair
sex; for his biographers state that he was far from handsome, and that
the glance of his fiery eye was more repulsive than inviting. But
Mendoza was active, accomplished, and in the possession of power; and
the favour which these advantages obtained for him with some Roman
ladies, was numbered among the offences with which his enemies loudly
reproached him. The repeated charges brought against him made at last
an impression on the emperor; and that monarch, who had begun to
contemplate the resignation of his crown, and who was now desirous of
establishing tranquillity in his states, thought fit, in the year 1554,
to recall this too rigid governor to Spain.

The latter part of the history of Mendoza’s life is not uniformly
related by his biographers. According to some he retired to the
country, devoted himself to poetry and philosophy, and appeared very
seldom at the court of Philip II. Others assert that, though he no
longer retained his former influence, he continued a member of the
council of state under Philip II. and was present with that monarch at
the great battle of St. Quintin, fought in the year 1557. This much is
certain, that he was soon after engaged in an adventure at the court,
which, for a man of his age and knowledge of the world, was of a very
singular nature. An altercation arose in the palace between him and a
courtier, who, according to Mendoza’s own declaration, was his rival in
the affections of a lady. This man, whose name is not mentioned, in a
fit of violent exasperation, drew a dagger; upon which Mendoza seized
him, and threw him from a balcony into the street. What afterwards
became of his antagonist is not recorded; but the transaction was the
subject of serious observation, and the grave Philip regarded it as
a high offence against the dignity of his person and his court. He
was, however, content to inflict a moderate punishment, and merely
condemned Mendoza to a short imprisonment. The old statesman occupied
the period of his imprisonment in the ancient Spanish style, namely,
in composing lamentations on the unkindness of his mistress:[171] and
these romantic effusions do not appear to have been considered by his
contemporaries as absurd and ridiculous at his time of life. But the
sorrows expressed in his amatory ditties did not drive the venerable
lover to despair; for when he was soon after set at liberty, though
still exiled from court, he observed with the eye of a politician the
insurrection of the Moriscoes, or converted Arabs of Granada; and when
the insurrection broke out into a formal war, he noted down all the
remarkable events, and afterwards detailed them in an historical work,
which has obtained for him the name of the Spanish Sallust. He profited
of this opportunity to collect a great number of Arabic manuscripts.
Observations on the works of Aristotle, a translation of the Mechanics
of that philosopher, and some political treatises, were, it appears,
the last of his literary labours. He was thus actively and usefully
employed until his death, which happened when he was upwards of
seventy, at Valladolid, in the year 1575. He bequeathed his collection
of books and manuscripts to the king, and it still forms one of the
most valuable portions of the library of the Escurial.[172]

A detailed account of the life of this distinguished man, cannot
be regarded as a biographical excrescence in a history of Spanish
Literature; for in no other poet’s life and works is the real Castilian
spirit of the age of Charles V. so clearly displayed as in those of
Diego de Mendoza. The universality of his literary talent will be best
understood, when it is known with what energy, precision, and facility
he accommodated himself to, and controuled the circumstances in which
he happened to be placed in all the practical relations of life.
That trait too in the portrait of his mind, which is most worthy of
observation, namely, the constancy with which, instead of abandoning
one species of mental activity for another, he continued throughout the
different periods of his life, from youth to extreme old age, always to
unite in his person the poet, the man of letters, and the statesman,
gives reason to expect that his works, however differing in kind, will
be found to possess a certain common character.

Diego de Mendoza did more for the poetic literature of his country
than his countrymen seem to have acknowledged. Spanish writers, it
is true, place him next in rank to Boscan and Garcilaso de la Vega,
among the poets who introduced the Italian style into Castilian
poetry. But they cannot pardon the harshness of his versification in
those poems in which he adopted the metrical forms of Italy. Rendered
fastidious by the rhythmical harmony which a Castilian ear can never
dispense with, the Spaniards have held in very trifling estimation the
epistles of Mendoza; though those compositions, in a striking manner,
extended the boundaries of Castilian poetry. As an epistolary poet,
he might justly be styled the Spanish Horace, if his tercets flowed
as smoothly as the hexameters of the latin poet. Making allowance,
however, for the want of that pure harmony and that didactic delicacy
in which Horace is inimitable, Mendoza’s epistles may rank among the
best productions of the kind in modern literature. With the exception
of Boscan and Garcilaso de la Vega, no Spanish poet had evinced any
traces of that horatian spirit with which this author was endowed. In
the collection of Mendoza’s poems, these epistles are merely called
_cartas_ (letters.) Some of them are of a romantic cast, and overloaded
with tedious love complaints. But the rest, like Horace’s epistles,
are didactic, full of agreeable but sound philosophy, precise and yet
unconstrained in expression, and rescued from the monotonous effect
of moral instruction, by a happy interchange of precepts, images, and
characters. A masculine understanding, which clearly penetrates all
social relations, and a noble spirit, which estimates the blessings
of life according to their real value, diffuse over these epistles a
charm at once serene and attractive. Some of the most beautiful, for
example, that addressed to Boscan, which is best known, and which on
account of the answer is printed among Boscan’s poems, were composed
in Italy during the more early part of the author’s life. But in
estimating the poetical works of Mendoza, chronological arrangement
is of little importance, for as a poet he preserved equality from the
commencement to the close of his career. His epistle to Boscan is
in part an imitation of that of Horace to Numicius.[173] The latter
half, however, belongs exclusively to Mendoza. In this portion of the
epistle he presents to his friend the outline of the charming picture
of domestic happiness, to which Boscan himself, in the answer already
mentioned, has given a higher finish; and the taste which can overlook
the beauty of this picture on account of want of smoothness in the
versification, must be depraved by the affectation of refinement.[174]
Another epistle, addressed to Don Luis de Zuñiga, contains an
ingenious and striking comparison of the character of two heterogeneous
and equally foolish classes of men. The one wholly attached to the
vulgar pleasures of the moment, and stupidly indifferent to the affairs
of the world;[175] while the other, on the contrary, is cheated by
restless cares and anxieties out of the enjoyment of the present.[176]
In these epistles, Mendoza unfolded the result of his experience, as
the Infante Juan Manuel did a century and a half earlier, in his Count
Lucanor, though in a totally different manner. Mendoza’s style is that
of an accomplished man of the world, formed in the school of the latin

Mendoza’s sonnets possess neither the grace nor the harmony essential
to that species of composition. They owe their existence to the amatory
spirit of the age rather than to the poetic inspiration of the author.
Though he composed in the Italian manner with less facility than
Boscan and Garcilaso, he felt more correctly than they or any other
of his countrymen, the difference between the Spanish and Italian
languages, with respect to their capabilities for versification. The
Spanish admits of none of those pleasing elisions, which, particularly
when terminating vowels are omitted, render the mechanism of Italian
versification so easy, and enable the poet to augment or diminish the
number of syllables according to his pleasure; and this difference
in the two languages renders the composition of a Spanish sonnet a
difficult task. Still more does the Spanish language seem hostile
to the soft termination of a succession of feminine rhymes, for the
Spanish poet, who adopts this rule of the Italian sonnet, is compelled
to banish from his rhymes, all infinitives of verbs, together with
a whole host of sonorous substantives and adjectives.[177] Mendoza,
therefore, availed himself of the use of masculine rhymes in his
sonnets; but this metrical license was strongly censured by all
partizans of the Italian style. Nevertheless had he given to his
sonnets more of the tenderness of Petrarch, it is probable that they
would have found imitators. Some of them, indeed, may be considered as
successful productions, and throughout all the language is correct and

Mendoza’s canciones have nearly the same character as his sonnets,
except that they more obviously mark the influence of the horatian
ode on the lyric fancy of the author. The versification, which is
sonorous, though deficient in harmony, is occasionally united with a
degree of obscurity from which the other productions of Mendoza are
totally exempt.[179] The least successful of his poems in the Italian
style is a mythological tale in octave verse, founded on the history of
Adonis, but along with which the author has interwoven the history of
Atalanta. The story is, however, related in a very pleasing manner.

The Spaniards give the preference, not to this first class of the
poetic works of Mendoza, but to the second, which consists of lyric
poems in the old national style, the origin of which it is, however,
easy to perceive must be referred to a more highly cultivated age.
The similarity between these poems and others of the same sort in the
_Romancero general_, clearly proves that many of the poets of the age
of Charles V. had tacitly agreed to improve the old national poetry,
without, like the impetuous Castillejo, (of whom further mention will
soon be made) waging open war against the reformers of the school of
Boscan. Many of Mendoza’s lyric pieces are inserted in the _Romancero
general_ without the author’s name. In these compositions the syllabic
measure seems to have been the chief object of improvement. But this
improvement, however successful, was at the same time necessarily
limited; and the beautiful forms of the Italian canzone possessed
too striking a superiority over the most cultivated forms of rhyme
in the old redondillas, to yield to the latter in any collision. All
Mendoza’s lyric compositions are in stanzas of four lines; and the
pieces of this description now obtained, by way of distinction, the
name of redondillas, which seems originally to have been applied to all
trochaic verses in lines of four feet.[180] But songs in stanzas of
five lines, though in other respects similar to those just mentioned,
are called in Mendoza’s collection _quintas_ or _quintillas_. The
trochaic stanza in four lines of three feet,[181] of which the
_Romancero general_ also contains several specimens, was found to be
most suitable to _endechas_, or funeral songs, in the old national
style, and to compositions of that class Mendoza applied it. He wrote
many romantic epistles in the redondilla stanza of four lines; and
did not neglect the other old lyric forms, such as the _Villancicos_,
&c. The improvement of style, which is an essential feature of all
these poems, was limited by Mendoza to accuracy of expression, and to
softening the quaintness of the old subtilties: to these, however,
he himself sometimes resorted; and he seems to have been of opinion,
that the character of this kind of poetry rendered their occasional
introduction indispensable. In compositions of a tender and melancholy
character,[182] he is less successful than in those of a comic

Considering Mendoza’s wit and knowledge of mankind, it may naturally
be presumed that his satyrical poems, which however exist only in
manuscript, mark a great advancement in this species of poetry in
Spain. These poems are mentioned by all Mendoza’s biographers; one
is called _La Pulga_ (the Flea,) another _La Caña_ (the Reed), and
a third bears the comical title of _Elogio de la Zanahoria_ (Eulogy
on the Parsnip.) None, however, have yet passed the ordeal of the
inquisition. Their titles seem to indicate a kind of coarse humour in
the style of the burlesque satyres of the Italians.

Some of Mendoza’s prose compositions have, however, obtained greater
celebrity than his poems; and they unquestionably form an epoch in the
history of Spanish prose. The comic romance of _Lazarillo de Tormes_,
which Mendoza wrote while he was a student at Salamanca, is either the
very first production of its kind, or at least the first that obtained
any thing like literary consideration. Soon after its publication it
was translated into Italian, and subsequently into French, and by
the means of this French translation it has been read throughout all
Europe. Relations of interesting tricks of roguery, probably formed at
a more early period a favourite amusement with the Spaniards; for that
adroit feats of cunning and deception have had for them a charm of a
peculiar kind, the whole history of their comic literature sufficiently
proves. Mendoza, therefore, gave to his humorous fancy a direction
conformable to the spirit of his country, when he chose, as the subject
of his work, the Adventures of a Beggar Lad, who makes a kind of
fortune by dint of cheating and roguery; and the comic interest of the
production was enhanced by its contrast with the pompous romances of
chivalry. In the perusal of such a tale, the Spanish reader willingly
descended from the romantic ideal world to the sphere of common life.
The skill with which Mendoza has sketched the vices of avarice and
selfishness in the persons into whose service Lazarillo enters, is
no less remarkable than the bold regard for truth which led him to
include priests in the number of his odious characters. The inquisition
of course could not expect that the Spaniards should regard the
ecclesiastic profession as a security against every vice; and Lazarillo
de Tormes sufficiently proves that in Mendoza’s time the priesthood
was not guaranteed against public satire in Spain. Under the reign of
Philip II. however, satires of this kind became subject to a certain
degree of restraint; and since that period Mendoza’s romance has only
been suffered to escape because its free circulation was once permitted
by the inquisition. No critic has hitherto called in question the truth
and accuracy of the pictures of vulgar life in Lazarillo de Tormes;
but an author named de Luna, who styles himself an interpreter of the
Castilian language, published a new edition of the romance with the
view of correcting the diction. De Luna likewise added a second part
to the story, for Mendoza in his maturer years never felt inclined to
finish the comic work which he had commenced in his youth.[184]

A very different spirit animates the historical work in which Mendoza
traces the history of the rebellion of Granada.[185] Mendoza formed
his style, as a historian, principally on that of Sallust, and only
occasionally imitated Tacitus for the sake of variety. Were it not that
he sometimes oversteps the bounds of true elegance and falls into an
overstudied and artificial manner, this work might be ranked, without
reserve, among the best historical models; and notwithstanding the
affectation with which it is here and there disfigured,[186] it is,
unquestionably, after the works of Machiavell and Guicciardini, the
first production of modern literature that deserves to be compared with
the classic histories of antiquity.

However carefully Mendoza polished the rhetorical form of his history,
still the importance of the materials and a true philosophic spirit
are every where prominent throughout his representation of facts.
Being himself a native of Granada, his power of rightly viewing the
events, and the impression he received from them, must have been much
the same as if he had been an eye witness of all that passed. Besides,
he derived his information from the most authentic sources; for at the
period in question he was residing on his estate in the vicinity of the
theatre of the war. His nephew, the Marquis de Mondejar, was for some
time commander in chief of the army against the rebels; and Mendoza
himself had long been so intimately connected with the government
at Madrid, that no individual in Spain had better opportunities of
obtaining that knowledge of the secret as well as of the ostensible
springs of transactions which is necessary for a just historical
representation of events. The atrocious measures adopted by Phillip
II. to suppress the insurrection in Granada, were, however, no less
opposed to the sound political views of Mendoza, than the fanatic
cruelty and glaring injustice by which the unhappy Moriscos had been
driven into rebellion appear, however good a catholic he may have
been, to have revolted his feelings. But neither his opinion nor his
compassion could be openly avowed. He therefore availed himself of all
the subtle windings of the historical art, to render his representation
of events easily intelligible to those who thought as he did, and at
the same time to secure himself against any literal interpretation
which spiritual or temporal despotism might have employed to his
disadvantage. Wherever undeniable facts, which the government according
to its own maxims could not venture to conceal, clearly expose the
folly and inhumanity by which the Moors were reduced to despair,
Mendoza apparently refrains from pronouncing any judgment, while
the poignant manner in which he relates the facts, is in itself a
sufficient condemnation.[187]

When the fault rests rather with the agents of the government than
with the government itself, he seems to attack only the former.
In order that the just cause of the Moriscos might be, for once,
powerfully vindicated, he puts, after the manner of the ancients, a
speech into the mouth of one of the chiefs of the conspirators.[188]
This is the only speech in the work which seems sufficient to shew
that at least it was not inserted from a spirit of servile imitation;
but he occasionally ventures, contrary to the practice of modern
languages, to approximate his narrative style to that of the writers of
antiquity; as for example, where he employs a succession of verbs in
the infinitive mood.[189] The Spaniards, however, seem to have regarded
the grammatical freedom used by Mendoza as perfectly conformable to the
genius of their language. During the gloomy and suspicious government
of Philip II. this excellent work was only to be read in manuscript. It
was first published at Madrid, in the year 1610, five-and-thirty years
after the death of the author, and was reprinted at Lisbon in 1617;
but both editions were purposely mutilated.[190] The text was at last
given complete in the edition of the work, which appeared in 1776.


The fame of the great reform of the Castilian poetry having
penetrated into Portugal, a similar reform took place in the poetry
of that nation. At this time the Castilian language was held in
such high consideration in Portugal, that even Portuguese poets,
without undervaluing their national tongue, thought themselves bound
occasionally to write verses in Castilian, to entitle them to be
regarded as perfect masters of the poetic art. In the first half of the
sixteenth century, two of the most celebrated of these Portuguese poets
laboured with such success to extend the dominion of Castilian pastoral
poetry, that the thread of the history of Spanish literature would be
broken, were a notice of the poetic merits of these two celebrated men
confined solely to the history of the literature of Portugal. One of
them, Francisco de Saa de Miranda, who was born in 1494, and died in
1558, belongs, however, in so eminent a degree, to his own nation, and
the circumstances of his life are so closely connected with the history
of Portuguese poetry, that it would be an injustice to Portuguese
literature to rank him exclusively among the poets of Spain. Besides,
most of his poetic works, with the exception of his pastoral poems,
are written in the Portuguese language.[191] The other Portuguese
poet, who claims attention in the history of Spanish poetry, is Jorge
de Montemayor. He, through his residence in Spain, became wholly a
Spaniard:--the work to which he chiefly owes his celebrity is written
in Spanish; and he had so decided an influence on Spanish literature,
that this would be the proper place for introducing an account of
his short life and of his poetry, did not Saa de Miranda’s Castilian
pastorals, which are of older date, demand a previous notice.[192]

The bucolic effusions of Saa de Miranda exhibit in their general tone
more traits of resemblance to Theocritus, than are to be found in the
writings of Garcilaso de la Vega. Garcilaso’s pastoral style, with all
its simplicity, was not sufficiently rural for Saa de Miranda. Like
Theocritus his feelings seem to have dictated to him pure rural ideas;
and he transferred this characteristic of his Portuguese eclogues
to those which he wrote in Spanish, which are the most numerous.
Nevertheless, even in his rural poems he did not wish to renounce the
attributes of the loftier style of poetry. He was, however, heedless of
all critical distinction of the different kinds of poetry, and would,
without scruple, commence a poem, in the metre of an Italian canzone,
as an ode, proceed with it in epic metaphors,[193] and conclude it in
the simplest idyllic style. With equal indifference he chose sometimes
octave verse, sometimes tercets for his pastoral poems, which thus
alternately assume a lyric and a dramatic tone. This capricious
mixture of poetic genera and styles deteriorates in no slight degree
the quality of Saa de Miranda’s poetry. The elevated tone of the ode
forms a singular contrast when introduced in the same composition along
with the easy familiar style, which, in the opinion of Saa de Miranda,
the pure pastoral character of his poetry required. But no modern
poet has succeeded so well in the union of simplicity and grace; and
in this respect the eclogues of Saa de Miranda are unequalled. When
he describes the gambols of the nymphs, with whom his fancy animates
his native woodland scenes;[194]--when he sketches impetuous storms
of passion, softened by the charm of his colouring, yet kept true to
nature;[195]--when he introduces nymphs discoursing;[196]--or, when
he abandons himself to a tone of elegiac melancholy;[197]--one knows
not whether most to admire, the delicate truth and penetrating depth
of his ideas, or the artless precision and facility of his expression.
In such cases he often abandons the natural style of Theocritus for
a more lofty or ideal manner. When, in some of his other eclogues,
his shepherds converse on their occupations or superstitions,[198]
he likewise departs from the prosaic nature of real pastoral life,
such as he had the opportunity of observing in his native country,
and gradually elevates it to romantic ideality. It happened, however,
that he occasionally found the prosaic truth of his pictures
sufficiently interesting, and then to be truly natural he avoided all

Some of Saa de Miranda’s popular songs, called _Cantigas_, a term which
in Portuguese corresponds with _Villancicos_ in Spanish, are inimitable
for grace and simplicity.[200]


The poet who is celebrated in Spanish literature by the name of Jorge
de Montemayor, was born in the year 1520, at Montemor, a little town
of Portugal, not far from Coimbra. He took for his name that of his
native city, spelt and pronounced in the Spanish way, probably because
his own family name was not deemed sufficiently sonorous; and thus the
latter has been entirely lost. The talent of this young Portuguese
developed itself without the aid of a previous literary cultivation.
At an early period of life he served in the Portuguese army, and, as
there is reason to believe, in the rank of a common soldier. His taste
for music, and the reputation he had acquired as a singer, induced him
to visit Spain, where the Infant Don Philip, afterwards Philip II.
had formed a company of court musicians, who were to accompany him
on his travels through Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Jorge de
Montemayor, being admitted as a vocal member of this travelling musical
company, gained an opportunity of seeing the world, and at the same
time making himself master of the Castilian language, which became to
him a second mother tongue. He was, however, attached to Spain by a
still closer link, namely, his love for a beautiful Castilian lady,
whom he occasionally introduces in his poems under the name of Marfida.
This Marfida became the deity of his poetry; and when, on his return
to Spain, he found her wedded to another, he endeavoured to divert his
sorrow by poetic effusions, in which he represented the faithless
beauty as a romantic shepherdess; and, uniting these with several
of his other compositions, he formed the whole into a romance. This
romance, which he entitled _Diana_, was received by the Spanish public
with a degree of favour never before extended to any Spanish book,
Amadis de Gaul excepted; and it speedily found no fewer imitators than
Amadis itself. The Queen of Portugal was desirous that the celebrated
author of Diana should return to his native country. She recalled
him, and he obeyed the honourable mandate. No further particulars of
his history are known. He died by some violent means, either in 1561
or 1562. He was upwards of forty at the period of his death, which,
according to some accounts, took place in Portugal, and according to
others in Italy.[201]

The Diana of Montemayor is one of the few romantic works which belong
entirely to the soul of the inventor, which are embued throughout with
individual interest, and which on that very account exercise the more
influence over unsophisticated minds, because the author possessed
sufficient poetic genius successfully to convey the joys and sorrows
of his own heart under the forms of a general interest. But this
romance can never be to any other cultivated people what it was to the
Spaniards of the sixteenth century. Still less can it be regarded as a
classical fragment, even though judged according to the lenient rules
by which every fragment is estimated; unless, indeed, after the manner
of some modern critics, new rules of art be deduced from defective
examples, for the sake of admiring as incomparable the grossest
absurdities, under the title of romantic complexity. But with all its
faults, this unfinished pastoral romance (for it was not brought to a
conclusion by Montemayor) possesses a poetic merit, which entitles it
to the esteem of all ages.

The design of the work, so far as Montemayor’s ideas render his
intention obvious, sometimes charms by its graceful simplicity,
and at others becomes grotesque, through an illegitimate romantic
combination of heterogeneous species of composition. The shepherd
Sireno, who represents the poet himself, on his return to his native
country, visits the scene of the innocent joys which the inconstant
shepherdess Diana once shared along with him. Overwhelmed with grief,
he draws out first a lock of hair belonging to his mistress; and then
one of her letters, which he reads. While he is thus communing with
himself, he is joined by another romantic adorer of the beautiful
Diana. This shepherd, whose love had always been unrequited, now joins
his lamentations to those of the once happy Sireno, and each vies
with the other in claiming to himself the heaviest load of misery.
They are joined by a shepherdess, named Selvagia, who has been no
less unfortunate in love than themselves. She relates her history
very circumstantially, and thus terminates the first book. In the
second, the conversation of these lovers is continued, until three
nymphs appear, one of whom relates Sireno’s history in a song of some
length. Up to the conclusion of this song, the pastoral simplicity of
the story is preserved uninterrupted by any incident approximating to
the terrible; but suddenly a party of savage robbers completely armed
appears. The nymphs are about to fly, but are detained by the robbers.
A battle then ensues between the robbers and the shepherds, the latter
attacking the former with stones. The robbers are on the point of
overcoming their rustic antagonists, when a heroine, habited as a
huntress, rushes from a wood, and bending her bow, pierces the robbers
with her arrows, and liberates the nymphs. The fair huntress then joins
the party of nymphs and shepherds, and in her turn also relates her
history. This narrative, together with the conversations and songs to
which it gives rise, concludes the second book. In the third book the
story assumes the character of a fairy tale. The nymphs lead their
protectress, together with the rest of the party, through a thick
forest to the castle of the wise Felicia, who is represented as a kind
of priestess to the goddess Diana. The description of the wonders and
magnificence of the castle occupies a great portion of the third book.
The wise Felicia conducts the party to a superb hall of state, where
they behold a numerous collection of majestic statues, representing
Roman emperors, Castilian knights, and Castilian ladies. Even a place
is found for the statue of a Moorish knight, of whose conflicts with
the Christians a long history is related in this sanctuary of the
goddess Diana. By means of enchantment Felicia cures Sireno of the
torments of love. At length, in the sixth book, the poet releases
his shepherds and shepherdesses from Felicia’s palace, and the reader
for the first time becomes acquainted with the shepherdess Diana. She
attaches the blame of her infidelity to her parents, by whom, during
the absence of Sireno, she was forced to give her hand to another. In
the following scenes, to the conclusion of the seventh book, where
Montemayor’s labour terminates, the history of the principal characters
makes no further progress. Some of the other lovers in the romance are,
however, united according to their wishes.

This composition, in which it is easy to recognize the uncultivated
genius of a poet, who, to give vent to the emotions of his soul, deemed
it necessary to wander through the whole region of romance, can only
be regarded by the unprejudiced critic as a fantastical frame-work,
serving to display pictures of the feelings and a philosophy of the
heart, which constitute the prominent features of the whole poem.
To paint romantic fidelity under the most fascinating and various
forms, and at the same time to exhibit in a poetic point of view the
theory of that fidelity, which even in a poem could only be verified
by facts, was the idea which guided Montemayor’s inventive fancy, and
the execution of which bears the full impression of his genius. The
versified portion of the romance is the soul of the whole composition.
A series of lyric poems, partly in the Italian and partly in the old
Castilian style, are introduced; but these compositions are strikingly
distinguished from the eclogues of Saa de Miranda by an epigrammatic
poignancy, which frequently degenerates into antiquated subtlety.[202]
But this epigrammatic turn usually imparts a more pointed precision
to the lyrical expression, and a degree of consistency to the whole
composition, which in no way injures its pastoral simplicity;[203]
and when judged according to the characteristic form of the popular
songs, called _Villancicos_, it by no means presents, to Spaniards
in particular, the idea of too much refinement or incongruity with
rustic nature.[204] In order to judge candidly of the pastoral truth
of these compositions, it is necessary to have the Spanish romantic
ideas of nature present to the mind. Montemayor is inexhaustible in new
turns and images for the expression of tenderness. In depth of feeling
he vies with Saa de Miranda; and, though his poetry is occasionally
deficient in rhythmical polish, it in general presents so exquisite
a union of the grace of language, with a happy concordance of ideas,
that the reader must soon become warmed by the spirit of the poet, even
though he should begin to peruse the work with indifference.[205]

Montemayor’s style of romantic prose has been a model for all writers
of pastoral romances in the Spanish language. How far he himself
imitated the prose of Sanazzar, cannot easily be ascertained, as it is
not known whether or not Sanazzar’s Arcadia[206] was the prototype of
his Diana. Though it is certain that Montemayor carefully endeavoured
to give precision and dignity of expression, and to impart harmony
to every line of his composition, his language nevertheless appears
neither laboured nor affected. His taste seems to have been in
only a few instances seduced by the influence of that ostentatious
solemnity, which distinguished the common chivalrous romances, written
in imitation of Amadis de Gaul. In general he remained faithful to
the dignified simplicity, which the author of the Amadis appears to
have regarded as the genuine characteristic of the lofty style of
romantic prose. To this style his protracted but rhythmically pleasing
sentences may justly be said to belong.[207] It is but seldom that a
low expression escapes him.[208] His descriptions are never deficient
in vividness and force.[209] It is only in the didactic passages in
which he propounds his philosophy of love, that his language becomes
tinged with the scholastic formality, which at the period in which he
wrote, was considered indispensable when any scholastic ideas were
to be expressed; for though Montemayor had not received that kind of
education, which in his age was considered learned, he had picked up
some notions of the scholastic philosophy, which, when they interested
him, he was fond of introducing into the romance of his heart.[210]

The other works of Montemayor, which are not so celebrated as his
Diana, are to be found in a collection of his poems, which, according
to the old custom, is entitled a _Cancionero_.[211]


Fernando de Herrera, a poet very different in character from
Montemayor, must next be included among the authors who chiefly
contributed to reform Castilian poetry, during the first half of the
sixteenth century. Of the history of his life but little is known. He
was a native of Seville, and was born, according to the conjectures
of his Spanish biographers, about the commencement of the sixteenth
century. Thus he flourished at the same time as Diego de Mendoza, and
afforded another instance of the light of poetical improvement being
directed from the south of Spain. It appears that he did not enter
into the ecclesiastical state, to which he finally devoted himself,
until he attained a mature age; but he must have received a literary
education, as he possessed no ordinary knowledge of the ancient and
modern languages, geography, mathematics, and scholastic philosophy.
According to a portrait which has been preserved of him, he appears to
have been a handsome man; and some of the editors of his works alledge
that the lady whom he has celebrated in his verses under various names,
was not merely an ideal object of the poet’s tenderness. The admirers
of his poetry have applied to him, after the Italian manner, the
surname of the _divine_; and this epithet, rendered so equivocal by its
application to Pietro Aretino, was never bestowed on any other Spanish
poet. These few particulars are all that are known relative to the life
of Fernando de Herrera. He died at an advanced age, probably soon after
the year 1578.[212]

Why Herrera should have obtained the title of divine, in preference
to all the other poets of his nation, would appear almost
incomprehensible, were it not known that two opposite parties vied with
each other in exalting him; and, to avoid the appearance of yielding
on either side, considered themselves reciprocally bound to pronounce
compositions sublime which neither could regard as natural. Herrera
was, notwithstanding, a poet of powerful talent, and one who evinced
undaunted resolution in pursuing the new path which he had struck out
for himself. The novel style, however, which he wished to introduce
into Spanish poetry, was not the result of a spontaneous essay, flowing
from immediate inspiration, but was theoretically constructed on
artificial principles. Thus, amidst traits of real beauty, his poetry
every where presents marks of affectation. The great fault of his
language is too much singularity; and his expression, where it ought to
be elevated, is merely far-fetched.

Herrera fancied he had discovered that the diction of the Spanish
poets, even in their best works, was too common, too nearly allied
to the language of prose, and consequently very far removed from the
classical dignity which distinguishes the Greek and Roman poetry. This
opinion induced him to form for himself a new style. He classed words
according to his fancy, into elegant and inelegant, and was careful
to employ in his verse only those to which he attributed the former
character. He connected words, under significations which they do not
bear in common language; and in contradistinction to the spirit of
prose, he regarded certain repetitions, for example, the conjunction
_and_ as very appropriate to poetry. He also introduced into his verse,
a free arrangement of words, after the model of the latin construction.
Finally, he thought he could enrich the language of poetry by new
words, which he formed by analogy from existing Castilian words, or
adopted immediately from the latin.[213] This peculiarity of style
was regarded as the perfection of poetry, by the party who idolized
Fernando de Herrera.[214]

Those, however, who have no inclination to confound pompous with
poetic language, or diction with the essence of poetry, must still
allow to Herrera the possession of poetic ideas and precision of
manner, as well as a true dignity of expression, and an elegant
harmony of versification. His language is not always affected, and his
thoughts and descriptions, though frequently overstrained, are never
trivial.[215] Notwithstanding all the faults of his style, he must be
accounted the first classical ode writer in modern literature, for
the attempts of the Italian poet Chiabrera to emulate Pindar, are of
more recent date; and here it is worthy of remark, that the Spanish
odes of Herrera and the Italian odes of Chiabrera resemble each other
in a mixture of the style of the Pindaric ode, with the style of the
canzone. Through the medium of that lyric form only, was the spirit of
Pindar felt by these imitators; and both were the more easily deceived,
as the genius of the Spanish and Italian languages has a relation to
the metrical structure of the canzone, somewhat similar to that which
the genius of the Greek language bears to Pindaric verse. But the rapid
and bold succession of thoughts and images, which animates the odes
of Pindar, could not be imitated by poets, who, even in their boldest
flights of fancy were bound down by the laws of the Italian canzone, to
the luxurious harmony of its protracted verbose periods. Thus Herrera’s
odes, like those of Chiabrera, bear only a remote resemblance to
their prototypes. Odes, however, they must be termed, though Herrera
himself has classed them, under the general title of _canciones_, along
with imitations of the Italian style, purely romantic, but versified
according to similar rules. In his celebrated odes on the battle of
Lepanto, in which the Spaniards under Don John of Austria, the natural
son of Charles V. obtained a brilliant victory over the Turks, the
magnificence of the rhythm would be sufficiently attractive, though
the ideas conveyed in the torrent of sonorous syllables possessed less
poetic beauty than really belong to them.[216] Occasionally, however,
Herrera’s ideas degenerate into fantastical hyperboles; for instance,
when boasting of his hero, he says, that Don John of Austria, that
glorious conqueror of the infidels and the elements, combines within
himself “whatever of heavenly power animates terrestrial bodies;” and
that therefore “the fixed earth, the extended waters, the circumambent
air, and the ever glowing flames depend on him, so that through the
secret control which he exercises over earth, water, air, and fire, all
these elements are his works.”[217] But passages of real beauty occur
in Herrera’s odes, which afford a sufficient compensation for this sort
of bombast.[218] Among the odes for which Herrera has chosen a softer
theme, the prize of superiority has been justly awarded to the Ode to
Sleep. It is one of those compositions which may be said to be single
in their kind. The graceful choice of language, the picturesque effect,
the delicate keeping in the composition, and the finish given to all
the details in strict conformity with the true spirit of the theme,
impart to this ode or cancion a lyric beauty which must render it in
all ages an object of admiration, not only to the lover, but to the
critic of poetry.[219]

The other poems of Herrera, though extremely numerous, require only
a slight notice.[220] His best sonnets, which are among the happiest
imitations of Petrarch in the Spanish language, are characterized
by the recurrence of some of the author’s favourite images, as for
example, the comparison of his mistress to light, or the evening
star,[221] &c. He is frequently very successful in the management of
these similes; but at other times he falls into strange absurdities,
such as making the “curling waves of gold of his sweet light float
in the wind.”[222] But extravagant tropes of this kind could not be
very offensive to Spanish taste, which had been accustomed to indulge
the orientalisms of the old national style, and they were indeed not
only tolerated but esteemed. It might have been expected that a writer
possessing so much critical judgment as Herrera, would, as an imitator
of Petrarch, have endeavoured to naturalize in his native tongue, the
simplicity of the Italian poet; but he was too much a Spaniard to be
pleased with such simplicity. His elegies, and other lyric compositions
in the Italian syllabic measure, have all the same character.

Herrera endeavoured, by other means than poetical composition, to give
to the national taste of the Spaniards a direction conformable to
his own principles. He wrote a “Critical Commentary on the Poems of
Garcilaso de la Vega.”[223] This commentary has served as a model for
many similar works, which have been the means of circulating various
kinds of useful knowledge without having contributed in any remarkable
degree to the advancement of taste. Herrera, as a theorist, failed
to establish any fixed point or station from which he might have
taken a clear and consistent view of the whole region of poetry. His
criticism everlastingly turns on detached ideas and words; and whenever
opportunities for displaying his learning occur, he digresses into all
the regions of philosophy and literature. Of the indistinctness of his
notions, relative to the different species of poetry, some idea may
be formed from his definition of the elegy. He says--“an elegy should
be simple, soft, tender, amiable, terse, clear, and if it may be so
called, noble; affecting to the feelings, and moving them in every way;
neither very inflated nor very humble, nor obscured by affected phrases
or far-fetched fables.”[224]


Luis Ponce de Leon, the next lyric poet to be noticed, pursued a course
very different from that of Herrera, whose contemporary he was. He
is usually called, by abbreviation, merely Luis de Leon, and did not
obtain the surname of divine, to which, however, he might have laid
claim with infinitely more justice than Herrera, if his pious humility
would have permitted him to entertain the idea of maintaining any
competition for earthly honours.[225]

This poet, who for classical purity of style and moral dignity of
ideas, had never been surpassed in Spanish literature, was, like
Herrera and Mendoza, a native of the south of Spain. He was born at
Granada, in the year 1527, where the family of the Ponces de Leon,
which was connected with the most distinguished of the Spanish
nobility, flourished. At an early period of life, Luis de Leon felt
a poetic inspiration, and cherished a love of retirement, which
rendered him indifferent to outward show, and all the pleasures of
the great world. He found only in poetry and in the contemplation
of a superior existence that food for which his soul longed. His
tranquil and gentle mind exhibited none of the gloomy features of
monkish fanaticism, but was devoted to moral and religious meditation.
As soon as he had finished his scholastic studies, he entered, of his
own free choice, into the ecclesiastical state. He was sixteen years
of age when he made his profession in the order of St. Augustine
at Salamanca. Theology now became his proper occupation. In Spain,
especially at that period, a man of the character of Luis de Leon, even
if he possessed a mind capable of divesting itself of prejudice, could
scarcely be expected to doubt the dogmas of the catholic faith; but his
poetic imagination, which was not to be satisfied with their dry and
scholastic interpretation, irresistibly impelled him to adorn them.
Luis transferred the mild enthusiasm of his pious feelings into the
theological studies, to which his vocation devoted him. On religious
subjects he was a learned and diligent author; but his heart found, at
least during the first years of his monastic life, only in poetry, the
faithful interpreter of his love for that pure truth, to the attainment
of which all his arduous efforts were directed. Though invested in
his thirty-third year with the dignity of doctor of theology, he
maintained, even within the cloister, his intimacy with the classic
writers of antiquity. The Hebrew poetry also worked powerfully on his
imagination; and on one occasion he nearly fell a martyr to an attempt
to translate and comment on the Song of Solomon. He was very far from
wishing to give a too liberal interpretation of the amatory language
of the original. He explained the sacred poem in perfect accordance
with the sense attributed to it by the church. But the inquisition
had, at that time, strictly prohibited the translation of any part of
the bible into the vulgar tongue. Luis de Leon, therefore, ventured
to communicate his version in confidence to one friend only; but that
friend was not faithful to his trust, and the translation found its
way into the hands of several individuals. It was soon denounced to
the inquisition, and the author was immediately thrown into prison by
that terrible tribunal. He himself mentions, in one of his letters,
that for the space of five years he was deprived of all communication
with mankind, and was not even permitted to see the light of day.[226]
Conscious of his innocence, he enjoyed during his captivity, according
to his own testimony, a tranquillity and satisfaction of mind which he
never afterwards so fully experienced, when restored to freedom, and
the society of his friends.[227] At length justice was done to him,
he returned in triumph to his monastery, and was reinstated in his
ecclesiastical dignities. From that period, he appears to have been
wholly devoted to the duties of his order and the study of theology. He
died in 1591, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, being at that time
general and provincial vicar of Salamanca.

The poems of this amiable enthusiast are, according to his own
testimony,[228] for the most part the productions of his youth; but no
other Spanish poet has succeeded in expressing the intense feelings
of the heart under the control of so sound a judgment. It is only by
reference to the pious tranquillity of a cultivated mind wrapt up in
self communion, that the extraordinary correctness of this author’s
style can be explained, for Luis de Leon is, without exception, the
most correct of all the Spanish poets, though he constantly regarded
the metrical clothing of his ideas as a very secondary object. To
use his own language, he wrote poetry rather in fulfilment of his
destiny, than purposely and by dint of study. At an early age he
became intimately acquainted with the odes of Horace, and the elegance
and purity of style which distinguish those compositions made a deep
impression on his imagination. Classical simplicity and dignity were
the models constantly present to his creative fancy. He, however,
appropriated to himself the character of Horace’s poetry, too naturally
ever to incur the danger of servile imitation. He discarded the prolix
style of the canzone, and imitated the brevity of the strophes of
Horace, in romantic syllabic measures and rhymes. More just feeling for
the imitation of the ancients was never evinced by any modern poet. His
odes have, however, a character totally different from those of Horace,
though the sententious air which marks the style of both authors,
imparts to them a deceptive resemblance. The religious austerity of
Luis de Leon’s life was not to be reconciled with the epicurism of
the latin poet; but, notwithstanding this very different disposition
of the mind, it is not surprising that they should have adopted the
same form of poetic expression, for each possessed a fine imagination,
subordinate to the control of a sound understanding. Which of the two
is the superior poet, in the most extended sense of the word, it would
be difficult to determine, as each formed his style by free imitation,
and neither overstepped the boundaries of a certain sphere of practical
observation. Horace’s odes exhibit a superior style of art, and from
the relationship between the thoughts and images, possess a degree of
attraction which is wanting in those of Luis de Leon; but on the other
hand, the latter are the more rich in that natural kind of poetry,
which may be regarded as the overflowing of a pure soul, elevated to
the loftiest regions of moral and religious idealism.[229]

Luis de Leon himself published a collection of his poetic works,
divided into three books. The first, contains his original poems--the
second, translations from some of the ancient classics--and the third,
metrical versions of several of the psalms, and some parts of the book
of Job.

The reader who peruses the poems of Luis de Leon, which are all odes,
in the spirit in which the author wrote them, will fancy himself
transported to a better world. No furious zeal disturbs the gentle
piety that pervades them; no extravagant metaphor destroys the harmony
of the ideas and expression; and no discordant accent breaks the
pleasing melody of the rhythm. The idea of the perishableness of all
earthly things,[230] is united with smiling pictures of nature.[231]
The imitations of Horace are only introduced to aid the poetic light
in which the poet views those objects which were peculiarly interesting
to his contemporaries.[232] One of Luis de Leon’s most celebrated odes
is the _Noche Serena_, but the concluding stanzas do not correspond
with the beauty of the commencement.[233] In the ode to Felipe Ruiz,
the ardent aspiration for heavenly truth is very picturesquely
expressed.[234] But the exalted inspiration and tender enthusiasm in
which Luis de Leon so widely departs from Horace, are most prominently
evinced in his ode on Heavenly Life (_De la Vida del Cielo_). Here
his fancy is bold without launching into extravagant metaphors. What
an etherial effulgence glows through his lyric picture of “the soft
bright region, the meadow of holiness, never blighted by frost, nor
withered by the sun’s rays;--where the good shepherd, his head crowned
with blossoms of purple and white, without either sling or staff,
leads his beloved flock to the sweet pasture covered with everblooming
roses;--where the shepherd, reclining in the shade at noon, blows his
heavenly pipe, whose feeblest tone, should it descend on the ear of the
poet, would transform his whole soul to love.”[235] The ode in which
the genius of the Tagus prophecies to King Roderick the misfortunes of
Spain, is more in Horace’s style, and possesses a very happy uniformity
of character. In some other imitations of a similar kind, the fancy of
the pious poet willingly descends from the heavenly regions. The poems
contained in the first part of the collection are few in number. Those
which Luis de Leon himself inserted, amount only to twenty-seven, and
among them is an indifferent elegy, and a cancion in the Italian style
of not much greater merit. Several other compositions, which he seems
to have rejected, have been recently printed from manuscripts.[236]

The greater portion of the poetic works of Luis de Leon consists of
translations; but these translations form an epoch in the department
of literature to which they belong. Those in the second book of the
collection are the first classical specimens, in modern literature, of
the art of renewing the ancient poetry in modern forms. Luis de Leon
has himself explained the principles by which he was guided in bringing
the ancient poetry within the sphere of the romantic. He endeavoured to
make the ancient poets speak, “as they would have expressed themselves,
had they been born in his own age in Castile, and had they written in
Castilian.”[237] However bold this attempt may appear, and whatever
defects a translation of this kind may present to the eye of the
connoisseur who wishes for a faithful resemblance of the original,
and not a flowery imitation, yet if the validity of the principle be
once admitted, Luis de Leon will be found to have fulfilled all that
the most rigid critic can desire. Besides, it must be considered that
translations of a more literal character would scarcely have found
readers in Spain at that period. Luis de Leon translated Virgil’s
eclogues, partly in tercets, and partly in coplas;[238] a considerable
series of Horace’s odes in the same romantic syllabic measure which
he chose for his own odes;[239]--and a portion of Virgil’s georgics
in stanzas. But the easy flowing style of his Spanish version of
Pindar’s first ode, excels all the rest.[240] To these translations
are also added two imitations of Italian sonnets, which prove that
he succeeded very well in that species of composition, though among
his own original poems there is not a single sonnet. He translated the
psalms of David, according to the rule he had prescribed to himself.
His translations speedily obtained the rank in Spanish literature
to which they were entitled; and they have served as models for all
succeeding versions of Greek and Latin poetry in the Spanish language.
Luis de Leon may indeed be blamed for having thwarted, by the style of
translation which he introduced, all the attempts made to form Spanish
poetry on the model of that of the ancients. But on the other hand, to
his example the Spaniards are indebted for numerous translations of
Greek and Latin poetry, which have all the air of Spanish originals.

If Luis de Leon had not confined his prose writings exclusively to
spiritual subjects, he would doubtless have also exercised a very
decided influence on the rhetorical cultivation of Spain. His sermons
(_oraciones_) are, however, invariably mentioned in terms of praise by
Spanish writers, whenever they allude to the theological literature of
their country.[241] Among his other works intended for edification, The
Woman as she should be, or The Perfect Wife, (_La Perfecta Casada_),
will perhaps be found the most interesting to the untheological class
of readers; though it constantly turns on the positive morality of
Catholicism, and therefore, like every mixed treatise of theology and
morals, is no legitimate specimen of the developement of ideas in the
didactic style.[242]

Luis de Leon terminates the series of distinguished Spanish authors,
who during the first half of the sixteenth century, composed after the
model of the great poets of Italy, or the ancient classics, and who,
by the superiority of their genius, mainly contributed to give a new
character to Spanish poetry. There are, however others, whose poetic
works ought not to be passed over in silence; but to follow the example
of those writers, who have hitherto related the history of Spanish
poetry, without separating subordinate from eminent talent, would be to
prolong an act of injustice. At the same time to the continuation which
must be made of the history of the lyric and pastoral poetry of Spain,
during the first half of the sixteenth century, may be very properly
added some account of a few unsuccessful efforts in epic composition,
and a notice of the further progress of the old national poetry during
the same period.


Fernando de Acuña, one of the first of the distinguished men who became
the disciples of Boscan and Garcilaso, was of Portuguese extraction,
but born in Madrid, probably about the beginning of the sixteenth
century.[243] He signalized himself in the campaigns of Charles V.
and was also a person of consideration at the court of that monarch.
He lived on terms of intimate friendship with Garcilaso de la Vega,
whom he survived for a considerable period, for it appears that his
death did not take place until the year 1580. He proved his taste for
classical literature by translations and imitations. He paraphrased
in iambic blank verse, several passages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses,
and among the rest, the dispute between Ajax and Ulysses for the arms
of Achilles, in very correct and harmonious language. He likewise
translated some of the Heroides of the same author in tercets. In his
own sonnets, cancions, and elegies, which are replete with sentiment
and grace, it is easy to recognise a poet who successfully laboured
to attain classical elegance of style.[244] He was also one of the
first poets, who, by composing in short strophes, endeavoured to form
an intermediate style between the Italian canzone and the Spanish

Gutierre de Cetina is less known, though there is no doubt of his
having lived about the same period, as he is mentioned by Herrera
in his Commentary on the Works of Garcilaso. He was, like Herrera,
a native of Seville; and having removed to Madrid, was there
invested with an ecclesiastical dignity. Few of his poems have been
printed;[246] but from those few it is obvious that he had a fair
chance of becoming the Anacreon of Spain. That glory, however, was
reserved for Villegas. Still Gutierre de Cetina’s imitations of the
anacreontic style are not without their share of sweetness and grace;
and they are moreover remarkable as being the first productions in the
class to which they belong.[247] His madrigals also seem to have had no
prototype in Spanish literature.[248] In his canciones, however, the
romantic enthusiasm occasionally degenerates into absurdity.[249]

Pedro do Padilla, a knight of the spiritual order of St. Jago, must
be ranked in the same class with Gutierre. He vied with Garcilaso in
pastoral poetry; and in order to conciliate the partizans of both the
old and the new styles, he introduced alternately in the same eclogue
the Italian and the ancient Spanish metres.[250] His poetry is still
esteemed in Spain. He followed the old national custom by making the
events connected with the war in the Netherlands serve as subjects for

But a poet still more celebrated, and in a great degree indebted for
his fame to the immoderate encomium bestowed upon him by the pen of
Cervantes, is Gaspar Gil Polo, a native of Valencia, who continued
and concluded Montemayor’s Diana under the title of _La Diana
enamorada_.[252] A continuation of this pastoral romance had previously
been undertaken by a writer named Perez; but without success. Gil
Polo in one respect effected more than did Montemayor himself; but in
point of invention he is inferior, notwithstanding the faults of the
original plan. After Sireno has been cured of his love by the sage
Felicia, Gil Polo makes the passion of Diana revive, and renders her
more unhappy for Sireno’s sake, than he had previously been for hers.
Thus the romantic story is reversed; but the new relations under which
it now appears are few. In the sequel the aid of the sage Felicia is
again obtained, and she finally unites the long separated lovers.
The narrative style in the prose portion of the romance presents a
very correct imitation of Montemayor; but neither the merit of this
imitation, nor the continuation of the metaphysical reflections on
love, with which the romance is interspersed, would have gained for Gil
Polo the approbation of the critic. What must have raised him higher
than Montemayor in the estimation of such a judge as Cervantes, is
the precision and clearness of the ideas, and the perfect polish of
style in the poetic part of the romance. Montemayor has often indulged
in too subtle or sophistical plays of wit. Gil Polo in painting the
feelings has exercised a sounder judgment, without, however, descending
to the coldness of prose. His sonnets may be regarded as models;
for he has succeeded in combining the unity of ideas, which ought
to distinguish that species of composition, with the most elegant
rounding and regularity of structure.[253] In his canciones he has
occasionally, for the sake of variety, imitated the Provençal rhymes
(_rimas Provenzales_) with such happy dexterity, that the reader might
fancy himself perusing some of the best opera songs, though no such
thing as an opera then existed.[254] In like manner, he endeavoured to
naturalize the metrical structure of French verse (_rimas Franceses_)
in the Spanish language, upon which the burthen of alexandrines
had already been inflicted.[255] In compliment to the old Spanish
taste, he bedecked his romance with a profusion of versified riddles
(_preguntas_,) which are, for the most part, so exceedingly dull, that
it is difficult to conceive how they could be endured by a man of Gil
Polo’s talent.[256] In honour of Valencia, his native city, he composed
a poem, in which the genius of the little river Turia is made to sing
the praises of the celebrated men to whom Valencia had given birth.
This song of Turia (_Canto de Turia_) has found patriotic commentators,
without whose laborious explanations it would have been unintelligible
to foreign readers.[257]


Though Spanish literature was in the manner just recorded, enriched
during half a century by numerous lyric and pastoral compositions,
which deserve to be handed down with honour to posterity, yet within
the same interval epic poetry made but little advancement in Spain.

Early in this period the absurd name of idyls (_idyllios_) appears
to have been applied to such narrative poems as were not romances,
and to have marked out a particular field for a kind of poetic tales,
which were in some measure imitations from the ancients, and yet
were executed in the romantic style. Such, for example, was Boscan’s
free translation of the story of Hero and Leander from Musæus, which
the Spaniards call their first idyl. Thus the term idyls in Spanish,
conveys no idea of pastoral poems, which are always called eclogues
(_eglogas_.)[258] Castillejo, of whom further mention will shortly
be made, imitated in old Castilian verse, stories from Ovid, and
gave to them the name of idyls. The spurious heroic style which the
authors of these tales introduced, proved, without doubt, one of the
obstacles to the cultivation of chivalrous epic poetry in Spain; but
it is also to be recollected, that the luxuriant mixture of the comic
with the serious, which is the very soul of the romantic epopee of the
Italians, was by no means congenial to Spanish taste. In Spain the
works of Boyardo and Ariosto were known only through the medium of bad
translations, and were read merely with the interest attached to all
books of chivalry. Finally, the spirit of the old romance poetry was
also hostile to the chivalric epopee. To descend from the cordial
gravity of the national narrative romances, to the careless levity with
which the venerable heroes of chivalry were treated by the Italian
writers, was a transition repugnant to the patriotic feelings of the
Spaniards; who, in their wars with the Italians, were the more disposed
to be proud of the preservation of their national spirit of chivalry,
when they found that it facilitated their victories over men who were
better fitted for intrigue than for defending their freedom sword in
hand. Thus, to the chivalrous epopee of the Italians, the Spaniards
remained as completely strangers, as if they had been excluded from all
opportunity of becoming acquainted with that kind of composition; and
yet the period when the Spaniards and Italians maintained the closest
political and literary relations, precisely corresponds with that
of Ariosto’s first celebrity, and of the numerous imitations of the
_Orlando Furioso_, which appeared in the Italian language.[259]

On the contrary, several Spanish poets, during the first half of the
sixteenth century, zealously competed for the palm in the serious
epopee; but obstacles again arose, which all the force of Spanish
genius was not sufficient to surmount. Torquato Tasso had not yet shewn
what the serious epic was capable of becoming, and what it must be, in
order to be reconciled to the taste of modern times. The Spaniards were
so little prepared for the new poetry with which they had suddenly been
made acquainted on the first imitation of the Italian style, that they
could not be expected to enter without a guide into the true spirit
of the modern epopee. The men, who at this time boldly attempted to
become the Homers of their country, appear to have felt that they could
not select from ancient history the materials for an epic poem. But on
the other hand, their patriotic feelings prepossessed them too much in
favour of events of recent occurrence. The age in which they themselves
lived was, in their eyes, the most illustrious and the most worthy of
epic glory; a Spanish Homer could record no achievements save those
of the Spaniards under Charles V.; and the hero, who in their poems
eclipsed all others, was their favourite Charles, the never conquered,
(_el nunca vencido_,) as he was styled by all the Spanish writers of
the sixteenth century. Thus arose the _Caroliads_, or heroic poems,
in praise of Charles V. all of which speedily sunk into oblivion.
Among them were the _Carlos Famoso_, by Luis de Zapata; the _Carlos
Victorioso_, by Geronymo de Urrea; _La Carolea_, by the Valencian poet,
Geronymo Sampèr, &c. Alonzo Lopez, surnamed Pinciano, who flourished
at the commencement of the sixteenth century, was more happy in his
choice of an epic subject. The hero of his story is Pelayo, the brave
descendant of the visigothic kings, who, in his turn, was the first to
subdue the Arabs. But Pinciano’s poem, which he entitled _El Pelayo_,
had no better fate than the Caroliads.[260]

The present seems a fit opportunity for mentioning _La fuente de
Alcover_, a narrative poem, which though of humbler pretensions than
the Caroliads, experienced considerable success. The author, Felipe
Mey, who was of Flemish extraction, was a bookseller in Valencia.
Encouraged by his patron, Antonio Agustin, bishop of Tarragona, he
chose a few stanzas, written by that ingenious prelate, as the ground
work of a mythological poem. The idea originated in the name given to
a plant (_capillus veneris_), through which the water trickling drop
by drop, at length forms a little fountain. This pretty poem makes,
along with some others by Felipe Mey, an appendix to his unfinished
translation of _Ovid’s Metamorphoses_ in octave verse. It deserves also
to be mentioned, that this translation reads like a modern poem; both
language and versification are excellent.[261]

Some other translations of the ancient classic poets which appeared,
during this period, remain to be noticed. Gonzalo Perez, a native of
Arragon, is the author of a poetic translation of Homer’s Odyssey, in
the Castilian language. The first edition was printed in 1552, and the
second in 1562; so that it seems the Spanish public felt an interest
in this extension of their poetic literature. Gregorio Fernandez
translated the Æneid and several of Virgil’s eclogues in verse; and
in the like manner Juan de Guzman executed a complete version of the
georgics. All these translations, however, like those of Luis de Leon,
must be regarded as re-casts of ancient materials into modern moulds,
rather than translations, in the strict sense of the term. But, in an
age and country, in which both the people and the language were imbued
with the spirit of the romantic poetry, to have attempted to introduce
the classic poets of Greece or Rome in any other way than in a romantic
dress, would have been to do violence to the genius of the language and
the nation.[262]


The rapid success of the imitators of the Italian and classic styles,
did not, however, deprive the old romance poetry of its rank, either
in literature or in public estimation. The first half of the sixteenth
century, was doubtless the period when most of the old romances, then
first brought together in collections, received the form which they
have retained down to the present day; and, in all probability, not
less than half the romances and canciones collected in the _Romanceros
generales_, particularly the mythological, anacreontic, and comic
kinds, had no existence previous to that period.

But no poet of that age defended the cause of the old Castilian poetry,
in all its various forms, with so much talent and zeal as Christoval
de Castillejo, the most illustrious of the literary opponents of
the Italian style. Castillejo obtained the post of secretary in
the service of the Emperor Ferdinand I. an appointment which was a
consequence of the relations still subsisting between the courts of
Madrid and Vienna, after the death of Charles V. notwithstanding that
the German empire was then separated from the Spanish monarchy. The
greater part of Castillejo’s poems were written in Vienna; and are
full of allusions to the gay sphere of life in which he moved at the
imperial court. A young German lady, named Schomburg, of whom he seems
to have been an ardent admirer, figures in his poems, under the name of
Xomburg, because nothing like the hissing sound of the German _sch_,
could be expressed by the same characters in the Castilian language.
Advanced in life, and tired of gallantry and the gay world, he returned
to Spain, became a Cistercian monk, and died in a convent in 1596.
The admirers of Castillejo[263] assign to him the first rank among
Spanish poets; but the unprejudiced critic cannot, in justice, elevate
him to so high a station. His poetic horizon was very limited. He was
determined to be nothing but an old Castilian in poetic taste, as in
every thing else. He ridiculed Boscan, Garcilaso, and all the Spanish
poets of the new party, with more wit than judgment.[264] He asserted,
though without foundation, that the old Castilian metres and forms
of rhyme were alone suited to the Castilian language; and for want
of better arguments to urge against the amatory poetry of Italy, he
asserted that all poetry of love was to be regarded as mere raillery,
without reflecting, that in supporting this opinion he cast more
reproach on the old Spaniards than on the Italians.[265] The structure
of Italian verse appeared constrained to a poet, who confounded
rapidity with facility of style. The loose rhythm of the redondillas,
was with him an exclusive beauty of the syllabic structure of his
mother tongue, for he had no taste for a more regular style of poetry;
and some of his happiest productions are limited merely to graceful
plays of the imagination. His fertility in these sports of fancy, could
not fail to obtain for him the esteem of his countrymen, who were
ever too ready to tolerate, and even to admire, the subtle twisting
of quaint and fanciful conceits; but of all other poetic faults, most
reluctant to pardon heaviness of manner, particularly in versification.

Some of Castillejo’s canciones are, however, so exquisite, that it is
scarcely possible to resist the temptation of placing their author in
the very foremost rank of poets.[266] But in spite of his captivating
fluency of style and power of expression, most of his works bear
traces of a mental boundary which every great poet oversteps. A sort
of affected verbosity often usurps the place of real wit, particularly
in his longer poems; and it not unfrequently happens that whole pages
of Castillejo’s flowing verse are to the reader nothing more than
lively prose. The strong inclination to levity, which he cannot resist,
even when he wishes to be serious, is a distinguishing feature in all
the poetic essays of this ingenious author, who has thus sometimes
given to his works more of a French than a Spanish character.

Castillejo arranged his lyric works in three books, and they are so
printed under the title of _Obras Liricas_. Only a small portion of
these poems, however, properly belongs to the lyric class;[267] and
the author doubtless collected them together, under this general
title, for the purpose of distinguishing them from his comedies, which
are but little known. The first book contains amatory poems, (_Obras
amatorias_), songs, jests, epistles, glosses after the old fashion,
and in conclusion, a piece which he styled a (_Capitulo_) on love. The
songs, for the most part, commence in a serious tone,[268] but speedily
assume a comic turn, with which they usually conclude.[269] Some are
burlesque parodies on the affected ecstasies and extravagant metaphors
of the Spanish sonnet writers. Such, for example, is the “Tower of
Lamentation,” or the “Wind Tower,” (_Torre de Viento_,) which is
supposed to be built entirely of lovers’ sighs. Some shorter poems, in
the madrigal style, are among the best in this first book.[270] There
is also an “Exclamatory Epistle,” (_Epistola Exclamatoria_,) the spirit
and style of which are sufficiently indicated by the title. Among the
popular verses which the playful humour of Castillejo prompted him to
gloss in the form of _Villancicos_, is one which merely says, “If you
tend my cows, my love, I will give you a kiss; but give me a kiss and I
will tend yours.”[271] Productions of this description found favour
with the readers for whom they were intended. His humorous poems, which
are all more or less disguised under an air of seriousness, contain
a tale (_historia_) imitated from Ovid, which may be called an idyl
according to the literary terminology of the Spaniards. The second book
contains conversational and diverting pieces, (_obras de conversacion
y de pasatiempo_.) At the commencement appear the railleries of
Castillejo against the Petrarchists. The longest poem in this book is
a Dialogue on Women, (_Dialogo de la Condicion de las Mugeres_,) which
is here and there enlivened by admirable sallies of wit;[272] but upon
the whole it is nothing more than burlesque prose ideas dressed in
easy verse.[273] The third book, which contains moral works, (_obras
morales_,) is most prolix of all. The satires contained in this third
book have certainly a moral tendency, though that object is in a great
measure defeated by Castillejo’s sportive style. The moral is lost in a
torrent of words, while the serious thoughts of which the verse is the
vehicle, are for the most part trivial.[274] Notwithstanding the moral
design of this third book, the Spanish inquisition was for some time
undecided with respect to its fate. The publication of all the poems
of Castillejo was prohibited; but after some further deliberation the
inquisition permitted the sale of an edition, after it had undergone a
rigid revisal by the censor.


In the reign of Charles V. amidst a throng of diversified talent, and
during the conflict between the old and new poetic styles, the Spanish
drama began to flourish. Considered in a literary point of view, it
can scarcely be said to have existed before that period; but it
arose under happier auspices than those which about the same period
accompanied the birth of the Italian drama, to which the struggle
between the learned and the popular burlesque styles afforded less
hope of success. The sacred and profane pastoral dialogues of Juan de
la Enzina were, at the commencement of the sixteenth century, still
the only dramatic compositions in the Spanish language, to which any
degree of literary respect was attached, and they were, by especial
favour, allowed to be performed at court.[275] With the exception of
mysteries, spiritual moralities, and burlesque representations of
religious ceremonies, the Spanish nation, at this time, knew nothing
of dramatic entertainments. No poet of reputation had hitherto devoted
his attention to this species of composition; but the nation evinced
by its attachment to those rude exhibitions, that tenacity which is
a great feature in its character, and which even in matters of taste
permits no reform to take place which does not perfectly accord with
the inclination of the public. This constancy of the national character
must never for a moment be lost sight of, while tracing the history of
the Spanish drama; but even with this peculiar circumstance carefully
kept in view, it is still impossible to give a very satisfactory
account of the early progress of dramatic poetry among the Spaniards;
for the notices which must be resorted to for that purpose, are both
defective and confused.[276]

It is above all things necessary to begin by distinguishing the three
or four parties, which on totally different principles endeavoured
to cultivate dramatic poetry in Spain, and which appear to have been
hitherto overlooked by the writers on Spanish literature, merely
because each of those parties pursued its object, without openly
declaring war against the others. Critical cultivation was not yet so
far advanced in Spain as to open a field for literary warfare. But the
heterogeneous nature of the Spanish dramas of the first half and ten
following years of the sixteenth century, renders it evident, on a very
slight examination, that the authors who composed them must have been
influenced by different views.[277]

The party called the erudite, was the first which at that period
laboured to introduce into Spain a style of dramatic literature, worthy
to be called national. This party consisted of men of information
and taste, though possessing but little knowledge of the true art of
dramatic poetry, and still less of imagination. These men, like a
similar party in Italy, endeavoured to form the modern drama on the
model of the antique. As, however, the most zealous among them did
not possess sufficient talent to imitate the ancient models, they
began to translate them, and performed their task in prose. A Spanish
translation of the Amphitryon of Plautus, by Villalobos, physician to
Charles V. was printed in 1515. Shortly afterwards there appeared a
new translation of the same drama, by Perez de Oliva, a prose writer
of considerable merit, who will be further noticed in the course of
this history. Perez de Oliva even ventured to make a prose version
of the Electra of Sophocles. This unfortunate attempt appeared under
the title of _La Venganza de Agamemnon_.[278] He also translated the
Hecuba of Euripides. At a somewhat later period the Portuguese comedies
of Vasconcellos, written in the manner of Plautus, were published in
the Castilian language. Translations of several comedies of Plautus
subsequently appeared, and at length Pedro Simon de Abril published a
complete translation of Terence, which is still much esteemed by the
Spaniards.[279] Thus it was not the fault of the erudite party that
the Spanish drama did not resemble the ancient. But to introduce in
Spain the tragic style of the classic drama, in all its poetic purity,
or even the style of the ancient comedies in iambic verse, was an idea
which could only have originated with scholars who did not understand
the character of the Spanish public. The translators, therefore, even
those who endeavoured to conciliate the public taste by prose versions,
formed, with their learned friends, a solitary party. No first rate
poet arose in Spain, like Ariosto in Italy, to amuse and instruct the
public by original dramatic compositions on the classic model. It is
possible that essays in the ancient manner may have been performed on
some Spanish stage, particularly at Seville, but they are now totally
lost; and no attempt seems ever to have been made to represent Spanish
translations of Greek and Latin plays.

The party of the dramatic moralists approximated the closest to
that which has just been described. The interlocutory romance of
Cœlestina,[280] or Calistus and Melibœa, poor in invention, but
possessing in its natural descriptions of common life, an attraction
for many readers, was, on account of its moral tendency, admired as
a master-piece of dramatic art. As this dramatic romance was called
a comedy or tragi-comedy, some of its admirers conceived themselves
bound to write comedies and tragi-comedies in the same style for the
moral benefit of society. Whether these productions were, or were not,
calculated for representation, seems never to have been a subject of
consideration with their authors. They were content if the scenes
which they strung together exhibited in natural language the lowest
pictures of common life, and forcibly marked the dangers attendant
on vice. To do this requires only an ordinary share of talent, and
accordingly Cœlestina was followed by a torrent of similar “Mirrors of
Sin” in the Castilian language. The greater number appeared during the
first half of the sixteenth century, or shortly afterwards; and among
them were _Policiana_, entitled a tragedy;[281] _Perseus and Tibaldea_,
a comedy; _De la hechicera_ (of the Witch), a comedy; _Florinea_, a
comedy, &c. The author of a work of this kind, entitled _La Doleria del
Sueño del Mundo_, (the Anguish of the Sleep of the World,) mentions
in his title-page, that it is a comedy in the style of philosophic
morality, (_Comedia tratada por via de philosophia moral_.) All these
insipid moral lessons were read and admired in their day; but their
extreme length prevented them from getting possession of the stage.[282]

Equally removed from the moral and the erudite party, was Bartholomè
Torres Naharro, a man doubtless of extraordinary talent. He was the
founder of a third party, which uniting with a fourth, that had for a
short interval preceded it, ultimately triumphed as the only national
party, and obtained exclusive control over the Spanish drama. It
is a singular circumstance, and yet one to which the historians of
Spanish literature have not called the attention of their readers,
that Cervantes in his comic sketch of the early History of the Spanish
Drama, mentions not a syllable respecting Torres Naharro, while the
editor of Cervantes’s comedies, who has prefixed to them that sketch,
declares, in his preface, Torres Naharro to be the real inventor of the
forms of the Spanish comedy. Torres Naharro was born in the little town
of Torre, on the Portuguese frontiers, and flourished in the beginning
of the sixteenth century. Of the history of his life but little is
known. All accounts, however, agree in describing him to have been an
ecclesiastic and a man of learning. After a shipwreck which involved
him in various adventures, he arrived at Rome during the pontificate of
Leo X. In that friend of genius he found a distinguished patron. It is,
however, extremely improbable, that his comedies were performed before
the pope at Rome, though such an assertion has been made by Spanish
writers, and has given offence to some Italians. It is certainly by no
means likely, that an occurrence so unusual, should have escaped the
notice of all Italian authors; and Pope Leo can scarcely be supposed
to have had any strong inducement to study the Spanish language which
is not agreeable to Italian ears. It is more probable that Naharro’s
comedies were represented in Naples, for there a Spanish audience
was to be found; and Naharro himself proceeded to Naples when the
difficulties into which his satirical writings involved him, obliged
him to quit Rome.

The above are the only particulars that can be obtained respecting
the life of this extraordinary man; and it is not certain how far
they can be relied on, as they are gathered from writers who do not
mention the sources from whence they derived their information.[283]
It is not improbable that Naharro’s comedies were performed only in
Naples, and not in Spain, where there was no theatre suited to their
representation; for according to the account of Cervantes, who speaks
as an eye-witness, the whole apparatus of a Spanish theatre, about the
middle of the sixteenth century, consisted of a few boards and benches,
and a wardrobe, and decorations, which were contained in a sack.

But whatever may have been the fate of the comedies of Naharro, with
respect to the stage in Spain, they were certainly printed along with
the other poetic works of the author, in the year 1521, or at latest
in 1533, under the learned title of _Propaladia_, intended to signify
exercises in the school of Pallas.[284] Judging from the accounts
given of these dramas by various writers, there is very little doubt
that Torres Naharro was the real inventor of the Spanish comedy. He not
only wrote his eight comedies in redondillas in the romance style, but
he also endeavoured to establish the dramatic interest solely on an
ingenious combination of intrigues, without attaching much importance
to the developement of character, or the moral tendency of the story.
It is besides probable, that he was the first who divided plays into
three acts, which being regarded as three days labour in the dramatic
field, were called _jornadas_.[285] It must, therefore, be unreservedly
admitted, that these dramas, considered both with respect to their
spirit and their form, deserve to be ranked as the first in the history
of the Spanish national drama; for in the same path which Torres
Naharro first trod, the dramatic genius of Spain advanced to the point
attained by Calderon, and the nation tolerated no dramas except those
which belonged to the style which had thus been created.

It would appear, however, that there was something in the plays of
Naharro which did not precisely harmonize with the taste of the Spanish
public, for they were banished from literature and thrown into oblivion
by the prose dramas which Cervantes saw represented in his youth. The
author of these pieces, in which songs are sometimes episodically
introduced, was Lope de Rueda, a native of Seville. This man, who was
a gold-beater by trade, and who had received no literary education,
was notwithstanding endowed with a strong genius for the dramatic art.
Cervantes styles him the great Lope de Rueda. He did not compose his
plays in the character of an author. He was at the head of a little
company of players of whom he was himself the ablest; and his own
taste and that of the public required only such pieces as could be
easily represented on his wretched stage which consisted merely of a
few planks of wood. The most prominent characters in Lope de Rueda’s
dramatic compositions, were those which the author himself performed,
and which, according to the testimony of Cervantes, he delineated in
a highly natural style. In fools, roguish servants, biscayan boors,
and such like characters, he particularly excelled. He did not neglect
to avail himself of the accidental union of the Spanish drama with
pastoral poetry, and he wrote some pastoral dialogues (_coloquios
pastoriles_) in prose. On this account his theatrical wardrobe, of
which Cervantes gives a humorous description, contained four shepherds
dresses of white fur, trimmed with gold, an equal number of wigs and
shepherds crooks, and likewise four beards. The beards, it would
appear were indispensable in comedies of every kind; and the public
became so accustomed to call an old man’s part in comedy the _beard_,
that the theatrical term _barba_ was retained even after the custom of
wearing beards had long been exploded from the stage.

Juan Timoneda has made careful collections of the comedies and
pastoral dramas of Lope de Rueda, by which we are enabled to judge
of the literary merit of these works, divested of the advantage
which they must have derived from the living representation of their
author. Timoneda, who was a bookseller in Valencia, was the friend
and enthusiastic admirer of Lope de Rueda; but in regard to literary
acquirements he ranked somewhat higher than that actor. He was indeed
a man of genius and talent, as is evident from his novels, which are
little known, and which have yet to be more particularly noticed in
this work. He printed in small collections, the pastoral dialogues and
plays of Lope de Rueda, making such alterations as were necessary both
in the language and style.[286] These productions equally indicate the
experienced master in the developement of character, and the untutored
pupil of nature following his own caprice. Lope de Rueda’s pastoral
dialogues possess more dignity, if the term may be used, than his
plays, and they are moreover imbued with a certain poetic character
which harmonizes admirably with the songs occasionally introduced. With
regard to invention and style, however, there is but little difference
between the dialogues and the plays, but the pastoral costume of the
dramatis personæ produces a certain heterogeneous effect; for the half
Arcadian, and half Spanish shepherds, are brought in contact with
negresses, barbers, and other characters of common life and modern
stamp. Lope de Rueda was not inattentive to general character, as is
proved by his delineation of old men, clowns, &c. in which he was
particularly successful. But his principal aim was to interweave in
his dramas, a succession of intrigues; and, as he seems to have been a
stranger to the art of producing stage effect by striking situations,
he made complication the great object of his plots. Thus mistakes,
arising from personal resemblances, exchanges of children, and such
like common place subjects of intrigue, form the ground work of his
stories, none of which are remarkable for ingenuity of invention.
There is usually a multitude of characters in his dramas, and jests
and witticisms are freely introduced, but these in general consist of
burlesque disputes in which some clown is engaged.[287]

It would appear that many comedies in Rueda’s style were at one
time acted, though they are now lost to literature. Cervantes, for
instance, praises the perfection to which that style of comic drama
had been brought by a player, named Naharro of Toledo, who must not be
confounded with Torres Naharro. Cervantes informs us, that this Naharro
augmented the theatrical wardrobe so considerably, that it could no
longer be contained in a bag, but was packed up in boxes and chests.
He exploded the custom of dressing the old characters in beards, and
removed the orchestra, which had previously been stationed behind the
scenes, to the front of the stage. He moreover exhibited imitations
of clouds, of thunder and lightning, made other great improvements in
the scenic machinery, (_tramoyas_), and even introduced single combats
and battles on the stage. His name certainly deserves to be preserved
from oblivion; and it is unfortunate that Cervantes has neglected to
mention what kind of poetry or prose was spoken by the actors in these
new dramatic spectacles.

A Spanish author of learning and merit, named Juan de la Cueva, who
lived about this period, seems to have been the first to perceive that
the Spanish drama could never succeed, if men of literary acquirements,
endowed with genius for dramatic composition, continued opposed to
the popular party. This meritorious author was a native of Seville,
which at that time appears to have been the cradle of every kind of
talent. The history of his life is enveloped in obscurity, and his
various writings, in every class of poetry, notwithstanding the praises
which critics have bestowed on them, are, though not totally sunk into
oblivion, very little known.[288] His copious Art of Poetry in tercets,
which was lately, for the first time, published from manuscript,
contains some important information relative to the history of Spanish
poetry. It is, however, merely written in good versified prose, and
pure language, but is in no respect poetical.[289] This Art of Poetry,
if so it must be called, shews, among other things, how numerous was
the party which at that time endeavoured to give to the Spanish drama
the form of the antique. An author, named Malara, a native of Seville,
who was called the Betisian Menander, in allusion to the Betis or
Gaudalquivir, and six other poets of that city, among whom is Gutierre
de Cetina, the celebrated author of several Spanish comedies in the
ancient style, are honourably mentioned by Juan de la Cueva. But this
judicious writer maintained that there were peculiarities in the
ancient drama, which, though excellent in themselves, would not accord
with the spirit of the moderns. The dramatic laws of the ancients had,
in his opinion, ceased to be obligatory; and he conceived it to be
reasonable that dramatic fictions should be accommodated to the taste
of the age and to the circumstances in which they are written.[290]
The Spanish public had already manifested a strong predilection for
plays in the modern style, and an aversion equally decided from all
the imitations of the dramatic works of the ancients. It was therefore
designedly and with a persevering industry that the Spaniards had
struck out for themselves a new course in dramatic literature. In
genius and taste they could only have vied with the Greeks and Romans,
without surpassing them; but invention, grace, ingenious arrangement,
and a certain art of involving and unravelling the plot, which
foreigners could not imitate, were the qualities on which the glory
of the Spanish drama was destined to be founded.[291] Juan de la
Cueva proceeds to state, that on these principles he had no scruple
in contributing to overthrow the ancient boundary between tragedy
and comedy; and to introduce on the stage, for the sake of variety,
characters clad in the rustic peasant’s garb, along with others
attired in the robes of royalty. Thus far he trod in the footsteps of
Torres Naharro. And yet he appears to have had no distinct knowledge
of the writings of that author; for he never mentions them; while, on
the other hand, speaking of his own works, he observes that he had
abandoned the old custom of dividing dramatic pieces into five acts,
and chose in preference the new method, then in vogue, of arranging
them in jornadas.[292] Cervantes must of course have been ignorant
of the decided testimony thus given by Juan de la Cueva, since he
imagines that he was himself the first to introduce the three divisions
of the Spanish drama. The approbation bestowed on Cueva’s dramatic
works, in the new style, seems, however, to have been but feeble and
transitory; and this explains how the editor of Cervantes’s comedies,
in his account of the early history of the Spanish drama, has omitted
to mention the name of Cueva.

It will, perhaps, be proper to defer entering more fully into the
investigation of the peculiar spirit of the Spanish national drama,
until the writings of Lope de Vega come under consideration; for during
the brilliant career of that author, the new form of the drama took
complete possession of the Spanish theatre, and the older pieces, which
did not fall in with the popular taste, were speedily forgotten by the
public, as the notices of Cervantes clearly shew. But it may be proper
here once for all to remind the reader of a truth now historically
demonstrated, namely, that it was by no means ignorance, or want of
intimacy with the dramatic works of the ancients, which facilitated the
triumph of the modern Spanish drama.

No sufficiently authenticated particulars enable the literary historian
to furnish any thing like positive information respecting the history
of the spiritual dramas of the Spaniards at the period now under
review. Considered generally their origin is sufficiently known; for
dramas of this kind, intended either for amusement or instruction,
were, in the middle ages, performed throughout the whole of the south
of Europe. In Spain, pilgrims assiduously devoted themselves to the
dramatic representation of sacred histories, when they wished to find
an edifying and agreeable relaxation from their severer duties of
praying and journeying from place to place. In these sacred dramas,
the authors often interwove the adventures, whether serious or comic,
in which they had been engaged, or described what they had seen and
learnt in their holy pilgrimages; and the whole was usually seasoned
with a sufficient quantity of jests in the popular style. To manifest
in as palpable a way as possible the power of the sacrament, and the
miraculous effects of faith, were the great objects of the pilgrims;
and there seems to be no doubt that their rude efforts formed the
origin of that class of spiritual plays, which, at a subsequent
period, were performed on the festival of Corpus Christi, and on
other solemn occasions; and which, from their allusion to the mystery
of the sacrament, were styled _Autos Sacramentales_. But at what
particular period examples of these spiritual exhibitions were first
committed to writing, and formed a portion of literature, cannot now be
ascertained. They have sometimes been confounded with the lives of the
saints (_vidas de santos_[293]), which were originally dramatized in
monasteries, and performed by the pupils of the monks, but which are in
fact quite a distinct class of representations. Up to the middle of the
eighteenth century the practice of acting these biographical dramas was
continued in monasteries in different parts of Spain, particularly in
Galicia;[294] and perhaps in that province they yet afford a source of
amusement and edification on festival days, to the pilgrims who visit
the shrine of St. Iago de Compostela.

The burlesque interludes, called _Entremeses_ and _Saynetes_, which
were subsequently divided into various kinds, and were performed
between the preludes (_loas_) and the play, properly so called, appear
also to have had their origin in the first half of the sixteenth
century. Cervantes could refer to no entremeses of an older date,
when he contributed to give to this class of dramatic compositions a
literary form and character.

What has been stated sufficiently proves the powerful control which
the public exercised over the stage. The popular taste demanded an
agreeable amusement, created by the boldest and most varied mixture of
the serious and the comic, of intrigues, sallies of the imagination
and ingenious thoughts, of surprises and animated situations; but it
was not required that either a comic or a tragic scene should tend to
produce any moral impression on the heart, except indeed in so far
as that object may be attributed to the spiritual pieces. But how
did it happen that a people in whom moral gravity has ever been a
national characteristic, should thus shew themselves indifferent to
the moral effects of their dramatic entertainments. The history of the
formation of the Spanish character appears to disclose the cause of
this incongruity so clearly, that it might be said, nature would have
contradicted herself, had not such been the consequence resulting from
that cause. When the treasures of America came to be dispersed through
Spain, luxury and extravagance superseded the old Spanish simplicity.
The age of chivalry was past; and the ecclesiastical fetters imposed
upon opinion and conscience, afforded so little freedom to the mind,
that it was not possible the public could endure, still less enjoy,
moral reflection on the stage. The Spaniard, as a catholic Christian,
devoutly and implicitly submitted his understanding to the doctrines
and mandates of the church; but as a man he ardently longed for
amusements, in which he might allow his heart freely to participate.
Moral reflection then could not be pleasing in any place where he
sought to be gratified by the unconstrained exercise of his feelings;
for every moral thought tended to revive the recollection of the
inquisition. Meanwhile the progress of luxury and the love of pleasure
stimulated the imagination, and increased the appetite for sports
of wit and fancy, which were pushed to the most extravagant excess.
A people of an ardent and enthusiastic temperament, which a genial
climate fostered, were always eager to partake of pleasures which no
king or grand inquisitor threatened to disturb. With a taste thus
formed, and with such claims on dramatic entertainment, the Spaniards
were not to be satisfied with the most ingenious comedies or tragedies,
unless the wildest revels of the imagination and a succession of joyous
and luxuriant forms agitated and interested the mind, and freed it from
all the fetters of maxims and rules of art. To see a variegated ideal
world, a diversified picture of romantic existence, was the object for
which the Spaniard visited the theatre, where he could endure no sort
of regularity, not even that which the nature of the subject seemed
most to require.

This portion of the history of Spanish dramatic poetry must not be
terminated without a particular notice of two tragedies by Geronymo
Bermudez, a Dominican monk of Galicia, who, at the period when he
wrote them, was probably the inmate of a cloister.[295] He did not
think proper to acknowledge himself the author of these dramas, and
he published them under the assumed name of Antonio de Silva.[296]
Among his other poetical works, some Spanish writers mention in
terms of respect, a dull encomium on the Duke of Alba, of whom this
ecclesiastic was an enthusiastic admirer.[297] He lived until the
year 1589. His two tragedies are imitations of the ancient drama,
but they must not be confounded with the essays of the same kind,
which have already been mentioned. Bermudez conceived the happy idea
of selecting a subject from the history of Spain and Portugal, and
dramatizing it according to the rules of the Greek tragedy, without
destroying the modern character of his materials. The well known story
of the unfortunate Ines de Castro, seemed particularly suited to the
object he had in view. Being a Galician, he had, through his native
language, a national relationship to Portugal, and he consequently
took more personal interest in the tragical fate of his heroine,
than was felt by Spaniards in general. He did not commence his task
without apprehension of its success; for, as a Spaniard, he wished
to write in Castilian, and he was, therefore, in some measure, under
the necessity of studying a foreign language. This difficulty he
mentions in his preface. But with all its faults, his attempt proved
so fortunate, that his two tragedies may justly be styled the first
in their kind. Though they are intimately connected, yet each forms
in itself a complete tragic drama. Their titles are whimsical and
affected: the first is denominated, _Nise Lastimosa_, (the Lamentable
Nise); and the second, _Nise Laureada_, (Nise Crowned with Glory).[298]
The characters preserve their historical names. The first of these
tragedies sufficiently proves what may be effected by a poet, even of
moderate talent, when thoroughly penetrated with a poetic subject,
and at the same time possessing the power of expression. The Nise
Lastimosa, it is true, is far from approaching the ideal of tragic
perfection; but some of the scenes fulfil all that the theory of the
dramatic art can require; and energy and dignity of expression are not
wanting even in those passages where the action is tedious and the
incidents ill-connected. The plot is simple, and towards the conclusion
its interest declines. But Bermudez has introduced, with alternate
instances of remarkable dexterity and clumsiness, a chorus composed
of Coimbran women, which is sometimes interwoven with the action of
the drama, and sometimes quite independent of it. The unities of time
and place the author has totally disregarded. The first act opens
with a soliloquy by the Prince Don Pedro, which is beautiful, though
somewhat too long. In it the prince deplores his separation from his
beloved wife.[299] This soliloquy is succeeded by a long conversation
between the prince and his secretary, in which the latter, with all
due courtesy, hints that the attachment of the prince for a lady, not
of royal birth, is incompatible with the welfare of the state.[300]
The scene then changes, and the chorus of Coimbran women is very
absurdly introduced to moralize on love. Thus closes the first act.
In the second, the scene changes to the court, and exhibits the king
amidst his assembled council; the advice of the ministers prevails over
the good disposition of the monarch, and he consents to the death of
Ines de Castro. A soliloquy by the king follows, in which he offers
up his prayers. The scene again changes, and the fair Coimbrans once
more appear to moralize on human happiness. In the third act, however,
a new spirit is infused into the piece, and the chorus partakes in
the action. Ines de Castro appears. The women of the chorus form her
attendants, and offer her consolation and advice. Ines is informed
of the reports that are circulated respecting her fate;[301] but
throughout this act, the progress of the story is nearly suspended.
The fourth act may, however, be accounted almost a masterpiece. Ines
attended by her children and the chorus, appears before the king to
receive her sentence. Nothing can be more impressive than the dignity
with which she demands justice, or more affecting than the tenderness
towards her children, which continually breaks forth in her discourse;
at length she pictures to herself in vivid colours, the sorrows that
await her husband, till exhausted by the vehemence of her feelings, and
gradually losing the use of her faculties, she begins for the first
time to think of her own situation, anticipates the horrors of death,
and swoons, exclaiming _Jesus Maria!_ This scene exhibits a picture so
replete with real pathos, that it may be truly said, modern tragic art
has seldom attained so high a point of perfection.[302] The fifth act
is merely a tedious supplement. The prince is made acquainted with the
death of his wife, and he vents his sorrow in long lamentations.

The tragedy of _Nise Laureada_ is far inferior to that just described.
The story is below criticism; and towards the end becomes revolting
to feelings, which are not blunted by inquisitorial horrors, or sunk
to the level of brutality. The Prince Don Pedro who has now ascended
the throne, orders the remains of his judicially murdered wife to
be taken from the tomb; he then, with great solemnity, invests the
corpse with the dignity of queen, and the ceremony of the coronation
is succeeded by a marriage. Two of the counsellors, whose perverted
and inhuman patriotism had urged them to sacrifice the unhappy Ines,
receive sentence of death and are executed. This is the whole plot,
if so it may be called; and among the acting and speaking characters
the executioners play a prominent part. The first act contains many
beautiful passages; but when the last judicial ceremonies commence,
horror and disgust fill the mind of the reader. The hearts of both
culprits are extracted from their bodies, the one through the breast,
and the other through the back. The most brutal exclamations accompany
the execution of the royal sentence, and the chorus utters shouts of
joy, while the executioner discharges his barbarous task. That these
horrors might be regarded as pathetic incidents by the Spaniards of
that age, accustomed as they were from early childhood to stifle every
sentiment of humanity, and to allow fanatical exultation to overcome
the natural emotions of the heart, whenever a brutal sentence was
pronounced by ecclesiastical, or royal authority, is unfortunately but
too probable. Had it not been for this perversion of feeling, a people,
otherwise so noble-minded, could not have attended the cruel festivals
of their church, and witnessed the burning of Jews and heretics with as
much pleasure as the exhibition of a bull fight.

In order to form a just estimate of the talent of Bermudez, it must
be recollected that he was the first who conceived the idea of giving
a poetic colouring to the history of Ines de Castro. Camoens had not,
at that time, written his Lusiad, in which the same story forms the
subject of a celebrated episode. It may also be observed, that the
labour which Bermudez bestowed on his versification, and particularly
on the varied metres of the choruses of his dramas, ought to have
served as an example to his successors in tragic composition.


Among the works of the poets which come within the period allotted
to the first section of this book, it has already been necessary to
notice some writings in prose. The connexion then subsisting between
Spanish poetry and prose, has thus been rendered more apparent, and
the different works of the same author have been kept together in
examining them. But the poetic talent of some authors of that age, for
example, Perez de Oliva, will not bear a comparison with their merits
as prose writers; and many others who have obtained reputation for
prose composition, must be totally excluded from the rank of poets. In
general the good sense of the Spanish writers has constantly impelled
them to mark a distinct boundary between poetry and prose; and this
separation was never more rigorously maintained than during the first
half of the sixteenth century, when the torrent of romances of chivalry
which then inundated Spain, threatened the common annihilation of
genuine poetry and eloquent prose. As very little has hitherto been
done in this department of literature, advantage cannot fail to be
derived from the labour which may be employed in endeavouring to obtain
something like an accurate introduction to the knowledge of several
good Spanish prose writers, whose names have hitherto scarcely appeared
in the history of modern literature.

Every one who has read Don Quixote must be aware of the enthusiasm
with which romances of chivalry were admired by the Spaniards, at the
end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century. In
the reign of Charles V. this passion became epidemic; for then the
art of printing gave general circulation to the old romances, and new
imitations were not wanting. But the particular account of this portion
of Spanish literature, does not belong to the present subject, and
ought to form the conclusion of the history of the romantic literature
of the middle ages. Besides, the influence of the chivalrous romances
of the sixteenth century, operated on the public only in a peculiar
sense of the term, for every poet and prose writer, of cultivated
talent, laboured to oppose the contagion. There were, however, many
literary partizans, who did not scruple to flatter the public taste by
the grossest absurdities. A writer, named Geronymo de Sanpedro, with
the most devout piety, selected stories from the bible, and clothed
them, as he expresses himself, in the allegoric costume of romance. He
entitled his fantastical work, “The Book of Celestial Chivalry from
the Foot of the Fragrant Rose-bush.[303]” God the Father is introduced
in this edifying production as emperor, and Christ as the knight of
the Lion, (_Caballero del Leon_). In the meantime an opponent of the
zealots of chivalry, named Doctor Alexio de Venegas, anathematized
all romances, which he styled, “Devil’s Sermon Books,” (_Sermonarios
de Satanas_).[304] In this manner parties contended one with another
in Spain, until at length the romantic literature disappeared like a
stream lost amidst sand.

At this period there appears to have existed no novels or romances in
the modern style, except the _Lazarillo de Tormes_ of Diego de Mendoza.
The well known imitations of this first romance of knavery (_del
gusto picaresco_) did not come into circulation before the end of the
sixteenth century. Little stories in the style of the Italian novels
were, it is true, written at an earlier period; but their author, the
bookseller Timoneda, the same individual who collected the comedies and
pastoral dramas of Lope de Rueda, did not venture to prefix to them
the title of _Novelas_. He was aware that he could better recommend
his works to the Spanish public, by giving them the old denomination
of _Patrañas_ (Tales).[305] Timoneda evidently imitated the Italian
novelists, though he by no means equalled them. Still, however, these
antiquated tales may be perused with pleasure, particularly by those
who have a taste for complicated intrigue. The author, it would appear,
endeavoured to surpass the Italian writers in romantic adventures and
unexpected incidents; at least in his preface he expressly promises
this kind of entertainment to his readers.

But it was not merely with romances and novels that genuine prose
literature had to contend in Spain. Several men of distinguished
talent, however far they carried their notions of patriotism in other
respects, were of opinion that the Spanish language was incapable
of expressing grave and noble ideas in prose. Some would write
only in Latin, and others only in Italian. Alphonso de Ulloa, who
was an assiduous historical and political author, wrote chiefly in
Italian.[306] He was, it is true, born in Italy; but he was of a
Spanish family, and the Spanish language was perfectly familiar to him.
The want of confidence thus shewn by Spanish writers in the force
and precision of their own language seems inexplicable, when it is
recollected at how early a period Spanish prose began to be cultivated.
Their intercourse with the Italians had, however, made the Spaniards
perceive a want of elegance both in their colloquial phraseology and
literary style; but that grace which their poets soon began to imitate
from the Italians, is but feebly indicated in the works of the early
Spanish prose writers, whatever other rhetorical merits they might
possess, and a frank simplicity of expression appears still to have
constituted the main character of Spanish prose. Besides, the Italian
prose, which with the exception of the writings of Machiavell and
Guicciardini is distinguished by a playful and too often superficial
elegance, could not be very congenial to the Spanish taste, which
required a grave and energetic style. To imitate the ancient classics
was the only means whereby the prose literature of Spain could have
been cultivated in a manner answerable to the demands of enlightened
men in the sixteenth century. Unfortunately the ecclesiastical
and political despotism of this period left no free scope for the
exercise of the mental powers of those Spaniards who were desirous of
constructing a national prose style on the ancient models. Neither
the didactic nor the historical styles could be freely developed;
and for the formation of the oratorical style, circumstances were,
if possible, still more unfavourable. Impeded by such obstacles, and
permitted only to copy in the strictest sense the rhetorical forms of
the ancients, without their energy and solidity of thought, and their
force of expression, the Spanish prose writers certainly could not
be expected to produce works worthy to be ranked on a level with the
classic examples they would have wished to emulate; but their efforts
to open the career of genuine eloquence to their national literature,
deserves, notwithstanding, to be honourably recorded.

1. DIDACTIC PROSE is, in the Spanish language, indebted
for its first formation to Fernan Perez de Oliva of Cordova. At the
commencement of the sixteenth century this learned man travelled
through Italy and France, and during three years which he spent in
Paris delivered public lectures on philosophy and ancient literature.
On his return to Spain he settled at Salamanca, where he became
professor (_cathedratico_) of theology, and delivered lectures on the
Aristotelian philosophy. He died in 1533, before he had completed his
thirty-sixth year.[307] His philosophic and theological studies, and
his intimacy with Grecian and Roman literature, did not withhold him
from the cultivation of his native language; and he even endeavoured,
by his translations which have already been mentioned,[308] to
naturalize the Greek tragedy in Spain. He also wrote several poems,
which in honour of his memory, are still preserved. But Perez de Oliva
was no poet; and to judge from his translations he appears to have had
scarcely any true poetic feeling, though he possessed a correct and
delicate taste for the rhetorical beauty of prose. His most celebrated
work is his Dialogue on the Dignity of Man (_Dialogo de la Dignidad del
Hombre_) in the manner of Cicero.[309] It would be vain to seek in this
didactic dialogue for ideas which present the merit of novelty in the
present age; and it can by no means be regarded as a model of dialogue
style any more than the similar works of Cicero. But it was the first
specimen in Spanish literature, of clear and connected discussion,
maintained in correct dignified and elegant language. The colloquial
form serves to connect, though somewhat loosely, the two portions into
which the work is divided. Two philosophic friends meet, and their
conversation turns on solitude: they endeavour to explain the causes
which induce man to seek retirement, and which render him dissatisfied
with the society of his fellow creatures. One of the friends inveighs
against human society, while the other extols its advantages. In the
mean while they are joined by a third philosopher who becomes the
arbiter. Before this judge each disputant propounds his opinions in
an uninterrupted discourse. Thus the oratorical style is now mingled
with the didactic, which had before superseded the colloquial style.
This blending of the didactic and oratorical styles, must doubtless be
a subject of critical censure to many readers; but with the exception
of the oratorical passages, the dialogue of Perez de Oliva is written,
in a natural and easy manner.[310] The ideas are for the most part
clearly and accurately developed,[311] and the oratorical language,
particularly where it is appropriately introduced, is powerful and

Perez de Oliva had a successful pupil in his nephew Ambrosio de
Morales, who was also a native of Cordova. This learned writer was
born in the year 1513; after having finished his academic studies at
the university of Alcala de Henares, he delivered public lectures
on philosophy and ancient literature, by which he soon acquired an
honourable reputation. Charles V. appointed him classical tutor to his
natural son Don John of Austria, who afterwards became so celebrated.
On the death of Charles V. Ambrosio de Morales was installed by
King Philip II. in the vacant post of historiographer or chronicler
(_coronista_) of Castile. From the period when he entered upon this
office he appears to have devoted himself exclusively to historical
studies. He died at an advanced age. His didactic works consist of
treatises (_discursos_) on various subjects of practical philosophy
and literature. In one of these treatises, he expressly and urgently
recommends the rhetorical cultivation of the Spanish language, which
the writers of that age so unjustly disowned and neglected to the
great prejudice of literature and even of philosophy.[313] The other
dissertations of this meritorious writer, which are not so much known,
relate to the importance of rhetorical studies; the distinction between
Plato’s and Aristotle’s methods of instruction; the duty of man to
exert himself to the utmost when he wishes for the assistance of the
Almighty; the difference between a great and a good understanding; the
value of wealth, independent of personal merit in the possessor; and
such like objects of general utility. He only occasionally casts a side
glance on the region of speculative philosophy, so that among Germans
he might with propriety be called the Spanish Garve. Like that author
his views were clear rather than profound; and like him also his object
was to write pure didactic prose. His style, though not energetic
nor impressive, is natural, clear, and precise, and not unfrequently
adorned with pleasing images.[314] The pedantic allusions to the
scriptures and to classical literature must be attributed to the age
and country to which Morales belonged.[315]

Pedro de Valles, another native of Cordova, followed the example of
Perez de Oliva, in cultivating prose; but he inclined to the pomp and
antitheses of Seneca, which he was perhaps induced to imitate from
respect for his countryman; for the learned of Cordova have always
prided themselves in being natives of a city which had produced an
ancient author of so much celebrity. Morales, in his collection of his
own and his uncle’s works, has inserted a treatise by Valles on the
Fear of Death.[316]

Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, who lived about the same period,
likewise followed the tract which had been marked out by Perez de
Oliva. Respecting the life of this writer but few particulars are
known; and the resemblance of his name to that of the celebrated
Cervantes Saavedra, does not appear to be a sufficient reason for
concluding that he was related to that distinguished author. Cervantes
de Salazar wrote a continuation of Oliva’s Dialogue on the Dignity
of Man; for he regarded it as unfinished, because Oliva allows the
friend and the enemy of human nature to deliver their opinions,
while the third party, who is appointed the philosophic arbiter,
draws no inference from the arguments he hears. Through the medium
of this third character, Salazar circumstantially recapitulates the
whole theme, and arrives at a decided conclusion. Salazar is a more
contemplative writer than Oliva, who, in other respects appears to
have been his model. He translated from the Greek the Tabla of Cebes,
and from the Latin the _Introductio ad sapientiam_ of Luis Vives, one
of the learned Spaniards who did not choose to write in their native
tongue. He published his continuations and translations along with the
original works.[317]

Among the various works which Cervantes de Salazar published and
elucidated, is an allegorical romance, entitled “_Labricio_, or the
fable (_Apologo_) of Idleness and Industry.” This romance may be placed
if not among, at least beside didactic works, for the allegorical
form serves merely to clothe the ideas, which are very methodically
developed. The author, Luis Mexia, or Messia, was a learned theologian
and jurist. His object was to draw an interesting and animated picture
of the dangers of idleness, the pleasures of occupation, and the value
of well directed industry. Notwithstanding the faults inseparable from
the class of writing to which this work belongs, it presents the charm
of an animated picture conveyed in language, which, though occasionally
declamatory, is, upon the whole, pure and elegant.[318]

2. HISTORICAL PROSE was, during this period, cultivated by
no author in so high a degree as by Diego de Mendoza, whose history
of the wars of Granada, has already been particularly mentioned; all
the other Spanish historians were inferior to Mendoza in every thing
that constitutes the historical art. But they had begun to study that
art, in which they would no doubt have distinguished themselves, had
they not on the one hand been intimidated by the despotism of the
government, and on the other, influenced by a spirit of contradiction,
which induced them to banish from genuine history every trace of
imaginative colouring, lest they should be confounded with the romance
writers of the age.

The historical institution, established by Alphonso the Wise, still
subsisted; for the Spanish government was afraid to incur the shame of
allowing it to perish. National historiographers or chroniclers were
accordingly appointed, and paid in the same manner as formerly; but
after the accession of Charles V. those chroniclers could not venture
to write with freedom, even in favour of the court party. Charles V.
thought it prudent to obliterate as far as possible the recollection
of the powerful opposition he had experienced on his succession to the
Spanish crown. His chronicler, Florian de Ocampo, was a man of talent
and information; and these qualifications soon enabled him to perceive
the necessity of protracting as much as possible the duty assigned to
the old Spanish chroniclers of writing the history of their own age.
Fortunately for him there existed at that period no ancient history of
Spain; and this was a subject on which he could enter, without fear or
constraint, while, at the same time, it afforded scope for a singular
display of erudition. Ocampo accordingly wrote his five books of a
General Chronicle of Spain. By the selection of this deceiving title,
Ocampo appeared to be fulfilling the duties of his office; but the five
books of his General Chronicle contain nothing more than the history
of ancient Hispania, from the deluge to the second punic war.[319] The
work is not badly written, though it presents nothing particularly
attractive either in the style or in the handling of the subject.
Ocampo selected his materials chiefly from the ancient authors, with
whom he must have been intimately acquainted; but as far as relates
to historical art he avoided imitating his classical models, because,
as he says, he was afraid to substitute for truth “the rhetorical
flourishes and vanities, which appear in other books of the present
time.”[320] Like some German historians, he seems to have prided
himself in his dulness.

Those truths which dared not be publicly told in the reign of Charles
V. still remained secrets under the government of Philip II. But even
the latter monarch did not suffer the office of national chronicler to
be discontinued; and he nominated a particular historiographer for the
provinces of Castile, and another for those of Arragon. The learned
Ambrosio de Morales, who took so lively an interest in the advancement
of the rhetorical art, was, as has already been mentioned, appointed
chronicler for the Castilian provinces. But with all his talent and
information, Morales was not the man precisely calculated to occupy
this situation, had he wished strictly to discharge its duties. He
had little taste for politics, and modern history was not the branch
of literature in the cultivation of which he was likely to find the
employment best suited to his talents. He therefore could do nothing
which better accorded with his own inclination, and the circumstances
in which he was placed, than to follow the footsteps of Ocampo, and
to continue the ancient history of Spain from the second punic war to
the establishment of christianity.[321] He vied with his predecessor
in research and erudition; while, at the same time, he devoted far
more attention to composition and style. In his preface, he states
that he availed himself of this opportunity of proving the dignity
and majesty of the Spanish language; and in that respect he rose far
superior to the usual chronicle style. In point of elegance, however,
he did not equal cardinal Bembo, while he really had no more idea than
that author, of the soul of the historical art, of which elegance is
merely an accessary.[322] Towards the close of his work, when he came
to the christian ages, his zeal induced him to insert the lives of the
saints of Spanish origin; and certainly no writer before his time ever
gave to that description of biography so much elegance and historical
dignity. Indeed the simplicity to which Morales was always faithful, is
a remarkable feature in the works of an author who was so ambitious of
distinguishing himself by his style.

There appeared, however, at this time, another author, who might have
become, if not the Livy, at least the Machiavell of Spain, had he been
placed in more favourable circumstances, and been disposed to devote
himself to the rhetorical cultivation of his talent for historical
composition. He was a native of Arragon, and his name was Geronymo
Zurita, Surita or Curita, for it is written in these different ways.
Philip II. appointed him historiographer of the Arragonian provinces,
an office which he was well qualified to fill. Like all educated
Arragonese, he wrote Castilian with as much facility as his mother
tongue. As a politician, however, he entertained views respecting the
practical application of history, which though clear and well founded,
were not likely to be very acceptable to a despotic sovereign. Zurita
undertook, not merely the tedious task of exploring the old chronicles
and records, to which he had access, in order to produce a complete
history of the kingdom of Arragon, from the Moorish invasion to the
reign of Charles V. he was moreover desirous that his historical
labour should exhibit a faithful view of the rise and formation of the
national constitution of Arragon. The modern historian, who may wish
to investigate this particular point, ought to resort to the pages of
Zurita, for it will be difficult for him to find a more instructive
author. Zurita gave to his historical work the title of Annals,[323]
which he conceived to be more appropriate than that of chronicle. But
he felt the difficulty of the task he had undertaken, when he attempted
to develope the republican principles of the Arragonian provinces, and
at the same time to do homage to the caprice of an absolute monarch.
He must necessarily have written this part of his work in the total
absence of inspiration, for the only practical conclusion he draws
from his researches is the trite maxim, “that subjects ought to be
content if peace and tranquillity prevail in the country in which they
live;”[324] and it must be confessed that for peace and tranquillity,
in a certain sense, Philip II. with the help of the Duke of Alba and
the inquisition, had sufficiently provided. But in order to judge how
Zurita would have written, had he been permitted to write freely, the
grounds of the decision must be collected only from detached passages
of his work. His execution indeed is not so inviting as to excite
a strong desire for the perusal of the whole. He seems during his
laborious researches unconsciously to have imbibed the formal style
of the chroniclers, their constantly recurring _and_ not excepted;
while he did not allow himself time to separate the important from
the unimportant, and by a judicious distribution of his materials to
compose a pleasing historical picture. In a literary contest, which
arose respecting the merits and defects of these Annals of Arragon,
their value, in a rhetorical point of view, was never taken into

3. ORATORICAL PROSE.--To other classes of prose writing,
the Spaniards at this time devoted but little attention; but two
printed discourses by Perez de Oliva well deserve to be more generally
known. The one was delivered at the request of a society of patriotic
citizens of Cordova, and it relates to the advantages to be derived
from the navigation of the Guadalquivir. In the first part of this
discourse, the learned orator certainly wanders far from his subject,
for he speaks of the Greeks and Romans, and even of the Trojan war;
but the second part contains a view of the business in hand, which
is vigorously unfolded, full of sound sense, and divested of all
affectation and pedantry. The second discourse promises but little,
for it is merely described as an academic occasional and defensive
address; but it contains a very good explanation of the literary duties
of a professor of moral philosophy, together with some particulars
respecting the literary life of the author, which are related in an
excellent oratorical style.[325]

4. Of the EPISTOLARY PROSE of this age but few printed
specimens exist; and it may be presumed that the Spaniards could
not experience much pleasure in written correspondence, after their
epistolary style had, like that of their social conversation, become
subject to the restraint of the ceremonial forms with which the
Italians and the Germans were about the same time infected. With
whatever ease _vuessa merced_ (your grace or your worship) especially
when contracted in conversation into _usté_, might glide, as a mere
form of courtesy through Spanish lips, its frequent occurrence could
not fail to have a very embarrassing effect in the periods of familiar
letters. This formula which every man of education employed in
addressing his equals, exhibits a striking contrast to the higher
ceremonial style, which the king himself observed in corresponding with
his relatives. Among the Spanish epistolary documents of the sixteenth
century, there has been preserved a letter from Philip II. to his
natural brother, Don John of Austria. This letter appears to be a kind
of supplement, written by the king himself, to the commission by which
Don John was appointed high admiral of the Spanish fleets (_capitan
general de la mar_). The king with old Spanish cordiality calls Don
John, “brother,” (_hermano_), without any other title; and when he
addresses him in the course of the letter, he uses the pronoun _you_,
after the old fashion. In reminding his natural brother of his duties,
he recommends to him integrity, as next in importance to religion.[326]

There is also preserved a letter from the Duke of Alba, of odious
celebrity, to Don John of Austria. It contains military instructions
expressed with precision and dignified simplicity; but the style is
encumbered by the repetition of titles. Both letters are contained in
a collection published by the diligent Gregorio Mayans y Siscar.[327]


It would scarcely be worth while to say any thing relative to Spanish
criticism during the period this section embraces, were it not that
among the books of instruction on poetry and rhetoric which then
appeared, there was one, which besides being extraordinary for the
age in which it was produced, may be regarded as the first of its
kind in modern literature. It is entitled, the Philosophy of the
Ancient Style of Poetry, which in Spanish is somewhat fantastically
expressed, _Philosophia Antigua Poetica_. This work is the production
of Alonzo Lopez Pinciano, physician to Charles V. who as has been
mentioned, was likewise the author of an unsuccessful heroic poem.[328]
Though Pinciano possessed few qualifications for a poet, he had
nevertheless conceived the idea of writing an Art of Poetry, which
should be something more than a mere introduction to versification
and instructions relative to correct and figurative expression.
Speculations on the elements of poetry constituted his chief
occupation, when relieved from the duties of his profession. He had
so carefully studied Aristotle’s Art of Poetry, and so attentively
compared it with the other writings of the same author, that of all
the admirers of that work, he was probably the first who discovered
its imperfection. He says--“what is called Aristotle’s Art of Poetry
cannot, if rightly understood, be regarded in any other light than as
a fragment; for Aristotle, in various passages of his other works,
refers to a second part of this Art of Poetry, which is lost.”
Pinciano’s conjectures respecting the contents of the lost part, and
its connection with the fragment now existing, have, it is true,
been contradicted by more modern critics; but this physician was
nevertheless the first to observe that imperfection which had escaped
the notice of all previous philologists and commentators on Aristotle.
He remarks, that the philologists and commentators have written very
learned works; which, however, are as imperfect as the text which they
elucidate. With the view of restoring poetry to its ancient dignity,
and establishing and developing its true spirit, Lopez Pinciano
commences with an Analysis of the Wants of Human Nature. He treats
minutely of the senses, of the affections, the faculties of the soul,
wisdom, and the pleasures peculiar to cultivated minds, but always
with reference to the works of Aristotle, whom, like other writers
of that age, he merely designates by the title of the _philosopher_.
Like Aristotle, he makes imitation the essence of poetry; but with
a particular and more precise definition of what in his opinion
constitutes poetic imitation. He then enters upon reflections
concerning poetic language, and gives a detailed theory of the several
kinds of poetry. The present, however, is not the proper place to
present an explanation of this theory. Whenever Lopez Pinciano abandons
Aristotle, his notions respecting the different poetic styles are as
confused as those of his contemporaries; and only a few of his notions
and distinctions can be deemed of importance at the present day. But
his name is deserving of honourable remembrance, for he was the first
writer of modern times who endeavoured to establish a philosophic
art of poetry; and with all his veneration for Aristotle, he was the
first scholar who ventured to think for himself, and to go somewhat
further than his master. He also evinced a laudable perseverance in
the execution of his task. Pinciano’s learned and ingenious work was
not quite so useful as it might have been, owing in a great measure to
its artificial and formal manner of composition, which, however, the
author considered singularly easy and natural. This Art of Poetry is
written in the form of letters, (which was in itself a novelty at that
age), and in these letters, conversations are occasionally introduced.
The friend who answers, invariably gives an abstract of the letter he
has last received, as a proof that he understands its contents and its
object. Lopez Pinciano, however, cannot be regarded as a model in
epistolary and conversational prose any more than in poetry.

The authors of the other arts of poetry which appeared about this time
in the Spanish language, merely confined themselves to the explanation
of metrical forms and the establishment of subordinate principles.
Among these authors were Sanchez de Viena, Geronymo de Mondragon, and
Juan Diaz.[329] An Art of Poetry of the same description in verse,
by Juan de la Cueva, has already been mentioned. From a philosophic
treatise of this kind, Spanish poetry could derive no advantage,
unless its origin had been totally different from what it really was.
Theories, even the most popular, can contribute only in a very slight
degree to the formation of the poetic genius, either of nations or

Several works on the art of rhetoric, in which the principles of
Aristotle were followed, appeared about this time in Spain; but they
produced nothing valuable with respect to theory, and exercised no
remarkable influence on the improvement of Spanish prose.


    _History of Spanish Poetry and Eloquence, from the Age of
    Cervantes and Lope de Vega to the Middle of the Seventeenth

Spanish literature had now assumed a new character. Classical poets
wrote in the Castilian language; and elegant prose was cultivated with
equal rapidity and success on the model of the ancients. No great
advantage could henceforth be derived from the imitation of the Italian
poets, for the genius of the Spanish nation had well nigh decided how
far and under what limitations the Italian poetry could be naturalized
in Spain. But laurels were yet to be gathered on the new Parnassus;
and the conflict between the ancient and modern styles, had, through
the disputes of the different parties, who sought to rule the Spanish
drama, at length arrived at a crisis. Under these circumstances,
Cervantes and Lope de Vega entered upon the career which their
predecessors had opened for them.


The life of this extraordinary man, whom, for the space of two
centuries, civilized Europe has admired above every other Spanish
writer, has been so frequently related, that a brief abstract of his
biography, derived from the most authentic sources, will be sufficient
for the purpose of this history.[330]

It is a singular fact, that the contemporaries of this celebrated man,
whom every town, not merely in Spain, but throughout the world, would
be proud to have produced, should have neglected to record his native
place. After long investigations and warm disputes, which call to
mind the contests of the seven Greek towns, for the honour of having
given birth to Homer, it is at length agreed that the greatest share
of probability belongs to the conjecture, according to which Miguel de
Cervantes Saavedra was born at Alcalà de Henàres in the year 1547. His
parents, who were not rich, were merely enabled to give him a moderate,
but at the same time a literary education. They sent him to the schools
of Madrid, where he acquired some knowledge of classical learning.
At Madrid he had an opportunity of witnessing the dramas which the
ingenious Lope de Rueda represented on his wretched stage. Juan
Lopez, the tutor of Cervantes, was an indefatigable writer of poetry,
particularly of romances, and he sought every means of cherishing his
pupils’ taste for poetic composition. Some verses by Cervantes were
introduced in a description of the funeral of a Spanish princess, which
Lopez published in 1569.

But young Cervantes, who had now attained his twenty-second year,
seems to have had no certain means of gaining a subsistence. He wrote
numerous romances and sonnets; and it was probably about this period
that he composed a pastoral romance, entitled _Filena_, which, if we
may give credit to his own testimony, was very generally read.[331] It
appears that he thought he could better his condition by travelling;
and he resolved to proceed to Italy. Here commences the period of his
adventures. In Rome, cardinal Acquaviva for a short time became his
patron and protector. But impelled either by necessity or choice, he
entered into the military profession. He enlisted under the banners
of his sovereign, to serve in the wars against the Turks and African
corsairs, who at that time disturbed the tranquillity of Spain and
Italy. During the war he proved himself to be wholly devoted to his
new profession; but being engaged in the great battle of Lepanto, in
1572, he received a wound which deprived him of his left hand together
with a part of the arm. This honourable mutilation, to which he proudly
alludes in his latter writings, obliged him to return to Spain. The
ship, however, in which he had embarked, was captured by an Algerine
corsair, and Cervantes was conveyed to Algiers and sold for a slave.
His captivity which lasted for nearly eight years, must have been of
the most romantic description, if the fact be, as has frequently been
conjectured, that Cervantes described his own adventures in the novel
of the Captive.[332] He was at length ransomed, and in the year 1581 he
returned to his native country.

The third period of the life of Cervantes was exclusively devoted
to literature. He had now attained his thirty-second year, and with
a matured understanding, joined to considerable practical knowledge
of the world, and an ardent passion for literature, he resolved to
withdraw from the busy scene of life. In his retirement he wrote his
second pastoral romance, entitled _Galatea_, which has so eclipsed
Filena, that the latter is quite neglected and forgotten. He shortly
afterwards married, and in all probability lived for some time on his
wife’s dowry. At length he began to write for the stage; but the dramas
which he composed at this period of his life, though about thirty in
number, are nearly all lost.[333]--About this time arose the rivalry
between Cervantes and Lope de Vega, whose dramas were so much admired
that they bore away the palm of public favour. Mortified, as it would
appear, by the ill success of his dramatic efforts, Cervantes laid
aside his pen for a considerable period. It is conjectured, that in
the meanwhile he obtained a post in Seville, the emoluments of which
enabled him to subsist. He did not again appear in the literary world
until the death of Philip II. in the year 1598.

It can scarcely be doubted, though no Spanish writer has made the
conjecture, that the death of Philip II. had a favourable influence
on the genius of Cervantes. After the accession of the indolent
Philip III. every man in Spain felt that he might then have more
freedom than he dared to take during the gloomy intolerance of the
preceding reign. The Spaniards now ventured to sport with the chains
which they had not the power to break, and delicate satire was soon
freely employed. Cervantes quickly found a subject for ridicule, in an
outrageous contest which arose in Seville between the spiritual and
municipal authorities, concerning the funeral obsequies of the deceased
monarch. There is reason to believe that he composed, about the same
period, some of the Instructive Novels (_Novelas Exemplares_), which
he subsequently published. What accident gave rise to the idea of his
Don Quixote is unknown; for his having, while travelling through the
province of la Mancha, become engaged in disputes with some of the
inhabitants, and his being on that account for a short time imprisoned,
can at most be only supposed to have suggested the idea of making that
province the scene of the first part of his romance. Some fortunate
circumstance, which cannot now be traced, seems to have impressed
Cervantes, who was then in his fiftieth year, with the consciousness of
the true bent of his genius. The commencement of Don Quixote was first
published at Madrid, in 1606; but the enthusiastic reception which this
original romance experienced from the Spanish public, produced very
little change in the author’s fortune; for the folly which felt itself
disturbed in its security united with envy in seeking to discover the
most offensive allusions in the work. Cervantes accordingly continued
poor, and had now to contend with exasperated enemies, who imagined
they had completely defeated him, when an unknown writer of their own
party, under the name of Avellaneda, published a continuation of Don
Quixote, full of invective against the original author. Precisely at
the period when this continuation appeared, Cervantes published the
sequel of his Instructive Novels, which he dedicated to the Count of
Lemos. In that nobleman he found a protector who never withdrew his
favour, and who, as it appears, afforded him support in various ways.
Pecuniary necessity seems, however, to have urged him, as a last
resource, to write for the stage.

The latest works of Cervantes, were the genuine continuation and
completion of Don Quixote, the Journey to Parnassus, which was first
published in 1614, and finally the romance of Persiles and Sigismunda,
for which, a few days previous to his death, he wrote a dedication
to the Count of Lemos. From various passages in the prefaces and
introductions to these last works, it is obvious how highly Cervantes
prized that celebrity which, after many abortive efforts, he had at
length obtained in his old age. But even where his vanity is not
disguised, it is easy, from the candid tone in which he speaks of
himself, to recognize the man of firm and upright spirit, the declared
enemy of every sort of affectation, and the honest and liberal judge
of himself and others. He died in poverty, though not in extreme want,
at Madrid, in 1616, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. He was buried
privately, without any kind of distinction, and not even a common
tomb-stone marks the spot where the ashes of Cervantes repose.

Were we to arrange the works of Cervantes according to their merits,
the first place must be assigned to Don Quixote, which is moreover
entitled to the supremacy, inasmuch as it is single in its kind.

To enter into a description of the contents of this universally known
master-piece, or to give a circumstantial analysis of its plan,
would be equally superfluous. A few words, however, on the happy and
original idea which forms the foundation of the whole work may here be
introduced. It has often been said, though the opinion has, perhaps,
not been fully weighed, nor even expressed with sufficient precision,
that the venerable knight of La Mancha is the immortal representative
of all men of exalted imagination, who carry the noblest enthusiasm to
a pitch of folly; because with understandings in other respects sound,
they are unable to resist the fascinating power of a self-deception,
by which they are induced to regard themselves as beings of a superior
order. None but an experienced observer of mankind, endowed with
profound judgment, and a genius to the penetrating glance of which one
of the most interesting recesses of the human heart had been newly
disclosed, could have seized the idea of such a romance with energetic
decision. None but a poet and a man of wit could have thrown so much
poetic interest into the execution of that idea; and none but an author
who had at his disposal all the richness and variety of one of the
finest languages in the world, could have diffused over such a work
that classical perfection of expression, which gives the stamp of
excellence to the whole. The originality of the idea of Don Quixote is
not only historically demonstrated, by no romance of a similar kind
having previously existed--for pictures of ingenious roguery in the
style of Lazarillo de Tormes, belong to a totally different species of
comic romance--but it is also physiologically certain, that a creative
fancy, which was only capable of continuing to invent where another had
stopt, could not, with the boldness of Cervantes, have combined traits,
apparently heterogeneous, in order thereby to exhaust to the utmost
the idea by which he was inspired. Those who are acquainted with Don
Quixote only through the medium of the common translations, will not
certainly be inclined to regard it as a work of inspiration, in the
highest sense of the word. But it is impossible to form a more mistaken
notion of this work, than to consider it merely as a satire, intended
by the author to ridicule the absurd passion for reading old romances
of chivalry. Doubtless this is one of the objects which Cervantes had
in view; for among the romances which the Spanish public indefatigably
perused, few were tolerable, and only one or two possessed first-rate
merit. We must not, however, attribute to him the absurd conceit of
wishing to prove the prejudicial influence, which the reading of bad
romances produced on the taste of the Spanish nation, by exhibiting
the individual folly of an enthusiast, who would have been just as
likely to have lost his senses by the study of Plato or Aristotle, as
by the reading of romances of chivalry. The merit and the richness
of the idea of a man of elevated character, excited by heroic and
enthusiastic feelings to the extravagant pitch of wishing to restore
the age of chivalry, must be regarded as the seed of inspiration
whence the whole work originated. As a poet, Cervantes was aware of
the resources which this idea furnished; and he must also have been
satisfied with his power to prosecute it, as he has proved in the
execution what he was capable of accomplishing. In the invention of a
series of comic situations in the most burlesque style, he found full
scope for the exercise of his fancy. The painting of these situations
afforded opportunities for the free and energetic developement of his
poetic talent. Finally, he knew how to combine the knowledge of human
nature, which he had acquired during a life of fifty years, with the
most delicate satire, so as to render his comic romance also a book of
moral instruction, to which no parallel existed. These brief remarks
on the idea which forms the foundation of the romance of Don Quixote,
must be allowed to supply the place of a detailed analysis of the
manner in which that celebrated work is composed. Other critics have
sufficiently proved that the composition is by no means faultless.
In the preface to the second part, Cervantes has himself pointed out
some inadvertences which produce incongruities in the history, but he
disdained to correct them, because he conceived that they had been too
severely condemned.

The character of the execution of this comic romance, is no less
original than the invention. Character in the strictest sense of the
term is here meant. The superficial sketches of a sportive fancy, for
which the Spaniards in the age of Cervantes entertained so high a
predilection, had not sufficient interest for him. He felt a passion
for the vivid painting of character, as all his successful works
prove. Under the influence of this feeling, he not only drew the
natural and striking portrait of his heroic Don Quixote, so truly
noble-minded, and so enthusiastic an admirer of every thing good and
great, yet having all those fine qualities, accidentally blended
with a relative kind of madness; but he likewise pourtrayed, with no
less fidelity, the opposite character of Sancho Panza, a compound of
grossness and simplicity, whose low selfishness leads him to place
blind confidence in all the extravagant hopes and promises of his
master. The subordinate characters of the great picture exhibit equal
truth and decision: but the characteristic tone of the whole is still
more remarkable. A translator cannot commit a more serious injury to
Don Quixote, than to dress that work in a light anecdotical style. A
style perfectly unostentatious and free from affectation, but at the
same time solemn, and penetrated, as it were, with the character of the
hero, diffuses over this comic romance an imposing air, which, were it
not so appropriate, would seem to belong exclusively to serious works,
and which is certainly difficult to be seized in a translation. But it
is precisely this solemnity of language, which imparts a characteristic
relief to the comic scenes. It is the genuine style of the old romances
of chivalry, improved and applied in a totally original way; and only
where the dialogue style occurs is each person found to speak, as he
might be expected to do, and in his own peculiar manner. But wherever
Don Quixote himself harangues, the language re-assumes the venerable
tone of the romance style;[334] and various uncommon expressions of
which the hero avails himself, serve to complete the delusion of
his covetous squire, to whom they are only half intelligible.[335]
This characteristic tone diffuses over the whole a poetic colouring,
which distinguishes Don Quixote from all comic romances in the
ordinary style; and that poetic colouring is moreover heightened by
the judicious choice of episodes. The essential connection of these
episodes with the whole has sometimes escaped the observation of
critics, who have regarded, as merely parenthetical, those parts in
which Cervantes has most decidedly manifested the poetic spirit of
his work. The novel of _El Curioso Impertinente_, cannot indeed be
ranked among the number of these essential episodes; but the charming
story of the shepherdess Marcella, the history of Dorothea, and the
history of the rich Camacho and the poor Basilio, are unquestionably
connected with the interest of the whole. These serious romantic parts,
which are not, it is true, essential to the historical connection, but
strictly belong to the characteristic dignity of the whole picture,
also prove how far Cervantes was from the idea usually attributed to
him of writing a book merely to excite laughter. The passages which
common readers feel inclined to pass over, are, in general, precisely
those in which Cervantes has shewn himself more a poet, and for which
he has manifested an evident predilection. On such occasions he also
introduces among his prose, episodical verses, which are for the most
part excellent in their kind, and which no translator can omit without
doing violence to the spirit of the original.

Were it not for the happy art with which Cervantes has contrived to
preserve an intermediate tone between pure poetry and prose, Don
Quixote would not deserve to be cited as the first classic model of
the modern romance or novel. It is, however, fully entitled to that
distinction. Cervantes was the first writer who formed the genuine
romance of modern times on the model of the original chivalrous
romance, that equivocal creation of the genius and the barbarous
taste of the middle ages. The result has proved that modern taste,
however readily it may in other respects conform to the rules of the
antique, nevertheless requires in the narration of fictitious events,
a certain union of poetry with prose which was unknown to the Greeks
and Romans in their best literary ages. It was only necessary to
seize on the right tone, but that was a point of delicacy which the
inventors of romances of chivalry were not able to comprehend. Diego
de Mendoza, in his Lazarillo de Tormes, departed too far from poetry.
Cervantes, in his Don Quixote, restored to the poetic art the place
it was entitled to hold in this class of writing: and he must not
be blamed if cultivated nations have subsequently mistaken the true
spirit of his work, because their own novelists had led them to regard
common prose as the style peculiarly suited to romance composition.
Don Quixote is moreover the undoubted prototype of the comic novel.
The humorous situations are, it is true, almost all burlesque, which
was certainly not necessary, but the satire is frequently so delicate,
that it escapes rather than obtrudes on unpractised attention; as for
example in the whole picture of the administration of Sancho Panza in
his imaginary island. Besides, the language even in the description
of the most burlesque situations, never degenerates into vulgarity.
Throughout the whole work it is in general noble, correct, and so
highly polished, that it would not disgrace even an ancient classic
of the first rank.[336] This explanation of a part of the merits of
a work, which has been so often wrongly judged, may, perhaps, seem to
belong rather to the eulogist than the calm and impartial historian.
Let those who may be inclined to form this opinion, study Don Quixote
in the original language, and study it rightly, for it is not a book
to be judged by a superficial perusal. But care must be taken that the
intervention of many subordinate traits, which were intended to have
only a transient national interest, does not produce an error in the
estimate of the whole.

It would be scarcely possible to arrange the other works of Cervantes
according to a critical judgment of their importance; for the merits
of some consist in the admirable finish of the whole, while others
exhibit the impress of genius in the invention, or some other
individual feature. A distinguished place must, however, be assigned
to the _Novelas Exemplares_ (Moral or Instructive Tales.) They are
unequal in merit as well as in character. Cervantes, doubtless,
intended that they should be to the Spaniards nearly what the novels
of Boccacio were to the Italians: some are mere anecdotes, some are
romances in miniature, some are serious, some comic, and all are
written in a light, smooth, conversational style. With regard to the
practical knowledge which these novels are intended to convey to the
reader, Cervantes has effected more than Boccacio; and at all events
he extended the literature of his country by their publication, for no
similar compositions had previously existed in the Spanish language.
In them Cervantes has again proved himself the experienced judge of
mankind, and has given, with admirable success, truly genuine and
judicious representations of nature, in the various situations of real
life. The reader must naturally feel inclined to pardon the want of
plan which this little collection of novels occasionally exhibits,
when he finds that the author through the medium of his characters
relates and describes all that he had himself seen and experienced
under similar circumstances, particularly during his abode in Italy
and Africa. The history of the _Licenciado Vidriera_, (the Glass
Licentiate) which is the fifth in the collection, is totally destitute
of plan, and is related in simple prose like a common anecdote. But the
novel of _La Gitanilla_, (the Gipsey Girl) is ingeniously conceived and
poetically coloured; and the same may be said of some others. The story
of _Rinconete y Cortadilla_, or the Lurker and the Cutter, as the names
with reference to their etymology may be translated,[337] is a comic
romance in miniature.

_Galatea_, the pastoral romance which Cervantes wrote in his youth, is
a happy imitation of the Diana of Montemayor, but exhibiting a still
closer resemblance to Gil Polo’s continuation of that poem.[338] Next
to Don Quixote and the _Novelas Exemplares_, this pastoral romance is
particularly worthy of attention, as it manifests in a striking way
the poetic direction in which the genius of Cervantes moved even at
an early period of life, and from which he never entirely departed in
his subsequent writings. As, however, the Galatea possesses but little
originality, it constantly excites the recollection of its models, and
particularly of the Diana of Gil Polo. Of the invention of the fable
likewise, but little can be said, for though the story is continued
through six books, it is still incomplete. In composing this pastoral
romance, Cervantes seems to have had no other object than to clothe
in the popular garb of a tale, a rich collection of poems in the old
Spanish and Italian styles, which he could not have presented to the
public under a more agreeable form. The story is merely the thread
which holds the beautiful garland together; for the poems are the
portion of the work most particularly deserving attention. They are
as numerous as they are various: and should the title of Cervantes
to rank, with respect to verse as well as to prose, among the most
eminent poets, or his originality in versified composition, be called
in question, an attentive perusal of the romance of Galatea must banish
every doubt on these points. It was remarked by the contemporaries of
Cervantes that he was incapable of writing poetry, and that he could
compose only beautiful prose; but that observation had reference solely
to his dramatic works. Every critic, sufficiently acquainted with his
lyrical compositions, has rendered justice to their merits. From the
romance of Galatea it is obvious that Cervantes composed in all the
various kinds of syllabic measure which were used in his time. He even
occasionally adopted the old dactylic stanza.[339] He appears to have
experienced some difficulty in the metrical form of the sonnet, and
his essays in that style are by no means numerous;[340] but his poems
in Italian octaves display the utmost facility; and among the number,
the song of Calliope in the last book of the Galatea is remarkable for
the graceful ease of the versification.[341] In the same manner as
Gil Polo in his Diana makes the river Turia pronounce the praises of
the celebrated Valencians, the poetic fancy of Cervantes summoned the
muse Calliope before the shepherds and shepherdesses, to render solemn
homage to those contemporaries whom he esteemed worthy of distinction
as poets. But the critic can scarcely venture to place reliance on
praises which are dealt out with such profuse liberality. The most
beautiful poems in the Galatea are a few in the cancion style, some
of which are in iambics,[342] and some in trochaic or old Spanish
verse.[343] Cervantes has here and there indulged in those antiquated
and fantastic plays of wit, which at a subsequent period he himself
ridiculed.[344] The prose of the Galatea, which is in other respects so
beautiful, is also occasionally overloaded with a sort of epithetical

Cervantes displays a totally different kind of poetic talent in
the _Viage al Parnaso_, (Journey to Parnassus) a work which cannot
properly be ranked in any particular class of literary composition, but
which, next to Don Quixote, is the most exquisite production of its
extraordinary author. The chief object of the poem is to satirize the
false pretenders to the honours of the Spanish Parnassus, who lived
in the age of the author. But this satire is of a peculiar character:
it is a most happy effusion of sportive humour, and it yet remains a
matter of doubt whether Cervantes intended to praise or to ridicule
the individuals whom he points out as being particularly worthy of the
favour of Apollo. He himself says--“Those whose names do not appear
in this list, may be just as well pleased as those who are mentioned
in it.” To characterize true poetry according to his own poetic
feelings; to manifest in a decided way his enthusiasm for the art even
in his old age; and to hold up a mirror for the conviction of those
who were only capable of making rhymes and inventing extravagances,
seem to have been the objects which Cervantes had principally in view
when he composed this satirical poem. Concealed satire, open jesting,
and ardent enthusiasm for the beautiful, are the boldly combined
elements of this noble work. It is divided into eight chapters, and
the versification is in tercets. The composition is half comic and
half serious. After many humorous incidents, Mercury appears to
Cervantes, who is represented as travelling to Parnassus in the most
miserable condition; and the god salutes him with the title of the
“Adam of poets.”[346] Mercury after addressing to him many flattering
compliments, conducts him to a ship entirely built of different kinds
of verse, and which is intended to convey a cargo of Spanish poets to
the kingdom of Apollo. The description of the ship is an admirable
comic allegory.[347] Mercury shews him a list of the poets with
whom Apollo wishes to become acquainted; and this list, owing to the
problematic nature of its half ironical and half serious praises, has
proved a stumbling block to commentators. In the midst of the reading
Cervantes suddenly drops the list. The poets are now described as
crowding on board the ship in numbers as countless as drops of rain in
a shower, or grains of sand on the sea coast; and such a tumult ensues,
that to save the ship from sinking by their pressure, the sirens raise
a furious storm. The flights of imagination become more wild as the
story advances. The storm subsides, and is succeeded by a shower of
poets, that is to say, poets fall from the clouds. One of the first
who descends on the ship is Lope de Vega, on whom Cervantes seizes
this opportunity of pronouncing a pompous eulogium. The remainder of
the poem, a complete analysis of which would occupy too much space,
proceeds in the same spirit. One of the most beautiful pieces of verse
ever written by Cervantes, is his description of the goddess Poesy,
whom he sees in all her glory in the kingdom of Apollo.[348] To this
fine picture the portrait of the goddess Vain-Glory, who afterwards
appears to the author in a dream, forms an excellent companion.[349]
Among the passages which for burlesque humour vie with Don Quixote is
the description of a second storm, in which Neptune vainly endeavours
to plunge the poetasters to the bottom of the deep. Venus prevents
them from sinking, by changing them into empty gourds and leather
bottles.[350] At length a formal battle is fought between the real
poets and some of the poetasters. The poem is throughout interspersed
with singularly witty and beautiful ideas; and only a very few passages
can be charged with feebleness or langour. It has never been equalled,
far less surpassed by any similar work, and it had no prototype. The
language is classical throughout; and it is only to be regretted, that
Cervantes has added to the poem a comic supplement in prose, in which
he indulges a little too freely in self-praise.

The dramatic compositions of Cervantes, were they all extant, would
be the most voluminous, though, certainly, not the best portion of
his works. Perhaps those which are now lost may yet be recovered;
for a fortunate accident brought to light two dramas, which had
remained concealed in manuscript till near the end of the eighteenth
century.[351] Cervantes includes some of his dramas among those
productions with which he was himself most satisfied; and he seems to
have regarded them with the greater self-complacency in proportion
as they experienced the neglect of the public.[352] This conduct has
sometimes been attributed to a spirit of contradiction, and sometimes
to vanity. The editor of the eight plays (chiefly heroic) and eight
interludes, which were the last dramatic productions of Cervantes, has
adopted the absurd notion, that Cervantes in writing these pieces,
intended to parody and ridicule the style of Lope de Vega;[353] which
is merely saying that he attacked the whole literary public of
Spain in the most discourteous way. No traces of parody appear in
any of those dramas. They are, however, with the exception of a few
successful scenes, so dull and tedious, that one might be inclined to
regard them as counterfeit productions by another author, were it not
that their authenticity seems to be sufficiently proved. The little
interludes alone exhibit burlesque humour and dramatic spirit. That
the penetrating and profound Cervantes should have so mistaken the
limits of his dramatic talent, would not be sufficiently accounted for
even by his vanity, had he not unquestionably proved by his tragedy
of Numantia how pardonable was the self-deception of which he could
not divest himself. Cervantes was entitled to consider himself endowed
with a genius for dramatic poetry. But he could not preserve his
independence in the conflict he had to maintain with the conditions
required by the Spanish public in dramatic composition; and when he
sacrificed his independence, and submitted to rules imposed by others,
his invention and language were reduced to the level of a poet of
inferior talent. The intrigues, adventures, and surprises which in that
age characterized the Spanish drama, were ill suited to the genius
of Cervantes. His natural style was too profound and precise to be
reconciled to fantastical ideas, expressed in irregular verse. But he
was Spaniard enough to be gratified with dramas, which, as a poet, he
could not imitate; and he imagined himself capable of imitating them,
because he would have shone in another species of dramatic composition,
had the public taste accommodated itself to his genius.

With all its imperfections and faults, Cervantes’s tragedy of Numantia
is a noble production, and, like Don Quixote, it is unparalleled in the
class of literature to which it belongs. It proves that under different
circumstances the author of Don Quixote might have been the Æschylus of
Spain. The conception is in the style of the boldest pathos, and the
execution, at least taken as a whole, is vigorous and dignified. The
ancient Roman History from which Cervantes selected the story of the
destruction of Numantia, afforded but few positive facts of which he
could avail himself in his heroic tragedy. He therefore invented along
with the subject of his piece a peculiar style of tragic composition,
in doing which he did not pay much regard to the theory of Aristotle.
His object was to produce a piece full of tragic situations, combined
with the charm of the marvellous. The tragedy is written in conformity
with no rules save those which Cervantes prescribed to himself;
for he felt no inclination to imitate the Greek forms. The play is
divided into four acts (_jornadas_), and no chorus is introduced. The
dialogue is sometimes in tercets, and sometimes in redondillas, and
for the most part in octaves, without any regard to rule. The diction
does not maintain equal dignity throughout; but it is in no instance
affected or bombastic. Cervantes has evinced admirable skill in
gradually heightening the tragic interest to the close of the piece.
The commencement is, however, somewhat cold and tedious. Scipio appears
with his generals in the Roman camp before Numantia. In a speech which
might have been improved by abridgment, he reprimands his troops,
whose spirit has begun to give way to effeminacy. The soldiers are
re-inspired with courage. Numantian ambassadors enter with proposals
for peace, which are rejected. It is here that the tragedy properly
begins. Spain appears as an allegorical character, and she summons the
river Duero, or Durius, on whose banks Numantia stands. The old river
god appears, attended by a retinue of the deities of the smaller rivers
of the surrounding country. These ideal characters consult the book of
fate, and discover that Numantia cannot be saved. Whatever may be said
against the bold idea of endeavouring to augment the tragic pathos by
means of allegorical characters, it must be acknowledged that in this
case the result of the experiment is not altogether unsuccessful, and
Cervantes justly prides himself in the novelty of the idea. The scene
is now transferred to Numantia. The senate is assembled to deliberate
on the affairs of the city, and among the members the character of
Theagenes shines with conspicuous lustre. Bold resolutions are adopted
by the senate. The transition into light redondillas, for the purpose
of interweaving with the serious business of the fable, the loves
of a young Numantian named Morandro, and his mistress, is certainly
a fault in the composition of the tragedy. But to this fault we are
indebted for some of the finest scenes in the following act. A solemn
sacrifice is prepared; but amidst the ceremony an evil spirit appears,
seizes the victim, and extinguishes the fire. The confusion in the
town increases. A dead man is resuscitated by magic, and the scene in
which this incident occurs has a most imposing effect.[354] All hope
has now vanished. After the return of a second unsuccessful embassy,
the Numantians, by the advice of Theagenes, resolve to burn all their
valuable property, then to put their wives and children to death, and
lastly to throw themselves in the flames, lest any of the inhabitants
of the town should become the slaves of the Romans. Scenes of the most
heart-rending domestic misery, and the noblest traits of patriotism
then ensue.[355] Famine rages in Numantia.[356] Morandro, accompanied
by one of his friends, ventures to enter the Roman camp. He returns
with a piece of bread smeared with blood, and, presenting it to his
famished mistress, falls at her feet mortally wounded.[357] The action
proceeds with unabated interest to the end. An allegorical character of
Fame enters at the close of the piece, and announces the future glory
of Spain.

Allegorical characters, for instance, Necessity and Opportunity,
likewise appear in Cervantes’s comedy, _El Trato de Argel_ (Life
in Algiers, or Manners in Algiers). But their introduction amidst
scenes of common life injures the story, which is besides by no means
ingenious, and imparts a cold and whimsical character to the piece.
This comedy, however, which is divided into five acts, is not destitute
of interest and spirit.

The romance of Persiles and Sigismunda, which Cervantes finished
shortly before his death, must be regarded as an interesting appendix
to his other works.[358] The language and the whole composition of the
story, exhibit the purest simplicity, combined with singular precision
and polish. The idea of this romance was not new, and scarcely deserved
to be reproduced in a new manner. But it appears that Cervantes at the
close of his glorious career took a fancy to imitate Heliodorus. He
has maintained the interest of the situations, but the whole work is
merely a romantic description of travels, rich enough in frightful
adventures, both by sea and land. Real and fabulous geography and
history are mixed together in an absurd and monstrous manner; and the
second half of the romance, in which the scene is transferred to Spain
and Italy, does not exactly harmonize with the spirit of the first half.

If we cast a glance on the collected works of Cervantes, in order to
ascertain what their author was entitled to claim as his original
property, independently of his contemporaries and predecessors, we
shall find that the genius of that poet, who is in general only
partially estimated, shines with the brighter lustre the longer it is
contemplated. That kind of criticism which is to be learnt, contributed
but little to the developement and formation of his genius. A critical
tact, which is a truer guide than any rule, but which abandons genius
when it forgets itself, secured the fancy of Cervantes against the
aberrations of common minds, and his sportive wit was always subject
to the control of solid judgment. The vanity which occasionally made
him mistake the true bent of his talent, must be confessed to have been
pardonable, considering how little he was known to his contemporaries.
He did not even know himself, though he felt the consciousness of
his genius. From the mental height to which he had raised himself,
he might, without too highly rating his own abilities, look down on
all the writers of his age. More than one poet of great, of immortal
genius, might be placed beside him in his own country; but of all the
Spanish poets Cervantes alone belongs to the whole world.


Lope Felix de Vega Carpio, the rival and conqueror of Cervantes in
the conflict of dramatic art, was born at Madrid, in the year 1562.
He was consequently fifteen years younger than Cervantes. Marvellous
stories are related respecting the early developement of his poetic
genius and his talent for composing verses. Though his parents were
not rich, yet he received a literary education; and he is also said to
have distinguished himself in corporeal exercises. He lost his parents
before he was old enough to attend the university; but through the
assistance of Don Geronymo Manrique, the grand inquisitor, and Bishop
of Avila, who was much attached to him, he was enabled to complete a
course of philosophy at Alcala. After obtaining his degree at that
university, he returned to Madrid, where he became secretary to the
Duke of Alba. He shortly afterwards married; and from this period,
which seemed to promise a career of tranquil happiness, the stormy
vicissitudes of his life commenced. He became engaged in a quarrel,
fought a duel, wounded his antagonist dangerously, and was obliged
to fly. For several years he lived an exile from Madrid; and on his
return his wife unfortunately died. Harrassed by this series of
calamities, and being as warm a patriot as he was a sincere catholic,
he entered into one of the military corps which were embarked on board
the invincible armada for the invasion of England. Though he himself
returned in safety to Madrid, yet he was deeply grieved at the ill
success of the armada. His vigorous constitution, however, enabled
him to keep up his spirits; he again became a secretary, once more
entered into the married state, and passed some time in uninterrupted
domestic happiness. On the death of his second wife, who survived her
marriage only a few years, he resolved to forego the pleasures of the
world, and for that purpose took holy orders. He did not, however,
retire to a convent; but he devoted himself wholly to the study of
poetry,--to that study, which from childhood upwards, had principally
engrossed his mind, and in the active prosecution of which he produced
so extraordinary a result, that it is difficult to conceive how any
man could even during the most protracted existence, write as much as
Lope de Vega: and yet he spent a part of his life in civil business,
and in the discharge of military duties. He composed in all the various
kinds of verse which were in use in his time; and he succeeded in all.
But his dramas in particular were received with an enthusiasm which
the labours of no other Spanish poet had ever excited. He so precisely
struck the chord which harmonized with the taste of the Spanish public,
that he has been worshipped as the inventor of the national comedy,
though he only pursued the tract which Torres Naharro originally opened.

Lope de Vega’s fertility of invention is as unparalleled in the history
of poetry, as the talent which enabled him to compose regular and well
constructed verses with as much facility as if he had been writing
prose. Cervantes styles him _el monstruo de naturaleza_, (the prodigy
of nature) and this name was not given him merely in levity. He was
constrained by no rules of criticism; not that he was ignorant of the
theory of the ancient poetry, but he took delight in letting his verses
flow freely from his pen, confident in the success of whatever he might
produce. The public, he observed, paid for the drama, and he thought it
but fair that those who paid should be served with that which suited
their taste. Lope de Vega required no more than four-and-twenty hours
to write a versified drama of three acts in redondillas, interspersed
with sonnets, tercets and octaves, and from beginning to end abounding
in intrigues, prodigies, or interesting situations. This astonishing
facility enabled him to supply the Spanish theatre with upwards of
two thousand original dramas, of which not more than three hundred
have been preserved by printing. In general the theatrical manager
carried away what he wrote before he had even time to revise it;
and immediately a fresh applicant would arrive to prevail on him to
commence a new piece. He sometimes wrote a play in the short space of
three or four hours. The profits which the theatrical managers derived
from the writings of Lope de Vega, enabled them to bestow such liberal
payment on the author, that at one time he is supposed to have been
possessed of upwards of a hundred thousand ducats. But he did not long
preserve his fortune, though from the commencement of his celebrity he
always possessed enough to enable him to live with comfort. His purse
was ever open to the poor of Madrid.

But Lope de Vega’s poetic talent procured him even more glory than
gain. No Spanish poet was ever so much honoured during his life. The
nobility and the public vied in expressing their admiration of him.
He was chosen president (_capellan mayor_) of the spiritual college
of Madrid, of which he had previously been admitted as a member. Pope
Urban VIII. sent him the cross of Malta, and the degree of doctor of
theology, accompanied by a flattering letter. The pope also appointed
him fiscal of the apostolic chamber. For these distinctions Lope
de Vega was not indebted merely to his poetic talents. No Spanish
poet of celebrity had hitherto manifested in his writings such
enthusiastic interest for the triumph of the catholic religion. He
was accordingly appointed familiar to the inquisition, a post which
was at that period regarded as singularly honourable. But the Spanish
public adopted another mode of expressing their admiration of their
favourite dramatist. Whenever Lope de Vega appeared in the streets,
he was surrounded by crowds of people, all eager to gain a sight of
the prodigy of nature. The boys ran shouting after him, and those who
could not keep pace with the rest, stood and gazed on him with wonder
as he passed. He died in 1631, in the sixty-third year of his age. His
funeral was conducted with princely magnificence. The ceremony was
directed by his patron, the Duke of Susa, whom he appointed executor
of his will. The music of the high mass which was celebrated at his
funeral, was executed by the performers of the chapel royal. During
the exequies, which lasted three days, three bishops officiated in
their pontifical robes. The memory of the “Spanish Phenix,” as he was
usually styled by the publishers of his plays, was celebrated with no
less pomp in all the theatres of Spain. Arithmetical calculations have
been employed, in order to arrive at a just estimate of Lope de Vega’s
facility in poetic composition. According to his own testimony, he
wrote on an average five sheets per day; it has therefore been computed
that the number of sheets which he composed during his life, must have
amounted to one hundred and thirty-three thousand, two hundred and
twenty-five, and that allowing for the deduction of a small portion of
prose, Lope de Vega must have written upwards of twenty-one millions,
three hundred thousand verses.[359]

Nature would have overstepped her bounds and have produced the
miraculous, had Lope de Vega, along with this rapidity of invention
and composition, attained perfection in any department of literature.
Nature, however, did her utmost for Lope de Vega; for even the rudest,
most incorrect, and verbose of his works, are imbued with a poetic
spirit which no methodical art can create. This poetic spirit is, at
the same time so national and so completely Spanish, that without
an intimate acquaintance with the works of other Spanish poets, and
particularly those who flourished at an early period, it is impossible
to perceive Lope de Vega’s merits and defects, or to understand their
connection with each other. On this account, however, he was in a
peculiar manner the poet of the Spanish public, the favourite of all
ranks; and on this account have his writings always been partially or
erroneously judged.

Lope de Vega was born for dramatic poetry. In every other class of
composition, he was merely an accurate imitator, or if he struck out
a new course, it was in so imperfect a way, that his example was
injurious to the cause of literature. But as a dramatic poet, if he did
not create the Spanish comedy, properly so called, his inexhaustible
fancy and the fascinating ease of his animated composition confirmed
to it that character which has since distinguished it. All subsequent
Spanish dramatic poets trod in the footsteps of Lope de Vega, until
genius was banished from the sphere it occupied by the introduction
of the French taste in Spain. The successors of Lope de Vega merely
improved on the models which he had created. He fixed for a century
and a half the spirit and the style of nearly all the different kinds
of dramatic entertainment in Spain. It may therefore be proper to
unite with a notice of the dramatic works of Lope de Vega, a sketch of
the characteristics of the various species of plays then performed in
Spain; and this sketch will at the same time serve as a key to all the
peculiarities of the Spanish drama.

Since the age of Lope de Vega, the word comedy (_comedia_) has had
in the dramatic language of Spain a totally different signification
from that which was attached to it by the ancient Greeks and Romans,
and which it retains in most countries of modern Europe. It is the
generic name of several species of drama, some of which, according to
our established notions, are neither comedies nor tragedies; but all
of which approximate to one common spirit of invention and execution.
The critic will inevitably form an erroneous judgment of these works,
if he be guided by notions deduced from the Greek and Roman drama,
and which, with certain limitations, are applicable to all dramatic
compositions except the Spanish comedy. The spirit of the Spanish
comedy must not be sought for in that popular satire, which constitutes
the very essence of the ancient and modern comedy, properly so called.
The compositions in which it is to be found are of a totally different
nature. In them stories of country and city life are clothed in
romantic poetic colours, and blended with the interesting inventions
of a bold and irregular fancy, without any distinction between the gay
and the serious, or the comic and the tragic. In a word, a Spanish
comedy is in its principle a dramatic novel; and as there are tragic,
comic, historical, and purely imaginative novels, so, in like manner,
the Spanish comedy readily adopts those various modes of exciting
interest on the stage. In Spanish comedies as in novels, princes
and potentates are no more out of place than jockeys and fops; and
these dissimilar characters may all be introduced on the stage at
once, should the progress of the intrigue require so heterogeneous
an approximation. Satire is therefore merely an agreeable accessary
in the Spanish comedy, of which the poet may avail himself at his
pleasure. In these comedies the powerful delineation of character
is no more essential than in novels. Even a motley combination of
burlesque and serious, vulgar and pathetic scenes, is not hostile to
the spirit of a Spanish comedy, the object of which is not to maintain
the interest in a particular direction. The subject of the piece
may be a moving or a horrific story; still the picture presented is
entertaining, but entertaining in a manner totally different from
that kind of comedy which exhibits the follies of life in a satirical
point of view. A continuance of the pathetic or the horrific would be
as little congenial to the spirit of those dramatic novels which the
Spaniards call comedies, as a continuance of the ludicrous. In this
is manifested the first of the peculiar conditions required by the
Spanish public, of which notice has already been taken in treating
of the origin of the Spanish comedy. With any other people than the
Spaniards these dramatic novels would have assumed a somewhat different
character, without, however, departing from their original spirit. But
this class of dramatic composition, which admits of the most singular
mixture of the pompous and the ludicrous, was particularly suited to
the Spaniards of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as by it
they were relieved from any long duration of serious impressions.
With this first requisite of a changeable dramatic form, which Lope
de Vega completely satisfied, was associated a second. A complicated
plot was indispensable in every drama, the subject of which was drawn
from the sphere of common life. As a substitute for that sort of plot
in historical comedies, extraordinary and striking adventures were
introduced, and in spiritual comedies, miracles. According to the
universally received notion of a Spanish comedy, in Lope de Vega’s
time, no distinction was made between the sacred and the profane
styles; for a legend was dramatized as a spiritual novel.

Whether a nation which was satisfied with such comedies did or did not
beguile itself of the purest and most perfect developement of dramatic
genius, is a question for separate discussion. But the Spanish comedy
considered in all its modifications, as a particular species of drama,
may stand the test of sound criticism; and Lope de Vega in a great
measure contributed to fix the national taste in these modifications.
In his time the classification was first made of sacred and profane
dramas, or as the Spaniards called them, _comedias Divinas y Humanas_.
The profane comedies were again divided into _comedias Heroycas_,
(Heroic comedies); and _comedias de Capa y Espada_, (comedies of the
Cloak and Sword.) The heroic comedies were originally the same as the
historical, but the title was subsequently extended to mythological and
allegorical dramas. The comedies of the _Capa y Espada_, were founded
on subjects selected from the sphere of fashionable life, and exhibited
the manners of the age; they were likewise performed in the costume of
the times. At a later period a subdivision of these _comedias de Capa y
Espada_ was formed under the name of _comedias de Figuròn_, because the
principal character was either a needy adventurer representing himself
as a rich nobleman, or a lady of the same class. In Lope de Vega’s time
also, the sacred comedies began to be divided into dramatized _Vidas
de Santos_ and _Autos Sacramentales_. Both classes were founded on the
model of the dramas, which used to be represented in the cloisters. The
_Autos Sacramentales_, which had all a reference to the administration
of the sacrament, according to catholic notions, seem to have had
their origin in the age of Lope de Vega; at least in the prelude to
one of his _Autos_ (the word literally signifies acts) a countrywoman
questions her husband respecting the nature of these dramas.[360]
Finally, to the different kinds of Spanish comedy existing in Lope de
Vega’s age, must be added the little preludes or recommendatory pieces,
called _loas_, and the interludes, or _entremeses_, introduced between
the prelude and the principal comedy, and which when interspersed with
music and dancing, are denominated _saynetes_.

Heroic and historical comedies form a considerable portion of the
dramatic works of Lope de Vega, in so far as they have been preserved.
The tragic scenes in many of these comedies, so well harmonized with
the national taste of the Spaniards, that they readily dispensed with
genuine tragedy; and as vivid a recollection of the old national
history was maintained by these theatrical representations as by the
old romances. But few of Lope’s historical comedies relate, like his
_Gran Duque de Moscovia_, to foreign subjects. In point of composition,
his dramas do not materially differ one from the other. Even in his
historical pieces, he uses such freedoms with respect to the unity of
action, that only a slight similitude connects the acts and scenes
together; and he totally disregards the unities of time and place. The
execution of these dramas is no less irregular than their composition.
According to the humour in which the author happened to be when engaged
in his literary labour, his descriptions and language are vigorous or
feeble, noble or mean, unpolished or highly refined. A description
of _Las Almenas de Toro_ (the Battlements of Toro), one of the best
productions in the class to which it belongs, will afford a tolerably
correct idea of Lope de Vega’s historical comedies. The subject of this
piece is the murder of King Don Sancho, by Bellido Dolfos, a knight
whom the king had offended by a violation of his promise, a story
which has likewise furnished materials for several old romances. The
Cid Ruy Diaz is a principal character in this comedy, which, like all
others of the same kind, is divided into three acts.[361] The scene
opens with a view of the country before the strongly fortified town of
Toro in Leon. The King Don Sancho, the Cid, and a Count Anzures enter.
The king explains to the two knights, that state reasons prevent him
from fulfilling his father’s will, and that he cannot leave his two
sisters, the infantas Elvira and Urraca, in possession of the strong
fortresses of Toro and Zamora.[362] The Cid with noble sincerity
avows his opinion of the king’s injustice towards his sisters, and
offers himself as a mediator in the dispute. The king and Count
Anzures retire. The Cid advances to the walls, and meets a knight
named Ordonez, who has just come out of the fortress to execute some
enterprize in favour of the infanta Elvira. Both knights are about to
draw; but they recognize each other, and embrace. The Cid is pourtrayed
in all the greatness of his character.[363] The infanta appears on the
walls, and states to the Cid her reasons for not opening the gates
to her brother. The king re-appears, and orders preparations for
storming the garrison. The scene changes--Don Vela, an old knight who
has withdrawn from the tumult of public life, appears in front of his
country residence. He communes with himself in a speech full of dignity
and beauty, but in some passages too poetical for the drama.[364]
His daughter enters singing, and surrounded by a rustic group. This
scene introduces a romantic episode which is interwoven with the main
action, and the hero of which is a prince of Burgundy, disguised as a
peasant, who is enamoured of the daughter of Don Vela. The scene again
changes to the neighbourhood of Toro. The infanta Elvira appears on
the battlements, and negotiations are once more set on foot. The king
himself holds a conversation with his sister, which, however, produces
no conciliatory result. This brief, pointed, and not very courteous
dialogue, is interspersed with plays of wit on the word _Toro_, the
name of the fortress, which in Spanish signifies a bull.[365] The king
instantly commands scaling ladders to be brought, and the storming
of the fortress commences, but the besiegers are repulsed. Thus the
first act concludes. With the commencement of the second act the
rural episode becomes more nearly allied to the main action. A sonnet
in which the disguised prince of Burgundy, and his mistress Sancha,
express their sentiments of mutual attachment, affords an instance of
that protracted kind of metaphor, which Lope de Vega employed on such
occasions, and which, a hundred years afterwards, Metastasio likewise
adopted in his opera songs, as the poetic language of passion.[366]
Don Bellido Dolfos prevails on the king to promise him the hand of
the infanta Elvira, on condition of his taking the fortress. By dint
of the vilest perfidy Bellido Dolfos succeeds; but the king, who is
of opinion that a traitor should be rewarded with treachery, refuses
to abide by his promise. Bellido Dolfos meditates revenge. Meanwhile
Elvira escapes in the disguise of a peasant, and takes refuge in the
house of Don Vela. With this combination of heroic and tender, domestic
and rural situations, the action proceeds, until Bellido Dolfos murders
the king; an incident, however, which does not take place oh the stage.
The infanta Elvira returns to Toro, where she receives the homage of
her people, and the prince of Burgundy avowing his real character, is
united to his beloved Sancha.

Lope de Vega’s _Comedias de Capa y Espada_, or those which may
properly be denominated his dramas of intrigue, though wanting in the
delineation of character, are romantic pictures of manners, drawn from
real life. They present, in their peculiar style, no less interest
with respect to situations than his heroic comedies; and the same
irregularity in the composition of the scenes. The language, too, is
alternately elegant and vulgar, sometimes highly poetic, and sometimes,
though versified, reduced to the level of the dullest prose. Lope
de Vega seems scarcely to have bestowed a thought on maintaining
probability in the succession of the different scenes; ingenious
complication is with him the essential point in the interest of his
situations. Intrigues are twisted and entwined together, until the
poet, in order to bring his piece to a conclusion, without ceremony
cuts the knots he cannot untie; and then he usually brings as many
couples together as he can by any possible contrivance match. He has
scattered through his pieces occasional reflections and maxims of
prudence, but any genuine morality which might be conveyed through the
stage, is wanting, for its introduction would have been inconsistent
with that poetic freedom on which the dramatic interest of the Spanish
comedy is founded. His aim was to paint what he observed, not what he
would have approved, in the manners of the fashionable world of his
age; but he leaves it to the spectator to draw his own inferences.
In this indirect way only, could the Spanish public tolerate useful
applications in the drama; for the Spaniard always considered the
morality with which he was occupied in church sufficient. An exuberant
gallantry, which may or may not be veiled by decorum, and which is at
all times only slightly restrained by notions of honour, but never by
a sense of moral duty, constitutes the very essence of these dramas,
_de Capa y Espada_. Where the passion is vehement, it advances with
true Spanish ardour to the attainment of its object; where it is
tender and sentimental, the romantic tirades and far-fetched plays of
wit are inexhaustible. That _love excuses every thing_, was at this
time the darling maxim of the gay world in Madrid; and in conformity
with its spirit, Lope de Vega’s young heroes and heroines plunge
headlong into intrigue. Free scope is given to the basest artifice
and perfidy; the man of fashion draws his sword on the slightest
provocation; and whether he desperately wounds, or even kills his
adversary, is a matter of indifference. Disguises, too, abound in these
dramas. One of the most interesting of Lope’s comedies in this class,
is _La Villana de Xetafe_, (the Peasant Girl of Xetafe, a village
in the vicinity of Madrid). It exhibits a series of the boldest and
most dexterous impostures, by means of which the interesting heroine
succeeds in entrapping her lover, who is a man of condition, into the
bonds of matrimony. The confessors must have found some difficulty in
counteracting the ill effects which could not fail to be occasionally
produced by such examples, though they were by no means set up as
models. The fascinating natural painting of these intrigues, which at
the same time always possess a certain poetic elevation, constitutes
the chief charm of Lope de Vega’s comedies. The deviation from nature
in expression, which has frequently been a subject of reproach to
this prolific writer, is in most instances merely attributable to
negligence or rapidity of composition. He faithfully embodies the
general forms of character, which, to be sure, are all alike in the
class of Spanish comedies now under consideration. The _vejete_ (old
man), the _galan_ (lover), the _dama_ (young lady), together with
a suitable number of servants and waiting women, are the standing
characters which are constantly introduced with no variety, except in
the situations; but at the same time, they are drawn in such animated
colours, that the perusal of one or two of these dramas of intrigue is
sufficient to render the reader familiar with the whole world which the
poet describes. In Lope’s comedies, as in real life, the (_gracioso_)
buffoon and the fool are occasionally the same character. They have
also superfluous parts; personages totally unconnected with the
business of the drama are sometimes introduced.

In order to afford an idea of the composition of this portion of the
dramatic works of Lope de Vega, we may select, as a specimen, the
comedy entitled, _La Viuda de Valencia_ (the Widow of Valencia). It
is one of the pieces of this master in the art of intrigue in which
the complication is best contrived, and it is besides remarkable in
the class to which it belongs for the unity which is preserved in the
action. The scene is laid in Valencia in the time of the carnival.
Leonarda, a young rich and handsome widow, living according to her
own fancy, has resolved never to re-marry. She enters with a book
in her hand; for she reads works of all sorts, sacred and profane,
not from piety or love of literature, but merely to amuse herself,
while she never deigns to bestow a thought on the suitors by whom
she is surrounded. On the subject of her reading she discourses very
reasonably with her waiting woman.[367] Her arch attendant turns
the conversation in such a way, that the young widow, with all her
pretended wisdom, is induced to view herself in a looking glass, and
in the very act of doing so, she is surprised by a visit from her
uncle. The old gentleman assures his fair niece, who is highly vexed
at the surprise, that she does well to convince herself of the power
of her charms by such indisputable testimony.[368] When, however,
he begins to talk of marriage, the lady contemptuously sketches a
burlesque portrait of a Madrid beau,[369] and describes, though in a
less happy style the unfortunate consequences of an imprudent match.
The old uncle takes his leave, and the scene changes, or rather it is
transferred to the other division of the stage. The three admirers of
the beautiful Leonarda meet each other in front of her house. They
express their wishes and hopes in sonnets, the subjects of which are
long-winded metaphors. As none of the party can boast of his mistress’s
favour, they mutually acknowledge their ill success, and each describes
a burlesque adventure, which has occurred to him during the night, in
front of Leonarda’s house. One relates, that under the supposition
that he was stabbing a rival, he thrust his poignard into a skin of
stolen wine.[370] Meanwhile Leonarda hastily returns from church,
where she has seen a young gentleman with whom she has fallen deeply
in love. She immediately forms a plan to induce this gentleman, whose
name is Camillo, to visit her, without either knowing who she is or
whither he is conducted. The whole intrigue is managed by Leonarda’s
coachman Urbano, who is at the same time the _gracioso_, or buffoon
of the piece.[371] While Urbano is gone out in quest of Camillo, the
three suitors, without any previous arrangement with each other,
arrive disguised as dealers in books and copper-plate prints. They
obtain an interview with Leonarda, and make avowals of their passion;
but she receives them very unfavourably, and they are all obliged to
make a rapid retreat to avoid being roughly handled by the servants.
This scene is highly amusing. In the second act Camillo appears,
and after long hesitation, he consents to engage in the romantic
adventure. Urbano dresses him in a doctor’s cloak, and drawing the
hood (_capirote_) over his eyes, he conducts him blindfold, with comic
effect, through a variety of windings, to the house of Leonarda. The
lady receives him in the dark. Lights are afterwards brought in, but
Leonarda remains masked. A sumptuous collation is prepared, of which
the young gentleman’s doubt and embarrassment will not permit him to
taste a morsel. He compares himself to Alexander, when he took the
suspected goblet from the hand of his physician.[372] A tender dialogue
ensues, after which the hood is again drawn over the eyes of Camillo,
and he is conducted from Leonarda’s house. In this manner the intrigue
proceeds; but between many of the scenes, whole days, and even weeks
are supposed to intervene. Leonarda and her lover become more and more
intimate, though he neither knows who she is, nor where she resides.
All his endeavours to discover these secrets are unavailing; and at
length he begins to suspect that his unknown mistress is an old cousin
of Leonarda. In the mean time the three rejected suitors, who still mix
in the plot, become jealous of the coachman Urbano; and one spirited
scene succeeds another until an affray occurs in which an honourable
suitor of Leonarda is wounded. This accident produces the denouement.
Camillo recognizes in his unknown mistress the beautiful widow with
whom he was previously acquainted, and whose hand he joyfully accepts.
Thus the piece is a comedy from beginning to end.

Lope de Vega’s spiritual comedies, afford a picture of the religious
notions of the Spaniards in the age in which he lived, not less
faithfully pourtrayed than that by which his dramas of intrigue
represent the manners of Spanish society. Pure piety, according
to catholic ideas, wildly blended with the most contradictory
chimeras, and these chimeras again ennobled by the boldest flights of
imagination, form altogether a monstrous and extravagant patch-work;
but this heterogeneous variety is, nevertheless, united by the
ramifications of a poetic spirit, into a whole, to which no European
imagination could now be expected to produce a resemblance. But Lope
de Vega seems not to have come to a positive determination respecting
what ought to have been the true spirit of these dramatic pictures of
religious faith. The mixture of poetic and unpoetic elements is very
unequal in his different spiritual comedies. His Lives of the Saints
possess far more dramatic spirit than his Autos Sacramentales; while
on the other hand, allegory imparts a higher dignity to the religious
mysticism of the latter. Both, however, have in common a kind of
operatic style, combined with the display of theatrical machinery and
decoration, calculated to captivate the senses. Of all the dramatic
works of Lope de Vega, the Lives of the Saints are in every respect the
most irregular. Allegorical characters, buffoons, saints, peasants,
students, kings, God, the infant Jesus, the devil, and all the most
heterogeneous beings that the wildest imagination could bring together,
are introduced. Music seems always to have been an indispensable
accessary. Lope de Vega’s spiritual comedy, entitled the Life of Saint
Nicolas de Tolentino,[373] commences with a conversation maintained by
a party of students, who make a display of their wit and scholastic
learning. Among them is the future saint, whose piety shines with the
brighter lustre when contrasted with the disorderly gaiety of those
by whom he is surrounded. The devil disguised by a mask joins the
party. A skeleton appears in the air; the sky opens, and the Almighty
is discovered sitting in judgment attended by Justice and Mercy, who
alternately influence his decisions. Next succeeds a love intrigue
between a lady named Rosalia, and a gentleman named Feniso. The future
saint then re-enters attired in canonicals, and delivers a sermon
in redondillas. The parents of the saint congratulate themselves on
possessing such a son; and this scene forms the conclusion of the first
act. At the opening of the second a party of soldiers are discovered;
the saint enters accompanied by several monks, and offers up a prayer
in the form of a sonnet. Brother Peregrino relates the romantic history
of his conversion. Subtle theological fooleries ensue, and numerous
anecdotes of the lives of the saints are related. St. Nicolas prays
again through the medium of a sonnet. He then rises in the air, either
by the power of faith, or the help of the theatrical machinery; and the
Holy Virgin and St. Augustin descend from heaven to meet him.[374] In
the third act the scene is transferred to Rome, where two cardinals
exhibit the holy sere cloth to the people by torch light. Music
performed on clarionets adds to the solemnity of this ceremony, during
which pious discourses are delivered. St. Nicolas is next discovered
embroidering the habit of his order; and the pious observations which
he makes, while engaged in this occupation, are accompanied by the
chaunting of invisible angels. The music attracts the devil, who
endeavours to tempt St. Nicolas. The next scene exhibits souls in the
torments of purgatory. The devil again appears attended by a retinue
of lions, serpents, and other hideous animals; but in a scene, which
is intended for burlesque, (_graciosamente_) a monk armed with a great
broom drives off the devil and his suite.[375] At the conclusion of the
piece the saint whose beatification is now complete, descends from
heaven in a garment bespangled with stars. As soon as he touches the
earth, the souls of his father and mother are released from purgatory
and rise through a rock; the saint then returns hand-in-hand with his
parents to heaven, music playing as they ascend.

The _Autos Sacramentales_ of Lope de Vega must have been far less
attractive than his Lives of the Saints. Compared with the latter,
their construction appears very simple, and they are executed in a
style of theological refinement which could not have been perfectly
intelligible to the multitude. But the allegorical characters, which
are the most prominent in these pieces, produce an imposing effect.
The dramas themselves are in general short. In one which represents
the fall, Man disputes with Sin and the Devil, and Earth and Time take
part in the dialogue. Next are discovered Justice and Mercy seated
beneath a canopy, and at a table furnished with writing materials.
Man is interrogated before this tribunal. The Prince of heaven, or
Saviour, enters. Reflection, or Care, (_Cuidado_) kneels and delivers
a letter to him. The Saviour, who takes his station behind a grating,
makes Man undergo another judicial examination, and pardons him.[376]
But the devil re-appears and protests against the pardon.[377] Man
has next to contend with Vanity and Folly, who are introduced as
allegorical characters. Christ again appears with the crown of thorns.
In conclusion, the heavens open and Christ ascends to his celestial
throne, with the usual accompaniment of music. Direct allusions to the
sacrament of the altar were seldom necessary in the Autos, as the whole
tendency of the allegorical action was directed to that object.

Lope de Vega’s _Loas_, and more particularly his _Entremeses_ and
_Saynetes_, seem to have been intended to indemnify the audience for
the theological allegory of the sacramental dramas; for it is only in
connection with the Autos that these preludes and interludes are to be
found. The Loas are not always comic, and are sometimes only spirited
monologues. The interludes, or Entremeses and Saynetes, may also be
called preludes, for though they were performed after the Loa, which
was properly the prologue, yet they preceded the Auto: these interludes
are burlesque from beginning to end, and form a preparation for the
devotion of the Auto, quite in the Spanish taste. Farces of this kind,
pourtraying the incidents of common life, never destitute of genuine
comic spirit, and written for the most part in verse, soon became
indispensable to the Spaniards, and even to this day are never omitted
in their dramatic performances. The interludes of Lope de Vega and
Cervantes seem to have been the models of all that succeeded them.

The dramatic genius of Lope de Vega has rendered him immortal. In the
seventeenth century his plays were universally read and performed
throughout Spain. In general they were first published singly, and
for the most part with the bookseller’s epithet--_Comedia Famosa_,
(the Celebrated Comedy), which subsequently became a universal device,
affixed to all comedies printed in Spain. In this manner Lope de Vega’s
most popular comedies were, partly during the life of the author, and
partly after his death, collected in five-and-twenty volumes;[378]
exclusively of the Autos, preludes, and interludes, which afterwards
formed a separate publication.[379] Among Lope’s scattered dramas which
have been printed at a later period, are some which are expressly
denominated tragedies.[380]

The other poetic works of this prolific writer, must be very briefly
noticed; for to give any thing like a particular account of them
would require the space of a considerable volume.[381] In epic poetry
he maintained an unsuccessful contest with Tasso. His _Jerusalem
Conquistada_,[382] consists indeed of twenty cantos in octaves, and
contains some beautiful passages, but it will in no respect bear a
comparison with the Italian poem. Lope de Vega also augmented the
number of the continuers of Ariosto’s Orlando, by the publication of
_La Hermosura de Angelica_,[383] (the Beauty of Angelica), which is
also a narrative poem in twenty cantos, though shorter than those
of the Jerusalem. His other attempts at epic composition are--_La
Corona Tragica_,[384] (the Tragic Crown), or the history of the
unfortunate Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland; and the _Circe_ and
_Dragontea_.[385] The _Corona Tragica_ is full of furious invective
against the protestants and against Queen Elizabeth in particular.[386]
The hero of the _Dragontea_ is Admiral Drake, who is introduced in
this poem as the tool of Satan, in order that he may finally serve as
an example of poetic justice. To compete with Sanazzar, Lope wrote a
second Arcadia,[387] in the style of the Italian. He likewise wrote
several poems, which may be called eclogues in the proper sense of
the term. His _Arte Nueva de Hazer Comedias_, (New Art of Writing
Comedies), is a humorous satire on his opponents under the appearance
of ridiculing himself.[388] He anonymously supplied the _Romancero
General_ with thirty-six romances.[389] His spiritual poems are to
be found in great profusion; and the number of his sonnets, some
of which possess first-rate merit, is considerable. His _Laurel de
Apolo_, a Eulogy on various Spanish Poets, which has been frequently
quoted, is but an indifferent production.[390] His epistles are
sufficiently numerous. Among his miscellaneous poems, those of the
comic kind have most originality, as for example: _La Gatomachia_,
(the Battle of Cats),[391] and the whole collection of miscellaneous
poems which he published under the assumed name of the Licentiate Tomè
de Burguillos.[392] Among his most celebrated prose works, are _El
Peregrino en su Patria_, (the Stranger in his own Country), a tolerably
long novel.[393] _Dorothea_, a dramatic story, or as it is called,
_Accion en Prosa_;[394] and a Collection of Novels.[395]


Among the poets who flourished during the period now under
consideration, the place next in rank to Cervantes and Lope de
Vega, must be assigned to two brothers, whom their countrymen have
surnamed the Horaces of Spain. Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola
born in 1565, and Bartholemè Leonardo de Argensola, born in 1566,
belonged to a respectable family, of Italian origin, but settled in
Arragon. Lupercio, who pursued his academic studies in Saragossa,
had the satisfaction to witness the successful performance of three
tragedies, which he wrote in the twentieth year of his age, and which
are honourably mentioned by Cervantes in his Don Quixote. His taste,
however, led him to cultivate another style of poetry, in which he
could imitate Horace, of whom he was an enthusiastic admirer. His
family connection facilitated his introduction to persons of rank;
and he became secretary to the Empress Maria of Austria, who at that
time resided in Spain. He was soon after appointed chamberlain to the
Archduke Albert of Austria. King Philip III. nominated him one of
the chroniclers or historiographers of Arragon, and directed him to
continue the annals of Zurita; and the states of Arragon, which already
possessed their own particular chronicler, seized some plausible excuse
for dismissing him, in order that Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola
might also be appointed historiographer for them. He then determined
to devote himself exclusively to the duties of his office; but he
was induced to go to Italy in company with the Count de Lemos, the
celebrated patron of Cervantes, who was at that time viceroy of Naples.
Lupercio was appointed secretary of state and of war for Naples; but
amidst the varied and laborious duties attached to such a situation,
he actively pursued his poetic studies, and did not even discontinue
his Arragonese annals. He was the principal founder of the academy at
Naples. While prosecuting this honourable career he died in 1613, in
the fortieth year of his age. Like Virgil, when he felt the approach of
death, he burnt a considerable portion of his poems.

Bartholemè, the younger Leonardo de Argensola, entered the
ecclesiastical state. During the first half of his life, his success
in the world was inseparably connected with the fortunes of his
brother. He was chaplain to the Empress Maria of Austria, then a canon
in Saragossa; and afterwards proceeded to Naples in company with his
brother and the Count de Lemos. He quitted Italy on the death of his
brother, and was appointed to complete the continuation of the annals
of Arragon which Lupercio had left in an imperfect state; a task which
he executed in a way that gave universal satisfaction. While the
Count de Lemos was president of the council of the Indies, Bartholemè
Leonardo de Argensola wrote a history of the conquest of the Molucca
islands. He was indefatigable in the pursuit of his historical and
poetic studies; and after passing a tranquil and honourable life, he
died at Saragossa in 1631, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.[396]

The poetry of these two brothers, who, in a critical point of view,
may both be regarded as one individual, is not characterized by
originality, or by depth of genius, in the extended sense of the
word. It is, however, remarkable for a fine poetic feeling distinct
from enthusiasm, a vigorous and aspiring spirit, a happy talent for
description, poignant wit, classic dignity of style, and above all,
singular correctness of taste. Both pursued the same course with equal
ardour and adroitness; but Bartholemè had the better opportunity of
cultivating his talent, because he lived longest. Next to Luis de Leon,
they are the most correct of all Spanish poets.

The tragedies with which Lupercio commenced his poetic career,
considered as youthful essays, are worthy to be remembered, though
they do not merit the unbounded praise which Cervantes bestowed on
them in a fit of panegyrical enthusiasm. It appears that they did not
long maintain their place on the stage. Two of the three mentioned by
Cervantes were, at no very remote period, rescued from oblivion, and
the third still remains undiscovered.[397] The two which have been
recovered, and which are entitled, the one _Isabella_, and the other
_Alexandra_, afford excellent specimens of language and versification.
The Alexandra contains scenes, particularly in the second and third
acts, which the greatest tragic writer might advantageously adopt and
interweave into a better constructed piece.[398] The Isabella is a
trivial web of love intrigues, and terminates in a manner sufficiently
awful; but the piece is totally destitute of tragic dignity,
notwithstanding that it exhibits the languishing and raging of two
Moorish kings, with all the pomp of oriental accessaries. Alexandra
presents more numerous and correct traits of resemblance to the ancient
drama; and yet towards the close the action becomes most extravagant,
and is marked by all the tumult of a modern theatrical spectacle.

But the poetic fame of Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola, does not rest
on his tragedies. His lyric poems, epistles, and satires in the
manner of Horace, have transmitted his name, without the aid of any
recommendation to posterity. Lupercio formed his style after that
of Horace, with no less assiduity than Luis de Leon; but he did not
possess the soft enthusiasm of that pious poet, who in the religious
spirit of his poetry is so totally unlike Horace. An understanding
at once solid and ingenious, subject to no extravagant illusion, yet
full of true poetic feeling, and an imagination more plastic than
creative, impart a more perfect horatian colouring to the odes, as
well as to the canciones and sonnets of Lupercio. He closely imitated
Horace in his didactic satires, a style of composition in which no
Spanish poet had preceded him. But he never succeeded in attaining
the bold combination of ideas which characterizes the ode style of
Horace; and his conceptions have therefore seldom any thing like the
horatian energy. On the other hand, all his poems express no less
precision of language, than the models after which he formed his style.
His odes, in particular, are characterized by a picturesque tone of
expression, which he seems to have imbibed from Virgil rather than from
Horace.[399] The extravagant metaphors by which some of Herrera’s odes
are deformed, were uniformly avoided by Lupercio. His best sonnets
are those of a sententious cast, which have some moral idea for their
subject.[400] He was likewise successful in the composition of popular
songs in redondillas. His epistles in tercets present, in their
kind, about the same degree of resemblance to the epistles of Horace,
as is observable between his odes and those of his classic model.
The ideas are expressed in a clear, precise, and pleasing style; and
these compositions are not destitute of poetic and didactic interest.
Still, however, the vigour of Horace is wanting.[401] Lupercio did
not enter, with sufficient decision, into the true spirit of horatian
satire. He consigned to his brother the task of cultivating that class
of composition, in which poetry is scarcely distinguishable from
spirited prose. Among his writings, which escaped the flames, there is
only one piece of satirical raillery, in the form of an epistle to a

The poetic works of Bartholemè, the younger Leonardo de Argensola,
which have been preserved, are twice as numerous as those of Lupercio.
The style of the two brothers is so similar, that in some cases it is
difficult, and in others totally impossible to distinguish the one
from the other. This extraordinary conformity of character, talent and
taste, appears at first sight no less singular a phenomenon than the
inexhaustible fertility of Lope de Vega. But it will be recollected,
that these brothers, who were nearly of an age, and almost inseparable
companions, and who were constantly occupied in the study and imitation
of the same models, could not fail, by the cultivation of similar, and
in neither original talents, closely to approximate. Still, however,
traces of difference are discoverable in their works. Bartholemè,
by his numerous epistles and satires, performed greater services to
Spanish poetry than his brother Lupercio. He was the first Spanish
writer who introduced concentrated satire in sonnets, which he probably
did after he became acquainted with the Italian poems of that class,
but he has imitated them with the spirit of Horace, and has avoided
every thing like Italian flippancy. His spiritual canciones, which
are not equalled by any in the poetic works of Lupercio, are among
the best in the style to which they belong. His most esteemed works
bear the impress of a more cultivated talent than is discernible in
the writings of his brother. His longer and properly didactic satires
are characterized by more causticity than gaiety in the ridicule of
general and particular follies.[403] But the enthusiasm of the moralist
never leads him into declamation in the manner of Juvenal; and these
satires are equally replete with traits of mild philanthropy and
sound judgment. His epistles on human felicity and human weakness have
nearly the same character, but they are for the most part serious and
devoid of irony.[404] His satirical sonnets present unequal degrees
of merit; but in the best, the pupil of Horace is more obviously
recognisable.[405] That Bartholemè should have succeeded in spiritual
canciones, may at first sight be deemed a psychological enigma. But it
was precisely his critical and reflective turn of mind which proved
most essentially serviceable in guiding him through the gloomy regions
of catholic mysticism. Being an enthusiastic catholic, he wanted
no extraordinary inspiration to furnish him with religious ideas;
and the faculties of a language eminently picturesque, supplied him
with new views and images which he alternately developed in majestic
descriptions,[406] and pleasing comparisons.[407]

The praises lavished on the Argensolas by all parties, would afford
sufficient ground for the conjecture that their poetic works had
produced some influence on their contemporaries. But that influence is
chiefly obvious from the poetic style of the men of talent with whom
they lived on terms of intimacy, of one of whom, named Alonzo Esquerro,
there is extant a short but excellent epistle, published along with the
answer of Bartholemè de Argensola.

The historical works of the younger Argensola, are also deserving
of honourable mention in an account of the polite literature of
Spain. Few narratives of Indian affairs are written with so much
judgment and elegance as his History of the Conquest of the Molucca
Islands;[408] and his continuation of the Annals of Zurita,[409]
exceeds in rhetorical merit the work of the original historiographer.
The circumstances connected with the accession of Charles V. and the
Castilian rebellion, subjects to which no Spanish writer had previously
ventured to allude, are related by Argensola with no less freedom and
fidelity than other events; though of course without his attempting to
urge any apology for the rebels. In the reign of Philip III. but little
danger was to be apprehended from such freedom; and when, in the year
1621, Philip IV. ascended the throne in the seventeenth year of his
age, Argensola did not hesitate to dedicate his Arragonian Annals to
the Duke of Olivarez, who in the name of the young king was invested
with unlimited sovereign authority. The Duke of Olivarez on receiving
this dedication little imagined that the recollection of the ancient
privileges of the Arragonian states, which had been solemnly ratified
by Charles V. and which were so much expatiated on in these annals,
would, at no very remote period, be the means of rousing the people of
Arragon to take up arms in defence of their constitution, on which the
duke wished to encroach, in order to recruit the exhausted strength of


A very accurate idea of the general spirit of elegant literature in
Spain, during the age of Cervantes and Lope de Vega, will be obtained,
if, to an examination of the works of those eminent men and the two
Argensolas, be added a recollection of the labours of their immediate
predecessors; for the other Spanish poets of this period followed in
the beaten path as far as they were able to go, and if any one ventured
on a new course he only wandered into insipidity. These authors, though
deficient in originality, are not without merit; but so great is their
number, that it would be impossible to find room for even a very brief
notice of all their works in a general history of literature. There
was at this time a sort of poetical ferment in Spain, which can only
be compared with that which prevailed in Italy during the sixteenth
century. The blending of the Italian style with the old Spanish, had
excited a new enthusiasm throughout the whole nation; and in proportion
as the Spaniards were excluded from philosophic thinking, their passion
for works of fancy was augmented. Under these circumstances eloquence
could only follow in the train of poetry.[410]


Success in epic poetry was still denied to the Spanish muse. The
confounding of epic poetry with relations of actual events embellished
with poetic language, seems to have perverted the talent for true
epopee. The Spanish poets who attempted this style, studied after the
deceitful model of Lucan, and, according to an old critical phrase,
endeavoured to be more _Lucanists_ than Lucan himself. The imagination
which possessed unbounded dominion over the stage, seems to have
obtained in narrative poetry only the scanty privilege of inventing a
few ornaments.

Among the unsuccessful attempts at epopee, particular distinction is
due to the _Araucana_ of the heroic and amiable Alonzo de Ercilla y
Zuñiga, a poem which has the accidental advantage of being better
known on this side of the Pyrenees than many other Spanish works of
far superior merit. Ercilla has recorded the most remarkable events
of his own biography in the _Araucana_, and the remainder of the poem
also reflects an interest on the author. He was born at Madrid in
1540, or according to some in 1533, and became page to the prince of
Asturias, Don Philip, with whom he travelled to Italy, the Netherlands,
and England. At the age of twenty-two, he embarked as an officer for
America, along with a newly appointed viceroy of Peru. He distinguished
himself in the war against the Araucans, the bravest of the South
American tribes. In the midst of his exploits, he conceived with a
youthful ambition the plan of writing a narrative of the conquest of
Arauco in an epic form, but with the strictest regard to historical
truth. He executed his project in spite of the dangers which surrounded
him, and the fatigues he had to undergo. In a wilderness inhabited by
savages, in the midst of enemies, and under no other cover than that of
heaven, he composed at night the verses which were to be the memorials
of the events of the day. In prosecution of his purpose, he was obliged
to use scraps of waste paper, which often could not contain more than
six lines, or to make pieces of leather supply the total want of paper.
In this way he completed the first part of his poem, consisting of
fifteen cantos. Before he was thirty years of age he returned to Spain,
full of hope, both as a soldier and a poet; but the gloomy Philip,
to whom he enthusiastically dedicated the _Araucana_, took little
notice of him, and less of his work. Ercilla deeply felt this neglect;
but nothing could damp his romantic attachment to his cold-hearted
sovereign, whom he still persisted in celebrating in the sequel of his
poem. He received no mark of favour except from the Emperor Maximilian
II. who appointed him one of his chamberlains. Dissatisfied with his
fate, Ercilla travelled from place to place; but his journies did not
prevent him from proceeding with his poem until he completed it by the
addition of a third part. When he died is not known, but it was after
he had attained his fiftieth year.

The _Araucana_, so called from the country Arauco, is really no
poem. It is, however, impossible to read the work without becoming
attached to the author, and being delighted by his talent for lively
description, and for painting situations, his possession of which no
just critic can call in question. But notwithstanding that talent,
Ercilla is merely a versifying historian, capable of clothing his
subject in a poetic garb, but not of elevating it to the sphere of true
poetry. His diction is natural and correct; and to this the _Araucana_
is in a great measure indebted for its celebrity. Its descriptive
beauties, and some scenes in the style of romantic love, certainly
make the composition approximate to poetry; but the heroic spirit
which pervades the whole work, is by no means a poetic spirit. The
principal events follow each other in chronological order. The combats
are described in succession, as they actually arose, without any regard
to poetic interest. Ercilla, indeed, prided himself on this historical
precision, and he challenged any of his countrymen who were acquainted
with the war in Arauco, to detect a single inaccuracy in his narrative.
The historical succession of events imparts, however, a sort of epic
unity to the work. The Spaniards in Arauco are surrounded by dangers,
which gradually augment until they reach a crisis; when a reinforcement
arrives from Peru, and the Spaniards experience a favourable change of
fortune. The capture of Caupolican, the Araucan commander, who is put
to death in a way repugnant to humanity, closes the narrative, though
it does not terminate the war; but the barbarous and unjust execution
of this brave chief being decreed by a Spanish council of war, is not
censured by Ercilla. From the manner in which the poem concludes, it
must be regarded as incomplete, considered as an historical narrative.
Even the moral interest of the events operates in a way contrary to
the intention of the author; for the feelings of the unprejudiced
reader are, from the commencement excited in favour of the brave
savages, who half-naked, and destitute of fire arms, contend for their
natural freedom against enemies so superior in the art of war. The
style of historical truth in which the principal events are narrated,
forms a disagreeable contrast with the fiction in the details, which is
intended to diffuse a poetic character over the whole work; for Ercilla
at length found it necessary to depart from his plan in order to escape
from the monotony into which he had fallen. In the first fifteen cantos
the poetic colouring is merely confined to the descriptions; but in
the two following parts,[411] the author has interwoven a number of
fabulous accessaries. He has introduced, for example, a poetic account
of the magician Fiton’s wonderful skill and garden of paradise,[412]
and also the story of the fair savage Glaura, who recounts the
incidents of her life in the style of a Spanish romance.[413] Ercilla
likewise relates the death of Dido after Virgil, and in honour of his
king he gives a detailed account of the battle of Lepanto. In addition
to the descriptions, some of the speeches, particularly that delivered
by the Cacique Colocolo in the second canto,[414] may be referred to as
the best parts of this unpoetic poem.

Meanwhile the passion for epic poetry, which took possession of so many
Spanish writers in the age of Cervantes and Lope de Vega, gave birth to
a torrent of heroic poems. To the Caroliads, which have already been
noticed, there succeeded _La Restauracion de España_, (the Restoration
of Spain), by Christoval de Mesa; _Las Navas de Tolosa_, (the Plains
of Toulouse), by the same author; _La Numantina_, by Francisco de
Mesquera; _La Invencion de la Cruz_, (the Invention of the Cross), by
Lopez Zarate; _Maltea_, by Hyppolyto Sanz; _El Leon de España_, (the
Spanish Lion), by Pedro de Vezilla; _Saguntina_, by Lorenzo de Zamora;
_Mexicana_, by Gabriel Laso de Vega; _Austriada_, by Rufo Guttieraz;
&c. None but men who make this branch of literature their particular
study, now think of perusing these and similar patriotic effusions,
which were at the period of their publication regarded as epic
poems,[415] but which only serve to prove, with the greater certainty,
that Spain is incapable of producing a Homer. A genuine subject for
epopee was scarcely to be found in the national history of Spain, even
during the ages of chivalry; and modern history was not then more
susceptible than now of receiving a truly epic form.


Lyric and bucolic poetry and also elegant satire, after the two
Argensolas had given the tone to that species of composition, continued
to be cultivated by various pupils of the classic school of the
sixteenth century. This school which was then on the decline in Italy,
still maintained its ground in Spain, and preserved its reputation in
spite of the opposition made by the different parties who contended
for their respective styles, particularly by that of Lope de Vega,
and by one of a still more dangerous kind, which will soon be more
distinctly noticed. The disciples of this classic school, together
with those writers who, since the time of Boscan and Garcilaso de la
Vega, had formed their style on the model of the ancients and the most
esteemed poets of Italy, may be called the Spanish _Cinquecentisti_,
in a favourable sense of the term, though some of them wrote in
the seventeenth century. The most distinguished among them really
flourished in the sixteenth century; and the rest, whose number is
incalculable, possessed, at least, the merit of endeavouring, like the
Italian _Cinquecentisti_, to express sensible ideas in correct language.

To this classic school belongs Vicente Espinel, an ecclesiastic of the
province of Granada. He was likewise celebrated as a musician, and he
perfected the Spanish guitar by the addition of the fifth string. He
died in poverty, in the ninetieth year of his age, at Madrid in 1634.
His canciones, idyls, and elegies, though destitute of originality,
are distinguished by a spirited and inartificial character, and they
abound in beautiful images and descriptions. Espinel’s poetic style is
extremely melodious. In his idyls he has very successfully imitated
the pleasing syllabic measure which Gil Polo introduced into Spanish
literature under the name of _Rimas Provenzales_;[416] and he was one
of those writers who most contributed to bestow a metrical polish
on the redondilla stanzas of ten lines, (_decimas_). He translated
Horace’s Art of Poetry, in iambic blank verse, and several of Horace’s
Odes after the manner of Luis de Leon. Some of this author’s prose
works will hereafter be noticed.[417]

Christoval de Mesa, an ecclesiastic of Estremadura, was contemporary
with Tarquato Tasso, with whom he maintained the most friendly
intercourse. He made, however, very little improvement in epic art
through his intimacy with that celebrated man. Of three compositions,
which Christoval de Mesa intended for epic poems, not one has been
preserved from oblivion. His tragedy of Pompey is likewise forgotten.
He was nevertheless a good translator; and his translations of the
Æneid and the Iliad are esteemed even at the present day. He also
published a Spanish version of Virgil’s Georgics.

Juan de Morales obtained a similar reputation through his translation
of Horace’s Odes and Virgil’s Georgics. The particulars of his life are
not known. He wrote some good sonnets.[418] This writer must not be
confounded with his namesake, Ambrosio de Morales, the historian.

Agustin de Texada, or Tejada, who was born in the year 1635, is
distinguished as a writer of spiritual odes and canciones. His poems in
this class vie with those of the younger Argensola in poetic dignity of
composition and genuine lyric diction.[419] He has, however, committed
the error of introducing mythological images in his christian poetry.
But in this respect he merely conformed with the bad taste of his age,
which in Spain and Portugal favoured the most absurd misapplication
of the Greek mythology; for, to humour the prejudices of the church,
it was necessary that the heathen deities should appear only as
allegorical characters in catholic poetry.

Andres Rey de Artieda, a brave Arragonian officer, was a very learned
scholar and a particular friend of the Argensolas. Among other works,
he wrote poetic epistles which are full of good sense and natural
feeling.[420] His sonnets are remarkable for their novel and poignant

Gregorio Morillo imitated Juvenal in his didactic satires, and vented
his spleen in well-turned verses.[422]

Luis Barahona de Soto is, in preference to many of his contemporaries,
entitled to an honourable place among Spanish poets. He was born in the
province of Granada, and was a physician by profession. His eclogues
resemble those of Garcilaso de la Vega; and his canciones abound in
romantic grace.[423] His satires, which were lately republished, have
the spirit of Juvenal, but want the delicacy of Horace; they are,
however, written in a clear and energetic style. This writer moreover
gained celebrity by a continuation of the Orlando Furioso, which was
highly esteemed by Cervantes, and which is entitled, _Las Lagrimas de
Angelica_, (the Tears of Angelica).[424]

Pedro Soto de Rojas, who was a particular favourite of Lope de Vega,
endeavoured to introduce the academic systems of Italy, which had never
been successfully imitated in Spain. A literary society established
at Madrid, after the Italian fashion, received the ludicrous title of
_Academia Selvaje_, (Academy of Savages;) and in this society Soto de
Rojas was distinguished by the surname of _l’Ardiente_. His eclogues
have the usual character of Spanish poems of that class, clothed in
elegant and harmonious language.[425]

Luis Martin, or Martinez de la Plaza, an ecclesiastic of Granada,
a province fertile in literary talent, was particularly celebrated
for the grace of his madrigals, and other small poems of a similar

Balthazar del Alcazar, who appears to have been a native of Andalusia,
sought to distinguish himself as a writer of epigrammatic madrigals.
In his comic madrigals,[427] he was, however, less successful than in
those of gallantry.[428] He also appears to have been one of the first
Spanish poets who wrote odes in sapphic feet, in so far as the Spanish
language would permit the employment of that measure.[429]

Gonzalo de Argote y Molina, one of those brave men, who, in the
reign of Philip II. combated with enthusiasm for the honour of their
country and their king, but whose valour remained unrequited, was
more distinguished as an historian than as a poet. To his literary
patriotism the Spaniards were indebted for the publication of the
Infante Don Manuel’s _Conde Lucanor_.[430] His poems are, however,
worthy of honourable notice. An ardent love of country is the soul of
his canciones and other lyric compositions.[431]

Francisco de Figueroa spent a portion of his life in Italy, in the
twofold capacity of an officer and a statesman. During his residence
among the Italians, he enjoyed a degree of public esteem which was
extended to few of his countrymen. He wrote poems in Italian as well as
in Spanish. Among his friends and admirers he was called the _divine_,
and he was ranked among the most eminent Petrarchists of his age. His
amatory sonnets are written in a pleasing and natural style, and abound
in the softest touches of romantic melancholy.[432] The admirers of
Francisco de Figueroa likewise conferred on him the surname of the
Spanish Pindar; but that was a mere whim.[433]

Christoval Suarez de Figueroa, who was an imitator of Montemayor, wrote
a pastoral romance, entitled _Amarillis_, which was very generally read
at the time of its publication. He also made a translation of Guarini’s
Pastor Fido, and cultivated with some degree of success the Italian
lyric forms of pastoral romance. Some of the poems of the latter class
contained in the _Romancero General_, appear to be written by this
author. His _Endechas_, or Elegiac Songs in the popular style, though
not particularly rich in ideas, are nevertheless pleasing with respect
to language and versification.[434]

Another poet of this name, Bartholomè Cayrasco de Figueroa, is the
author of a long series of spiritual canciones and tales called
_cantos_, which were much esteemed on account of the edification
attributed to their contents. In these poems he explains the mysticism
of the christian religion, according to the catholic dogmas and the
scholastic ideas of christian virtue, in a manner more pedantic than
poetic; but yet in pure and elegant language. He was likewise one of
the Spanish imitators of the Italian verse with dactyllic terminations,
called _versos esdrujolos_, from the Italian _versi sdruccioli_.[435]

Juan de Arguijo, a native of Seville, seems to have enjoyed high
reputation among the poets of his time. Lope de Vega formally dedicated
several of his works to him. Some well written sonnets and other small
poems are the only productions of this author now extant.[436]

Pedro Espinosa, an ecclesiastic who possessed some poetic talent,
and who wrote on various subjects, compiled a lyric anthology of the
works of the above and other Spanish poets, who adhered more or less
rigidly to the principles of the old school, but whose fancy sometimes
roamed unrestrained with Lope de Vega, or sometimes degenerated into
affectation with Gongora.[437]


It is impossible to draw a rigid line of separation between the
disciples of the classic school, and the partizans of lyric
irregularity, who indulged in no less freedom than Lope de Vega, while
at the same time they endeavoured to exceed him in forced conceits.
Even the disciples of the classic school are not totally exempt from
extravagant ideas and unnatural metaphors; and they occasionally pour
forth a torrent of words, which though sometimes big with brilliant
ideas, more frequently wastes itself in mere froth and foam. It
cannot be doubted that the Italian school of the Marinists exercised
an influence on these Spanish poets. But Marino, being a Neapolitan
by birth, was a Spanish subject, and educated among Spaniards. It is
therefore more natural to regard his style as originally Spanish,
than to trace to Italy the source of those aberrations of fancy,
which, in the age of Cervantes and Lope de Vega, again found admirers
in Spain. Marino’s was the old Spanish national style, with all its
faults, divested of its ancient energy and purity, polished after
a new fashion, stripped of its simplicity, tortured into the most
absurd affectation of refinement, and that affectation displayed in a
boundless prolixity.

One of the most zealous adherents of this party was Manuel Faria y
Sousa, a Portuguese by birth. Some cause of discontent had induced him
to quit his native country and to fix his residence in Spain; and in
composing both poetry and prose, he in general preferred the Castilian
to his vernacular tongue.[438] It can scarcely be supposed that he
introduced this perverted taste from Portugal; though his Portuguese
poems exhibit no less affectation of style than those which he composed
in Castilian, and in which a judicious direction of the fancy is seldom
observable. His ideas are, for the most part, intolerably fantastic.
One of his Castilian songs, for example, is composed in honour of his
mistress’s eyes, “in whose beauty, (he says) love has inscribed the
poet’s fate, and which are as large as his pain, and as black as his
destiny, &c.”[439] He displays similar extravagance in most of his
Castilian sonnets: in one, for instance, he relates “how ten lucid
arrows of chrystal, were darted at him from the eyes of his Albania,
which produced a _rubious_ effect on his pain, though the cause was
chrystaline,” &c.[440] In this absurd style he composed hundreds of
sonnets. Faria y Sousa, however, wrote several good works on history
and statistics;[441] and it must be recollected that in his poetry he
merely followed the party which he most admired, and which indeed had
its precursors in Portugal as well as in Spain.

This party which soon became powerful, imitated the negligence of
Lope de Vega. But Lope de Vega was not a pedant; and when he failed
in producing real beauties, he did not coin false ones. His pretended
imitators, however, used the alloy of pedantry most unsparingly, and
thereby carried the affectation of ingenious thoughts, in the style of
the Italian Marinists, to an incredible height.


Luis de Gongora de Argote was the founder and the idol of the
fantastical sect, which at this period led the fashion in literature,
and attempted to create a new epoch in Spanish poetry by dint of
exquisite cultivation and refinement. Gongora was a man of shrewd
and powerful mind; but his natural faculties were perverted by a
systematic prosecution of absurd critical reveries. Through life he
had to maintain a constant struggle with the frowns of fortune. He was
born in Cordova, in the year 1561; and after completing his studies in
his native city found himself without any provision for the future.
He took holy orders, and after eleven years of solicitation at the
court of Madrid, obtained a scanty benefice. The dissatisfied turn of
mind, occasioned by his adverse fortune, contributed to develope that
caustic wit, for which he was particularly distinguished. He wrote
satirical sonnets, which for bitterness of spirit can scarcely be
exceeded;[442] and he was still more successful in romances and songs
in the burlesque satirical style. Works of this kind, did not, it is
true, possess the merit of novelty in Spanish literature; but Gongora’s
satirical poems are vastly superior to those of Castillejo. It would
be scarcely possible to preserve, in a translation, the caustic
spirit of Gongora’s romances and songs. To give full effect to these
compositions, the genuine national spirit of the serious romances and
canciones must never be lost sight of. In Gongora’s satirical works the
language and versification are correct and elegant, and the piquant
simplicity of the whole style would never lead to the supposition that
the ambition of marking an epoch in literature could have betrayed
the author into the most intolerable affectation.[443] He was less
successful in seizing the cordial tone of the old narrative romances.
But his canciones in the ancient Spanish style are in general masterly
compositions, full of true natural and poetic feeling.[444]

It was doubtless in one of his moments of ill-humour that Gongora
conceived the idea of creating for serious poetry a peculiar
phraseology, which he called the _estilo culto_, meaning thereby the
highly cultivated or polished style. In fulfilment of this object,
he formed for himself, with the most laborious assiduity, a style as
uncommon as affected, and opposed to all the ordinary rules of the
Spanish language, either in prose or verse. He particularly endeavoured
to introduce into his native tongue the intricate constructions of
the greek and latin, though such an arrangement of words had never
before been attempted in Spanish composition. He consequently found it
necessary to invent a particular system of punctuation, in order to
render the sense of his verses intelligible. Not satisfied with this
patchwork kind of phraseology he affected to attach an extraordinary
depth of meaning to each word, and to diffuse an air of superior
dignity over his whole style. In Gongora’s poetry the most common
words received a totally new signification; and in order to impart
perfection to his _estilo culto_, he summoned all his mythological
learning to his aid. Such was Gongora’s _New Art_. In this style he
wrote his _Soledades_, his _Polyphemus_, and several other works. Even
the choice of the title _Soledades_, (Solitudes), was an instance of
Gongora’s affectation; for he did not intend to express by that term
the signification attached to a similar Portuguese word, (_Saudade_),
which is the title for a work relating to the thoughts and aspirations
of a recluse. Gongora wished by his fantastic title to convey an idea
of solitary forests, because he had divided his poem into _sylvas_,
(forests), according to a particular meaning which the word bears in
latin. This work, like all Gongora’s productions in the same style,
is merely an insipid fiction, full of pompous mythological images,
described in a strain of the most fantastic bombast.[445] The Duke
of Bejar, to whom the work is inscribed, must, if he only read the
dedicatory lines, have imagined himself transported to some foreign
region, in which the Spanish language was tortured without mercy.[446]
Gongora appears to have been peculiarly anxious to develope the spirit
of his _New Art_, both at the commencement and the close of his
whimsical compositions.[447]

Gongora’s innovations did not, however, tend to better his fortune;
for when he died in 1627, he held merely the post of titular chaplain
to the king. But his works were universally read in Spain; and in
proportion as men of sound judgment emphatically protested against the
absurd innovations of the Gongorists, the more vehemently did these
assert their pretensions.[448] Thus Gongora in some measure attained
his object. His arduous exertions to establish his style did not,
it is true, promote him to a lucrative post; but they were rewarded
with the unlimited admiration of a numerous party, composed of men of
half-formed taste, who found it easy in the crisis of the conflict
between the Spanish national style and the Italian, to raise themselves
into importance. Proud of their half cultivation, they regarded every
writer who did not admire and imitate the style of their master, as a
man of limited talent, incapable of appreciating the beauties of their
_estilo culto_.[449] But none of Gongora’s partizans possessed the
talent of their leader, and their affectation became on that account
still more insupportable. They soon separated into two similar yet
distinct schools, one of which represented the pedantry of its founder,
while the other, in order to render the art of versifying the easier,
even dispensed with that precision of style which Gongora, in his
wildest flights, still sought to preserve. The disciples of the first
school were proud to be the commentators of their master; and in their
voluminous illustrations of Gongora’s unintelligible works, they did
not neglect to pour forth all the stores of their erudition.[450] These
were called the _Cultoristos_, a name which was applied to them in
derision. The second school of the Gongorists more nearly resembled
that of the Marinists; and its disciples were distinguished by the name
of _Conceptistos_, in imitation of the Italian term _Concettisti_,
which was applied to the followers of Marino. The _Conceptistos_
revelled in the wildest regions of fancy, without the least regard
to propriety or precision, and were only desirous of expressing
preposterous and extravagant ideas (_concetti_) in the unnatural
language of Gongora. Some individuals of this party were, however,
inclined to imitate the careless style of Lope de Vega.

Alonzo de Ladesma, who died a few years before Gongora, obtained
admirers for his poems, chiefly spiritual, which he wrote in the
obscure phraseology of the _estilo culto_.[451] For example, in
paraphrazing the mysteries of the catholic faith in lyric romances, he
thus speaks of the birth of the Saviour:--“The star of the east rose
at the time ordained by God, so that the enemy of day might lose the
prey he had seized, and with it the hope of his false pretensions, as
God assumed human flesh in order that man might enjoy him,” &c.[452] To
men imbued with superstition, and denied all reasoning in matters of
faith, ravings of this kind were well calculated to turn their heads,
and involve them in a vortex of romantic mysticism.

Felix de Arteaga was likewise a zealous cultivator of this distorted
style, both in sacred and profane poetry. In 1618, he held the post
of court chaplain at Madrid, and he lived until the year 1633. The
chief portion of his songs, romances, and sonnets, are of the pastoral
kind. He extols “the miracles of the fair Amarillis, that angel of
the superior class, to whom truth and passion have given the name of
Phœnix. She once espied before her door a peasant, who, though not
worthy to adore her, was yet worthy to languish for her sake. This
happened one evening, which was a morning, since Aurora smiled, and
shewed white pearls between rows of glowing carmine. The angel was
amused by burning those she had illumined, and this beautiful angel
fell from the heaven of her ownself,” &c.[453] This author also wrote,
after the manner of Lope de Vega, a comedy, called _Gridonia_, which
he styles a royal invention, (_invencion real_), because potentates,
princes, and princesses are brought together from the most distant
parts of the earth, and introduced with vast scenic pomp.[454]

Some of the adherents of this party, who were distinguished for natural
genius and ability, will be hereafter noticed. We must not, however,
neglect to mention that the _estilo culto_ likewise gained a footing
in Spanish America; and that various works in that style by Alonzo de
Castillo Solorzano, were very neatly printed at Mexico in the year


Lope de Vega had now become the model of the Spanish dramatic poets,
who soon appeared as numerous, and laboured as assiduously as if they
had been bound to supply all the theatres in the universe with new
pieces. But most of these dramatists, who may altogether be considered
as forming one great school, were contemporary with Lope de Vega only
during their younger years. The elegant Calderon, who was born in the
year 1600, may also have influenced the exercise of their talents. In
the history of the Spanish theatre, it will therefore be proper to
range together those dramatists on whom it is probable the example of
Calderon may have operated.[456] This, however, is the proper place
for noticing two contemporaries of Lope de Vega.

The first of these writers, whose talents entitle them to an honourable
rank in literature, is Christoval de Virues, a native of Valencia.
He fought in the battle of Lepanto, and is usually distinguished by
his military title of captain. The period of his death is not known.
Both Cervantes and Lope de Vega mention him in terms of commendation.
Virues was not the pupil of Lope. Though older, as it would appear,
than that distinguished man, he was, like him, inspired with enthusiasm
for dramatic poetry; and they entered upon the same career at nearly
the same time. Virues did not adhere more attentively than Lope to
the strict rules of the ancient drama. But he wanted the fertile
imagination of his rival, and he conceived it necessary that the modern
drama should approximate in a slight degree to the antique, at least
in some of its forms. He was one of the Spanish dramatists by whom
the last attempts were made to separate tragedy from comedy; and his
efforts in this way are deserving of more praise than has hitherto
been conceded to them. Virues was a poet born for tragic art; but his
genius wanted cultivation. Pure poetic spirit, and a bold and energetic
style, are the distinguishing features of all his works. But, like
Lope de Vega, he was every inch a Spaniard. He obeyed the influence
of the national taste, and he could not restrain his own genius within
the bounds which he had himself prescribed. Among his five tragedies
are some which might more properly be termed comedies, according to
the Spanish acceptation of the term.[457] It is obvious that Virues
endeavoured to create a sphere of his own, and that in proportion as he
wrote he made advances in his art. His _Semiramis_, the first tragedy
he wrote, which is chiefly in octaves, interspersed here and there
with redondillas, is crude both in conception and execution; but the
language even of this imperfect drama, makes energetic approaches to
that genuine expression of tragic pathos, which Cervantes and the elder
Argensola in some measure attained.[458] His tragedy, entitled _La
Cruel Casandra_, which is richer in dramatic spirit, and more finished
and systematic in its execution, might in the hands of a writer of
genius be easily rendered a tragic master-piece. Virues selected from
the history of the kingdom of Leon, the subject of this tragedy, in
which he intended to unite the ancient and modern styles.[459] That
a drama of intrigue, like the _Casandra_, should not have obtained
greater popularity in Spain would be inexplicable, were it not for the
dislike which the Spanish public manifested towards all dramas in
which the tragic character was exhibited without the intervention of
comic scenes. Cultivated taste will, however, perceive many faults in
this tragedy. The uninterrupted delirium of passion, which prevails
from the beginning to the end of the piece, renders the whole more
astounding than impressive. The stormy movement of the action has,
notwithstanding, in most of the scenes, a very captivating effect;
and that passionate vehemence, in the painting of which Virues was
eminently successful, is, in this drama, characteristically Spanish.
The horrible deaths with which the piece closes, and which, according
to the nature of the catastrophe were by no means necessary, are
likewise in unison with the spirit of a Spanish national tragedy.
The spring of action is the wicked spirit of a revengeful woman whom
jealousy betrays into a series of the most treacherous intrigues. The
dialogue is occasionally somewhat declamatory; but in its best parts
it is energetic and unconstrained.[460] Of all the dramas of Virues,
his _Marcella_ in which princes, princesses, robbers, peasants, and
servants, are jumbled together in irregular confusion, was doubtless
most in unison with the Spanish taste.

The other Spanish dramatist who remains to be noticed among the poetic
writers of the age of Lope de Vega, is Juan Perez de Montalvan,
whom Lope himself regarded as his first pupil, and who obtained,
probably through the interest of his patron, the post of notary to the
inquisition. He was a young man of distinguished talent, and even in
his seventeenth year he wrote plays in the style of Lope de Vega. He
first entered the lists in competition with his master, after whose
death he pursued his literary occupations with such assiduity, that
when he died in 1639, though aged only thirty-five, the number of
his comedies and autos amounted to nearly one hundred. He was also
the author of several novels, which will be particularly noticed in
another place. He put together in a single volume, some of his dramas
and novels, and his moral reflections, full of formal erudition; and
this singular compilation was published under the no less singular
title of Book for All.[461] His comedies are neither more finished nor
more systematic than those of his master, but they prove how easily a
Spanish writer of imagination might, in that age, be roused to venture
into competition with the inexhaustible Lope de Vega, and also how
far a poet of talent, with a certain degree of practice, was capable
of succeeding in dramatic intrigue. Montalvan’s comedies possess,
however, a more particular interest, inasmuch as they exhibit traces
of genius, which under other circumstances would have constituted a
painter of dramatic character. In two of his historical comedies, he
has introduced Henry IV. of France, and Philip II. of Spain. A kind of
moral dignity, almost approaching to sanctity, is falsely attributed
to the latter; but the prominent features of his character are truly
seized and strikingly delineated.[462] The amiable Henry IV. is,
however, pourtrayed to the life.[463] In his _Autos Sacramentales_,
Montalvan even ventured to differ from Lope de Vega, in order to give
to these dramas the popular character which Lope had sacrificed in his
allegorical moralities. He composed an auto on the romantic conversion
of Skanderbeg, in which drums, trumpets, clarionets, explosions of
squibs and rockets, and all the pomp of spectacle is introduced.
But the most extravagant creation of Montalvan’s fancy, is his auto
of _Polyphemus_, in which the cyclops of that name appears as the
allegorical representative of judaism; and the rest of the cyclops,
together with the nymph Galathæa, and other mythological beings, are
introduced for the allegorical personation of faith and infidelity,
according to christian notions. To these characters are added, Appetite
as a peasant, Joy as a lady, and finally the Infant Christ. Drum and
trumpet accompaniments are not forgotten in this auto. The cyclops
too perform on the guitar; and an island sinks amidst a tremendous
explosion of fire works.[464]


Notwithstanding that poetry, sometimes under heterogeneous, sometimes
under harmonizing forms, was, next to religion, the object which
principally interested the Spanish public in the age of Cervantes and
Lope de Vega, yet elegant prose was not consigned to such obscurity as
to engage only the attention of the learned. The old Spanish soundness
of understanding which particularly displayed itself in Cervantes and
the two Argensolas, still, in some measure maintained its influence.
But upon the whole that rhetorical cultivation which had been so early
developed in Spain was obviously on the decline.

Novels and romances, either decidedly bad or very indifferent, were
as widely circulated as rapidly produced, and so great was their
number that they counteracted the good effects which the master-piece
of Cervantes must necessarily have produced under more favourable
circumstances. If few new romances of chivalry were now written, the
old ones were read with the greater avidity. After the Galatea of
Cervantes, any very successful production in pastoral romance was
scarcely to be expected. Romances, depicting the manners of modern
society, were, however, proportionally the more numerous. Among the
best of the serious, but yet spirited productions of this class, is
the Life of _Marcos de Obregon_;[465] by the poet and musician Vicente
Espinel.[466] The object of the author was, in his old age, to transmit
useful instruction to the rising generation in the form of a novel. The
Spanish title in which the hero of the story is styled an _Escudero_,
would seem to indicate a romance of chivalry, but the whole character
of the work is modern. The Escudero is a sort of gentleman or squire by
courtesy, and by no means a shield-bearer. The book is intended as a
moral warning for young men without fortune, who hope to get honourably
through the world by attaching themselves to persons of distinction.
The story, though entertaining, presents nothing particularly
attractive; the narration is rather prolix, but still natural; and the
diction plainly denotes the classic pupil of the sixteenth century,
though Espinel, as he states in his preface, consigned his romance to
the correction of Lope de Vega, whom he styles the “divine genius,”
after having himself revised the verses which Lope composed in his
youth. The insipid jokes which occur in Marcos de Obregon, for example
those in derision of the Portuguese and their language, must be
considered as belonging to the natural local colouring of the work.

Among the romances of knavery, (_del gusto picaresco_), the celebrated
Don Guzman de Alfarache may claim a distinguished place next to
Lazarillo de Tormes.[467] It was published in the year 1599, and
consequently before Don Quixote appeared. Like Lazarillo de Tormes it
was speedily translated into Italian and French, and was subsequently
published in various other languages, not excepting the latin. Mattheo
Aleman, the author of Guzman de Alfarache, who had withdrawn from the
court of Philip III. and lived in retirement, was not induced by the
success of his comic romance, to devote himself to a second production
of the same class. The knowledge of the world which he had acquired at
court, as well as in the sphere of common life, is doubtless abundantly
unfolded in his Guzman de Alfarache. The manners of the lower classes
of Spanish society, in particular, seem to be pourtrayed with
admirable accuracy. In spite of the vulgarity of the subject, and the
burlesque style in which it is treated, no ordinary share of judgment
is perceptible throughout the whole of this comic novel; and in his
humorous language the author has preserved a certain degree of natural
elegance even in describing the lowest scenes.

That the Spaniards were by no means sparing of approbation to works
of this class, is obvious from the attention bestowed on the mannered
continuation of Aleman’s romance, by a writer styling himself Mattheo
Luzan, and still more by the favour lavished upon _La Picara Justina_,
a silly and pedantic pendant to Guzman de Alfarache, by a writer named
Ubeda. In Cervantes’s Journey to Parnassus, no literary production of
the age is so categorically condemned as this _Picara Justina_. And yet
it was oftener printed, and probably more read than even the Journey to

Little anecdotal stories of a sprightly character, likewise made their
appearance in Spanish literature at this period. A collection of these
productions, connected together by means of dialogues, was published
in 1610, under the title of Pleasant Dialogues for the Carnival time,
(_Dialogos de Apacible Entretenimiento_), by Gaspar Lucas Hidalgo.

The political romance of Argenis, was pompously arranged to suit the
taste of the Spaniards of that age, by the Gongorist Pellicer de Salas.

Among the novels which possessed more of an imaginative character,
the best then produced were those of Perez de Montalvan, the dramatic

The present is not the proper place to introduce a complete or copious
list of all the works in the class above alluded to. Other writers have
already enumerated them with sufficient accuracy.[469] Unfortunately
even the very best of these novels and narratives present no traces of
the advancement of taste and literary cultivation.

The novels of a Spanish lady, named Doña Mariana de Caravajal y
Saavedra, must not be passed over without a particular notice.
Respecting this authoress, who was a native of the city of Granada,
but little is said by the writers on Spanish literature. Her ten
novels have been frequently reprinted, and were apparently very well
received by the public.[470] Doña Mariana states in her preface, that
her novels are intended to afford amusement in “the lazy nights of
chill winter;”[471] and they may, even now, be recommended to those
who stand in need of such amusement; for they are by no means devoid
of fancy though they are written in a style of affected verbosity. The
verses with which the tales are interspersed, exhibit no traces of
poetic talent. In her preface, the authoress promises to present to the
Spanish public, twelve comedies “from her ill-made pen,” as a proof of
the “kindness of her intention.”[472] Spain could indeed scarcely be
expected to give birth to a poetess in the true sense of the term. The
terrible yoke imposed on the conscience and the understanding, against
which even masculine genius could only contend by boldly plunging
into the wilds of romantic invention, weighed still more heavily on
the female mind, which without a certain spirit of freedom can seldom
range beyond the boundaries established by custom, and the routine of
ordinary thinking. Writers on Spanish literature, however, mention in
terms of approbation, several female writers of verses, and also women
of erudition, like Aloysia Sigea, distinguished for their knowledge of


At this period of Spanish eloquence, history was the only kind of
composition which maintained its old precision and dignity, while of
the perfect cultivation of the other branches of prose literature there
remained little hope.

The General History of Spain, by the Jesuit Juan de Mariana, though not
a model of historical art in the most extended sense of the term, is,
in point of style, unquestionably a classic production. Mariana, who
may be said to have transferred the genuine spirit of the eloquence
of the sixteenth century into the seventeenth,[473] was not one of
the pensioned historiographers or chroniclers who have already been
frequently mentioned, and who, it must be confessed, honourably
discharged their duties. He obtained reputation both in France and
Italy as a professor of scholastic philosophy and theology; but his
love of literary retirement induced him to return to Spain. Of his own
free choice he undertook to compose a new general History of Spain
from the earliest period to the death of Ferdinand the catholic. His
predecessors had been sufficiently numerous, and he did not find
it necessary to collect the materials for his history by laborious
compilations from the old authors and chroniclers of the middle ages.
He was thus at liberty to prescribe to himself a more pleasing task,
namely, that of judiciously combining the most interesting events,
and describing them with rhetorical precision in elegant language.
With the view of acquiring a prose style, formed in the spirit of the
classic historians of antiquity, Mariana composed his work originally
in latin,[474] a method which Cardinal Bembo had adopted in writing
his History of Venice. After he had completed this first labour, and
dedicated the thirty books of his history in latin to Philip II.
he followed the example of Bembo in translating it himself, and he
in fact recomposed it in Spanish.[475] This work he also dedicated
to the king. Though this twofold dedication might have served to
prove that the author was far from being liable to the imputation
of cherishing views dangerous to the state, yet a party, with whose
designs several passages of this history did not accord, found it easy
under the government of the ever jealous Philip, to cast on Mariana
the suspicion of favouring wicked and rebellious principles. He was
formally brought before the inquisition, and it was with difficulty he
escaped destruction. Had he devoted more attention to the philosophy
of history, he could not so easily have repelled the charge of
impartiality, to aim at which was then considered an unwarrantable
assumption not to be tolerated in any Spanish writer. But it is only
in his style that Mariana was impartial. To exhibit facts as they
stood in their natural connection, was sufficient to give umbrage to
the court and the inquisition; and solely to such an exposition was it
owing, that the historian’s intentions became a subject of suspicion.
Elegant composition was his grand object; and in this respect he far
excels Bembo, because he is not, like him, mannered. His diction is
perfectly faultless, his descriptions picturesque without poetic
ornament; and his narrative style may, on the whole, be accounted
a model. He has been very successful in avoiding protracted and
artificially constructed sentences.[476] Mariana could not, however,
resist the temptation of putting speeches into the mouths of his
historical characters, after the manner of the ancient historians. In
fine, comparing this history with other works of a similar kind, which
previously existed in Spanish literature, it will be found that, though
justly entitled to a high share of esteem, it cannot be regarded as
forming an epoch either in a philosophic or literary point of view.

Having described the rise and progress of the historical art in Spain,
it cannot be necessary to give a minute notice of historical works,
which for the most part possess only the negative merit of not being
ill written. The age of Cervantes and Lope de Vega was, moreover,
the period at which the historical literature of the Spaniards began
to form itself into that perfect whole for which it is so peculiarly
remarkable. At that time the old chronicles were committed to the
press one after another: and the continuation and correction of the
national history was the only literary occupation which could be
pursued with any hope of success by men of talent, who felt no impulse
to poetry; unless, indeed, they preferred to distinguish themselves in
scholastic theology, or in writing books of pious edification, in which
it was, above all things, necessary to take care to say nothing new.

It is still less necessary to enter upon a detailed examination of
various works in the didactic department of Spanish literature, which
are upon the whole not badly written, but not one of which exceeds in
rhetorical merit the works of Perez de Oliva, Ambrosio de Morales,
and other authors, who have already been mentioned. The writings of
Balthasar, or Lorenzo Gracian, who endeavoured to introduce a kind of
_gongorism_ into Spanish prose, will be more fully noticed at the close
of the present book.


In order to mark, by sensible gradations, the transition from the
golden age of Spanish poetry and eloquence, to those sad times, when
the energy of the national genius was, after a long conflict with
opposing circumstances, destined to be overcome, it will be proper
first to notice some poets and prose authors, who during the latter
half of the period embraced by the present section, assumed a tone
peculiar to themselves; and also, another set of writers who were their
immediate successors. Quevedo may with propriety be placed at their
head. During a part of his life he was contemporary with Cervantes,
Lope de Vega, and the Argensolas, and was, moreover, an opposer of
the New Art of Gongora. But both in poetry and prose he deviates so
strikingly from the classic, and so obviously approaches the ornamented
and artificial style, that by commencing with him the retrograde course
which Spanish literature began to take even in the period of its
highest cultivation, will be most distinctly perceived.


The circumstances of the life of Francisco de Quevedo Villegas,[477] a
man who has almost invariably been praised or censured with partiality,
had a most important influence on the developement and employment
of his talents. He began even in childhood to breathe the air of
courts. He was born, in 1580, at Madrid, of a noble family, and was
educated at the court under the care of his widowed mother who was
one of the ladies of the royal household. An eager curiosity was the
first indication of his active and restless mind; and the impressions
which he received in his infancy, induced him to make the scholastic
theology of catholicism his first study in preference to every other
kind of knowledge. He was sent to the university of Alcala, where he
received the degree of doctor in theology in his fifteenth year, a
fact which appears almost incredible. Grown weary of theology, he
directed his attention to law, philology, natural philosophy, medicine,
and elegant literature; and he pursued all these studies without any
regular order. It is probable that at this period he injured his sight
by indefatigable reading; for in the prime of life he was incapable of
distinguishing any object at the distance of three paces, without the
aid of glasses. But neither this infirmity nor the crooked legs which
he had received from nature, deterred him from mingling in fashionable
society. His figure, which was in other respects strong and well
proportioned, joined to his prepossessing countenance, contributed in
no slight degree to the early developement of his self-esteem.

Quevedo returned to the court of Madrid, with a mind stored with
all kinds of academic knowledge. But he soon became engaged in a
dispute, fought a duel in which he wounded his antagonist, and was
compelled to fly. He proceeded to Italy, where the Spanish Viceroy of
Naples, Don Pedro Giron, Duke of Ossuna, interested himself for the
accomplished fugitive. He procured his pardon at Madrid, and retained
him in his service at Naples. Quevedo now became a statesman and a man
of business. He played the most prominent part at the court of the
Vice-king, executed important commissions, visited the papal court,
in quality of ambassador, was rewarded with titles and pensions, and
seemed to be the favourite of fortune. But he was suddenly cast down
by the fall of his patron, the Duke of Ossuna. Quevedo was connected
with that powerful grandee in all his transactions, and thus became
involved in his fate. In 1620, in the fortieth year of his age, he was
arrested and removed to his country seat, La Torre de Juan Abad, where
he was, by the order of the government, confined during three years,
notwithstanding his delicate state of health, which this restraint
rendered daily worse. So rigidly was this kind of imprisonment
enforced, that it was with great difficulty he could obtain leave to go
to a neighbouring town to commit himself to the care of a physician in
whom he could confide.

At length Quevedo’s papers being strictly examined, his innocence
became unquestionable, and he was set at liberty. He now demanded
indemnification and the payment of the arrears of his pension. Instead,
however, of obtaining attention to his claims, he was threatened with
a new exile, and received an order to quit the court. This sentence he
found means to evade, and even court intrigue seemed at last inclined
to favour him; but in the conflict between vanity and reason, Quevedo
in due time proved himself a philosopher. He willingly forsook the
court, retired to his estate of La Torre, and devoted himself wholly
to literary pursuits. It is probable that at this period he wrote the
poems which on their first appearance were published as the works of
the Bachelor de la Torre, an old poet of the fifteenth century. The
name of his country residence apparently suggested to Quevedo the
disguise of the above title. There is also reason to suppose that at
this period he wrote the greater portion of his works both in prose
and verse. But these writings, which overflow with wit and satire, and
display that firmness of judgment and character, which is always so
unwelcome at courts, tended to keep alive the attention of those who
conceived themselves to be attacked. As the crisis of his varied fate
approached, Quevedo seems to have totally forgotten the intrigues of
which he had been the victim. He had already passed several years in
literary tranquillity, and was upwards of fifty years of age when he
married. But his wife, to whom he was tenderly attached, did not live
long. Quevedo’s evil star once more induced him to visit Madrid, where
in 1641, he was arrested at midnight in the house of a friend with
whom he resided. The charge preferred against him, was that of being a
libeller, who spared neither the government nor public morals; he was
thrown into a small and unwholesome prison, and treated with the most
rigid severity, not even experiencing the humanity usually extended to
the vilest criminals. In the meanwhile his property was sequestrated,
and though not convicted of any crime, he was compelled to subsist on
charity. He was again seized with a severe fit of illness. His body
broke out in ulcers, in consequence of the insalubrity of his prison,
but he was even then denied the aid of a surgeon. In this situation
Quevedo appealed for justice to the Duke of Olivares, the all-powerful
prime minister of Spain, in a letter which has become celebrated. His
case was now, for the first time, strictly investigated; and it was
ascertained that he had merely been supposed to be the author of a
libel, which was subsequently discovered to have been written in a
monastery. Quevedo once more regained his freedom, but with the loss
of a considerable portion of his fortune, of which indeed he retained
so scanty a remnant, that he was unable to continue long enough in
Madrid to solicit the indemnification which was so justly due to him,
and without which he could not subsist with respectability. A prey
to sickness, and deprived of the hope of ever obtaining justice, he
retired to his country seat, and there died in the year 1645.

A man who, like Quevedo, reaped the bitterest fruits from political
justice, cannot be very heavily reproached for seizing in his
satires every opportunity of more severely chastising and ridiculing
the ministers of that justice, than any other enemies of truth
and equity. But Quevedo was not a mere satirist. He may, without
hesitation, be pronounced the most ingenious of all Spanish writers,
next to Cervantes; and his mind was, moreover, endowed with a degree
of practical judgment, which is seldom found combined with that
versatility for which he was distinguished. Could Quevedo have ruled
the taste and genius of his nation and his age in the same degree in
which that taste and genius influenced him, his versatility, joined
to his talent for composing verses with no less rapidity than Lope
de Vega, might have rendered him, if not a poet of the first rank
in the loftier region of art, at least a classic writer of almost
unrivalled merit. But this scholar and man of the world was too early
wedded to conventional forms of every kind. It may indeed be said that
he was steeped in all the colours of his age. A true feeling of the
independence of genius never animated him, lofty as his spirit in other
respects was. His taste imbibed some portion of all the conflicting
tastes which at that period existed in Spain. His style never acquired
originality, and his mind was only half cultivated.

Quevedo’s writings, taken altogether in verse and in prose, resemble
a massy ornament of jewellery, in which the setting of some parts is
exquisitely skilful, of others extremely rude, and in which the number
of false stones and of gems of inestimable value are nearly equal.
His most numerous, and unquestionably his best productions, are those
of the satirical and comic kind. Though Quevedo did not strike into a
totally new course, yet by a union peculiar to himself of sports of
fancy, with the maxims of reason and morality, he evidently enlarged
the sphere of satirical and comic poetry in Spanish literature. He
occasionally approached, though he never equalled, the delicacy and
correctness of Cervantes. His wit is sufficiently caustic; but it is
accompanied by a coarseness which would be surprising, considering
his situation in life, were it not that Quevedo, as an author,
sought to indemnify himself for the constraint to which, as a man
of the world he was compelled to submit. For this reason, perhaps,
he bestowed but little pains on the correction of his satires. His
ideas are striking; and are thrown together sometimes with absolute
carelessness, sometimes with refined precision; but for the most part
in a distorted and mannered strain of language. This mixed character
of cultivation and rudeness peculiarly characterizes his satirical and
comic works in verse, in which, as he himself says, he has exhibited
“truth in her smock, but not quite naked.”[478] He appears as the
rival of Gongora in numerous comic canciones and romances in the old
national style.[479] In these compositions he humorously parodied the
extravagant images of the Marinists,[480] and the affected singularity
of the Gongorists.[481] Quevedo wrote no inconsiderable number of his
comic and satirical poems in the jargon of the Spanish gypsies; and it
is therefore probable that they are not intelligible to many readers on
this side of the Pyrenees.[482] These romances and canciones, which
were distinguished by the name of Xacaras, were rendered so extremely
popular by Quevedo, that even down to the present day the Spaniards
continue to admire them.[483] His Bayles, or comic dancing songs, are,
on account of their numerous allusions to national peculiarities, no
less obscure to foreigners than the Xacaras.

Of all the Spanish poets, Quevedo has been the most successful writer
of burlesque sonnets in the Italian manner. Some of these sonnets he
shortened by depriving them of the three last of their legitimate
number of lines, while the Italians on the contrary, attached to
theirs the comic sequel which they called the _Coda_.[484] Quevedo’s
productions in this class are, for the most part, like their Italian
models, full of allusions which cannot be understood without the
assistance of a commentary. Some have a piquant sententious turn. But
that licentious humour which distinguishes this species of composition
in Italian literature Quevedo renounced, either voluntarily or from
fear of the inquisition. Besides his burlesque sonnets, he wrote
canciones and madrigals in the same style.

Quevedo’s satires in the manner of Juvenal, naturally connect
themselves with his burlesque poems. Like his model he has infused
into them nearly as much poetry as the satirical style is capable of
receiving.[485] These compositions display the noblest enthusiasm for
truth and justice,[486] and the most patriotic zeal for the honour of
Spain,[487] forcibly and clearly expressed.

Quevedo’s satires in verse and his poems of humour, are not so well
known out of Spain as his prose writings of the same description, of
which the most remarkable are his Visions or Dreams, and his novel of
the Great Tacaño, or the Captain of Thieves, called Don Pablos, (_Vida
del Buscon_, llamado D. Pablos), which certainly may be regarded as
the most burlesque of the knavery romances.[488] Lucian furnished him
with the original idea of satirical visions; but Quevedo’s were the
first of their kind in modern literature. Owing to frequent imitations,
their faults are now no longer disguised by the charm of novelty, and
even their merits have ceased to interest. Still, however, they must
be regarded as ingenious productions abounding in practical truths.
They are not, it is true, remarkable either for delicate satire or
pure philosophy. But Quevedo’s object was to scourge human folly and
vice in the mass; and the severe lashes which he deals out in his
Visions, are in excellent unison with the popular nature of the idea
and the poignant style of its execution. He has made perverted Justice,
with all her servants and satellites, and particularly the Alguazils,
figure in the fore ground of his picture; but the melancholy fate of
the author may well excuse, though even in the visionary world, these
monotonous features in his satirical work. Among the passages for
which no just excuse can be found, are some disgusting descriptions
of the consequences of physical excess. The reader is occasionally
surprised by the humorous sallies with which Quevedo breaks forth in
these Visions; for example, in that of the Last Judgment, in which
he describes “some merchants who had placed their souls across their
bodies, so that their five senses got into the finger nails of their
right hand.[489]”

For the serious works of Quevedo, we must refer to his poems, as his
serious compositions in prose are in general of a theological and
ascetic character. The sonnets, canciones, odes and pastoral poems,
which he published under the name of the Bachelor de la Torre, are even
at the present day highly extolled by critics;[490] and these poems
have certainly more correctness than most of Quevedo’s other works. But
they chiefly consist of imitations of the Spanish Petrarchist style,
which was always foreign to Quevedo; and notwithstanding the great
elegance of language and versification which distinguish them, they are
surcharged with antiquated phrases of affected gallantry. The _snows_
which _inflame_ the poet, and similar tropes in which the beauty of
a mistress is brilliantly set forth, occasionally call to mind the
style of the Italian Marinists. Nevertheless some of these sonnets well
deserve the favour which has been extended to them.[491] Quevedo’s
_Endechas_, or Laments, have a pleasing national character.[492] The
pastoral poems contained in this collection, approximate to the good
specimens of the sixteenth century. Quevedo evidently wished to prove
what he was capable of producing in this style of composition.

The serious poems of which Quevedo has avowed himself the author, are
very unequal in character.[493] His didactic and sententious sonnets
are energetic, but deficient in delicacy.[494] Some of the best assume
a satirical turn.[495] His odes in the Pindaric style are, however,
stiff and formal. He wrote a piece of moral declamation in verse,
called _Sermon Estoyco_, (Estoical Sermon), which is in truth precisely
what the title denotes.

That Quevedo entertained very vague notions respecting poetry, is
particularly evident from the whim which induced him to translate in
rhymed verse, the stoical Enchiridion, or Manual of Epictetus. The
translation is, however, much esteemed by the Spaniards.[496]


An Anacreon was still wanting to Spanish literature, though various
attempts in the Anacreontic style had been made. That a poet penetrated
at once with the classic spirit of Anacreon, Horace and Catullus,
should now arise, and become the favourite of the Spanish public,
was a thing scarcely to be expected; for all the resources of amatory
poetry in the only style which had hitherto been found agreeable to
Spanish taste, seemed to be exhausted. The poetry of Villegas, however,
produced precisely for this reason the more powerful impression on a
public which ardently longed for entertainment.

Estèvan Manuel de Villègas, was born in the year 1595, at Nagera,
or Naxera, a little town in Old Castile. The history of his life is
simple. His parents who were noble, though not rich, sent him to
study at Madrid and Salamanca. His taste for poetry was developed
at a very early period. Even in his fifteenth year he translated
Anacreon, and several of the odes of Horace in verse; and likewise
imitated those poets in original compositions. In his twentieth year
he gave the finishing touch to his youthful effusions, and added to
the collection of his translated and original poems, a second part,
which has since been published conjointly with them.[497] He soon
after printed the whole collection at his own expence at Naxera, under
the title of _Amatorias_; but in the interior of the book, the poems
are styled _Eroticas_.[498] Villegas ventured to dedicate these
poems, together with the part added to them, to which a particular
title might more properly have been assigned, to Philip III. though
individual parts of the collection had previously been addressed to
other patrons. That so indolent a monarch as Philip III. should have
accepted the dedication of such a collection, may not be surprising,
and the freedom was pardonable in a young author of three-and-twenty.
But this dedication is, in another respect, remarkable in the history
of Spanish literature; for the _Eroticas_ of Villegas contain some
passages, which though not wanting in delicacy of expression, are
nevertheless so extremely free, that it is wonderful how they happened
to escape the censure of the inquisition. The dedication was, however,
productive of neither good nor evil to the poet. For several years he
vainly solicited a lucrative office; and was at last obliged to content
himself with the scanty emolument arising from an insignificant post in
Naxera, his native town. From that time he devoted his leisure to the
composition of philological works in the latin language; and though he
produced nothing new for Spanish poetry, he made a prose translation of
five books of Boethius. He lived till the year 1669.

The graceful luxuriance of the poetry of Villegas has no parallel in
modern literature; and, generally speaking, no modern writer has
so well succeeded in blending the spirit of ancient poetry with the
modern. But constantly to observe that correctness of ideas, which
distinguished the classical compositions of antiquity, was by Villegas,
as by most Spanish poets, considered too rigid a requisition, and an
unnecessary restraint on genius. He accordingly sometimes degenerates
into conceits and images, the monstrous absurdity of which are
characteristic of the author’s nation and age. For instance, in one
of his odes in which he entreats Lyda to suffer her tresses to flow,
he says, that “when agitated by Zephyr, her locks would occasion a
thousand deaths, and subdue a thousand lives;”[499] and then he adds,
in a strain of extravagance, surpassing that of the Marinists, “that
the sun himself would cease to give light, if he did not snatch beams
from her radiant countenance to illumine the east.”[500] But faults of
this glaring kind, are by no means frequent in the poetry of Villegas;
and the fascinating grace with which he emulates his models, operates
with so powerful a charm, that the occasional occurrence of some little
affectations, from which he could scarcely be expected entirely to
abstain, is easily overlooked by the reader.

The order in which the poetic works of Villegas are arranged, is
by no means the best; but as it was chosen by the author, it is
proper that it should be observed in pursuing a notice of the poems
themselves. The first book of the first part commences with thirty-six
odes in the style of some of the odes of Horace. The Dedicatory Ode
addressed to the king, announces, in language truly charming, the
spirit of the whole collection.[501] Then follow in a similar strain,
the most delightful plays of fancy, abounding in classical allusions,
without the least trace of pedantry. The style of Villegas even
imparts a charm of novelty to descriptions of the oftenest described
things.[502] In these odes, romantic levity assumes freedoms, which
if not always of the most excusable, are invariably of the most
graceful description;[503] and the soft and melodious expression of
tender passion, which in more than one instance occurs, has never been

The second book of the first division of the poems of Villegas,
consists of odes, which are free translations of the first book of
Horace. It ought not, therefore, to have been ranked under the same
title with the other poems in the collection. There is something
pedantic in the generical titles by which he distinguishes the
different odes; for example--_Memptica_, _Enetica_, _Parænetica_, &c.

With the third book of the first division commence the Anacreontic
songs, or as they are styled in the collection, the _Delicias_ of
the poet. Their measure is chiefly anacreontic, sometimes in blank
verse, and at other times presenting the most pleasing alternation
of rhymes and assonances. Light pleasing images and soft luxuriant
ideas float through these songs even more gracefully than in the odes
attributed to Anacreon.[505] Nothing can exceed the beauty of those
in which a certain delicate moral feeling is combined with a pathetic
simplicity.[506] Only a few can be said to be absolutely copied from
the greek or latin originals.

The fourth book of the first part, contains the complete translation of
the greek odes ascribed to Anacreon. The second division is chiefly
occupied with elegies and idyls, or _eidillios_, as Villegas, in
hellenizing the term, chooses to call them. The elegies which might
with greater propriety be denominated epistles, do not belong to the
best of the kind in Spanish literature; in the idyls, or mythological
tales, as they ought to be called, Villegas appears as one of the
_Cultoristos_, or disciples of the school of Gongora.[507]

The collection concludes with several imitations of greek and latin
verse, which may be regarded as the first compositions of the kind
in Spanish, that were not complete failures. Doubtless the Spanish
language adapts itself somewhat more readily to the ancient metres
than the Italian; for final syllables sounded in pronunciation, but
subject to elision in scanning, do not occur so frequently in Spanish
as in Italian.--This difference is, however, in reality but of trivial
importance; and Spanish verses in the ancient syllabic measures do
not flow much more naturally than the Italian compositions of the
same kind; because many words derived from the latin, have received
in Spanish, as well as in Italian, a modern quantity,[508] which is
generally confounded with the ancient quantity by the imitators of the
greek and latin metres. The Spanish hexameters of Villegas, it is true,
approach in point of facility to the hexameters of antiquity.[509]
But the pentameters defied his imitative talent.[510] In his sapphic
verse the measure resolves into iambics: one of these sapphic odes is,
however, exquisitely beautiful.[511]


After Quevedo and Villegas, and before entering upon the notice of a
series of dramatic poets, whose works must form a subject of separate
consideration, it will be necessary to mention several ingenious
writers, who, though endowed with eminent talents, were nevertheless
unable to retard the fast approaching close of the golden era of
Spanish poesy.


If pure diction, joined to a descriptive style of the most perfect
kind, might form a sufficient claim to the title of poet of the first
rank, the right of Juan de Jauregui, or Xauregui, to that distinction,
among the Spanish poets of the first half of the seventeenth century,
could not be disputed. Jauregui, who was of Biscayan origin, but
educated in the interior of Spain, first developed his talents in
Italy. In that country he prosecuted his poetic studies, and at
the same time thought it no degradation to practise painting as a
profession, though he was a nobleman and a knight of the order of
Calatrava. He is said to have excelled in painting even more than
in poetry. While in Italy he made a Spanish translation of Tasso’s
Amynta, in which he was so successful, that the translation is still
regarded by the educated portion of his countrymen as possessing the
characteristics of the happiest original composition. Jauregui was a
decided opponent of the Gongorists; but his taste did not coincide
with that of Quevedo. He devoted much talent and industry to a free
translation of Lucan’s Pharsalia in octaves. He died in 1610; and
his poetic remains, exclusive of his translations, are by no means
numerous. The translation of Lucan was not published till long after
the death of Jauregui; but ever since its appearance, the Spaniards
have admired it as a classic composition; and it unquestionably
possesses all the merit that the translation of such a work can
possibly present. But from a man who could be induced to apply so much
labour and time to a translation of Lucan, no very extraordinary
proofs of poetic talent were to be expected; and it must be confessed
that Jauregui, in none of his compositions has risen above what may
be called the poetry of style. He might have carried this kind of
merit still farther, had not his Lucan led him into a kind of mannered
affectation. Among his original works, his _Orfeo_, a mythological
tale, in five cantos, deserves to be distinguished.[512] But his lyric
poems, and particularly his sonnets, bear evident traces of the man of
genius and of cultivated mind.[513] Jauregui’s dramatic compositions,
which were written with the view of reforming the national taste,
are now lost to literature, and were at the time of their production
indignantly banished from the stage. He is the author of some small
works in prose, one of which is a treatise on painting.[514]


Prince Francisco de Borja y Esquillache, a knight of the Golden Fleece,
and for some time viceroy of Peru, was the most distinguished, in
point of birth, of all the Spanish poets of his age.[515] With regard
to cultivation, he may be placed on a level with Jauregui; but he
deserves to rank higher in poetic invention. Throughout his long life,
which when he died in 1658, had extended to nearly eighty years, he
seems constantly to have devoted a portion of his time to the study
of poetry; and though he was not entitled to the praises lavished on
him by his flatterers, who styled him the Prince of Spanish Poets,
he may be regarded as the last representative of the classic style
of the sixteenth century. The collection of his sonnets, epistles,
tales, romances, and canciones, forms a large quarto volume, the last
half of which is printed in double columns.[516] Prince Francisco de
Borja, was likewise the author of an unsuccessful epic poem, entitled,
_Napoles Conquistada_, and various works on sacred subjects. Though he
did not contribute to the advancement of Spanish poetry, yet in all
his writings, he decidedly opposed that subtlety and affectation which
in the time of Gongora usurped the place of real genius. The intimate
friendship he had contracted in his youth with the younger Argensola,
had no doubt a favourable influence on the early developement of his
talent. In the preface to his poems, which is in verse, he explains
the principles of his taste with so much accuracy, modesty and
elegance, that the reader cannot fail to be prepossessed in his favour,
before entering on an attentive perusal of his works.[517] He was
particularly averse to all kinds of affectation and extravagance.[518]
Most of his sonnets bear traces of mature reflection.[519] His long
tale of Jacob and Rachel, (_Cantos de Jacob y Raquel_), in octaves, has
indeed no other merit than that of elegant diction.[520] His lyric
romances, however, of which he wrote upwards of two hundred and fifty,
present at once the richest and most beautiful gleanings in that
species of poetic composition.[521]


To enter into a detailed description of the works of some other
Spanish poets, with whom the old national poetry and the Italian style
equally perished, would be the more unnecessary here, as these poets,
though not without genius, wanted proper cultivation, and merely
followed in the general stream. Besides, there is no want of literary
notices which furnish abundant information respecting Luis de Ulloa,
Francisco de Rioja, Gravina, Manuel de Mela, Juan de Tarsis, Count of
Villamediana, and others.[522] It is, however, worthy of remark, that
at this period, as in the preceding ages, Spanish noblemen and men of
rank were particularly distinguished among the candidates for poetic
fame. The Poetic Forests, (_Sylvas_), as they were styled, according
to Gongora’s nomenclature, but which were afterwards designated by the
common Spanish word _Selvas_, doubtless contributed in no slight degree
to hasten the decline of genuine poetry in Spain. In these Forests
rhymed prose could flow on without obstruction, and every conceit was
in its proper place; for no fixed metre, and no unity of ideas or
events restrained the poet or versifier. The works of Count Rebolledo,
which are deserving of a particular notice, will afford a sufficient
idea of the direction thus given to the lyric, didactic, narrative, and
bucolic poetry of Spain, in a general combination of all these styles.


Bernardino, Count of Rebolledo, was one of the heroes of the latter
period of the thirty years war in Germany. After having distinguished
himself in the military service both of Spain and Austria, he resided
for a considerable time in the quality of Spanish ambassador at
Copenhagen, where he watched over the interests of his sovereign with
reference to the designs of the king of Sweden. His taste for military
and political affairs did not preclude the exercise of his talent for
poetry. But it was not until his mission to Copenhagen, when he had
attained the age of maturity, that he found leisure to prosecute his
poetic studies with assiduity. Thus, for the first time, and perhaps
for the last, was Spanish poetry in the middle of the seventeenth
century, transplanted to Scandanavia. Count Rebolledo was much pleased
with his residence in Copenhagen; and he rendered signal service to
his Danish majesty, when Charles Gustavus, King of Sweden, marched
across the frozen Belt, and bombarded the Danish capital. Though a
zealous catholic, he felt for the royal house of Denmark a kind of
personal devotion, which he seized every opportunity of manifesting,
both in verse and prose. He took particular interest in the study of
the history and geography of Denmark, with the view of describing
them in Spanish verse. Having returned to his native country, where
he was appointed minister of war, he died in 1676, in the eightieth
year of his age. His poems were, during his life, collected and
published under various titles.[523] One of these collections, entitled
_Ocios_, (Leisure Hours), proves that Count Rebolledo, though he only
travelled in a long beaten tract, and even in that tract did not
shine above his contemporaries, possessed, nevertheless, a degree of
poetic cultivation, which was probably unparalleled in Copenhagen in
the age in which he lived. He was particularly successful as a writer
of elegant madrigals;[524] and he is the author of a play, entitled,
_Amor Despreciando Riesgos_,[525] (Love Dreads no Danger), which
possesses considerable interest. But Rebolledo’s name has been rendered
still more remarkable in the history of Spanish literature by his dull
Forests, for which he himself claimed the title of poetic, though
they exhibit only the last traces of Spanish poetry. Other writers
had already done their utmost to give importance to the rhymed prose
of these Forests. But Rebolledo so completely mistook the essence of
poetry, that he really conceived he was executing works of high poetic
merit, when he put into verse a compendium of the History and Geography
of Denmark, entitled, _Selvas Danicas_, and a treatise on the Art of
War and State Policy, entitled, _Selva Militar y Politica_. Whoever
attempts to travel through Rebolledo’s Danish Forests, will soon find,
especially if he have any recollection of genuine Spanish poetry, that
he has undertaken a very disagreeable task. In the first half of the
work, not a single poetic or even ingenious trait enlivens the dry
enumeration of facts. What the author intended for a narrative poem,
is found to be merely an account of the History of Denmark, related in
the lowest style of common place prose; and the multitude of northern
names, which partly retain their original spelling, and are partly
hispanized, have a peculiarly grotesque effect.[526] The geography of
Denmark, which constitutes the second part of the work, presents a few
poetic passages.[527] But the Military and Political Forest, which is
intended for a didactic poem, is rhymed prose from beginning to end.
It is difficult to say whether the principles of tactics,[528] or the
instructions in the art of government,[529] appear most ridiculous in
the versified garb in which Rebolledo has clothed them. The worthy
author might with more propriety have applied the title of poems to
his _Selvas Sagradas_, (Sacred Forests), which are translations of the
psalms in the loose forms of the Forests.


The feeling of regret with which the decay of Spanish poetry in the age
of Rebolledo is beheld, yields to the agreeable surprize which arises
on taking a retrospective view of the Spanish drama, the history of
which must now be continued to the close of the present period. The
history of the Spanish drama should properly be studied as a whole;
but that combined mode of viewing the subject was not compatible
with a synchronous account of all the remarkable productions of the
polite literature of Spain. Having, however, in connexion with Lope de
Vega, spoken of Virues, Montalvan, and others, it will, at least, be
convenient not to separate the series of dramatic poets, who emulated
or imitated Calderon.


Again, in the history of Spanish poetry a writer occurs, whose name
deserves to be transmitted to the latest posterity, and who flourished
along with others who are also worthy of honourable remembrance.

Pedro Calderon de la Barca, descended of a noble family, was born in
the year 1600. He is said to have written his first dramatic work
before he had completed his fourteenth year. Having finished his
collegial studies at an early age, he, according to the custom of
the times, attached himself to some patrons whom he found among the
nobility at the court of Madrid. Not satisfied, however, with this
means of introducing himself to the great world, he became a soldier,
and served in several campaigns in Italy and the Netherlands. Meanwhile
the fame of his talents as a dramatic poet was widely spread; and it
was foretold that he would equal, if not exceed, Lope de Vega. King
Philip IV. who afforded more liberal encouragement to the drama than
any of his predecessors, and who was himself the author of several
plays, was gratified by the idea that he had in Calderon a man capable
of giving splendour to the court theatre. He called him to Madrid in
the year 1636, and shortly after invested him with the order of St.
Iago. From this period Calderon became permanently fixed at court, and
his young sovereign, whose chief attention was devoted to amusements
and festivities, kept him in constant activity. No expence was spared
in bestowing pomp and brilliancy on the pieces which Calderon produced
for the entertainment of the court; but on the other hand, it was
expected of him to accommodate his genius to the conditions required
by a courtly audience. Nevertheless his taste was consulted in the
arrangement of all public festivities, and the triumphal arch through
which the Queen Maria of Austria made her public entrance into Spain,
was erected in conformity with his suggestions.

In his fifty-second year Calderon took holy orders, but did not on
that account totally relinquish his previous occupations. From that
time, however, he applied himself with more particular assiduity to
the composition of his _Autos Sacramentales_, which soon superseded
throughout the whole of Spain all the older dramas of this class.
Calderon lived to an advanced age, admired by his countrymen, and amply
rewarded by ecclesiastical dignities, pensions and presents, from his
sovereign. In the estimation of the public, his dramas surpassed those
of every preceding and contemporary writer. But in his old age, he
himself attached but little importance to his temporal productions. The
Duke of Veragua addressed to him a flattering letter, requesting to be
furnished with a complete list of his dramas, because the booksellers
were in the habit of selling the works of other writers under his name.
In reply, Calderon, who was then in his eightieth year, supplied the
duke only with the list of his _Autos Sacramentales_. He added in a
letter, that with regard to his temporal dramas, he felt offended, that
in addition to his own faulty works, those of other authors should
be circulated in his name; and besides that, his writings were so
altered that he himself could not recognize even their titles. He also
expressed his determination to follow the example of the booksellers,
and to pay as little regard to his plays as they did; but he observed,
that on religious grounds he attached more importance to his Autos.[530]

Calderon died in 1687, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. Several
collections of his dramas appeared during his life, and among the rest
one published by his brother, Joseph Calderon, in 1640, but none were
edited by the author himself. In the great edition of the collected
comedies of Calderon, which his friend Juan de Vera Tassis y Villaroel
began to superintend in 1685, the poet, who was then eighty-five years
of age, can scarcely be expected to have indirectly participated
even so far as was necessary to certify the authenticity of the
component parts. It is therefore questionable whether the hundred and
twenty-seven plays, published in Calderon’s name, be all genuine. This
doubt may indeed be hazarded with the greater probability, as Juan
de Vera Tassis, who undertook to publish the complete collection of
Calderon’s dramas, estimates the number of his Autos at ninety-five;
while Calderon himself, in his conscientious list furnished to the
Duke of Veragua, states their number to be only sixty-eight, including
those not printed. It can scarcely be believed that Calderon wrote
twenty-seven Autos after he had attained the age of eighty.[531]

On a comparison of the dramas of Calderon and Lope de Vega, it requires
no extraordinary critical penetration to discover the essential
services which the former rendered to the dramatic literature of Spain.
Which of these writers possessed the greater share of inventive talent,
is a question which it would be difficult to determine, for Lope de
Vega was not the inventor of that species of dramatic composition
which was common to both, and Calderon was not behind him in the
invention of new combinations of intrigue, ingenious complexities of
plot, and interesting situations. In general the invention of Lope
may be the bolder, but it is also the more rude of the two; and with
regard to whatever may be called refinement, whether in conception or
execution, but more particularly in style, Calderon formed for himself
an entirely new sphere. The delicate art with which he gave the last
polish to the Spanish drama, without changing its nature, carries with
it an ennobling dignity in some of his historical, or, as they are
styled, heroic comedies. In his comedies of intrigue this delicacy is
conspicuous in the execution of the general forms of character, which
had now become naturalized on the Spanish stage, and which usurped
the place of individuality. Calderon’s comedies are necessarily as
little pieces of character as those of Lope de Vega, for with the
delineation of particular character they would have ceased to be pure
dramas of intrigue. But they abound in characteristic traits, in those
traits which develope, as it were, out of the souls of the dramatic
personages, the natural course of the gay intrigue in all its various
modifications. As an acute observer of the female mind and manners
Calderon was infinitely superior to Lope de Vega. This delicacy of
observation accords admirably with the almost incredible subtlety
of his combinations of intrigue; and the elegance of his language
and versification complete the ingenious harmony of these apparently
irregular dramas, which though not sufficiently perfect to be regarded
as models, are nevertheless true to the rules which the author
prescribed to himself. The other merits which belong to his dramas,
such as the seductive gracefulness and facility of the dialogue,
Calderon shares in common with all the good dramatic writers of Spain.
The faults with which he may be reproached, and which in some measure
belong to the species of drama he adopted, are more numerous in some of
his pieces than in others. It must also be observed, that in some of
his heroic comedies, he sinks so completely beneath his own standard
that it is difficult to recognize him.

In Calderon’s _Comedias de Capa y Espada_,[532] the plots are usually
of so complicated a nature, that no reader except a Spaniard,
habituated to this sort of mental exercise,[533] can on a first
perusal seize and follow the various threads of the intrigue, by the
artful entanglement of which the principal characters of the piece are
repeatedly plunged from one unexpected embarrassment into another.
Calderon particularly excelled in the accumulation of surprises, in
connecting one difficult situation with another, and in maintaining
undiminished the strongly excited interest to the close of the piece.
But in order to render this task the easier, he paid still less
attention than Lope de Vega to probability in the succession of the
scenes; and his characters make their entries and their exits just as
it happens to suit the convenience of the poet. The Spanish public
was, however, disposed to pardon every improbability of this kind,
which gave rise to some new situation full of dramatic truth. Calderon
appears to have estimated the merits of his dramas of intrigue, in
proportion to the effect produced by the situations; and in this
respect he was the more an inventor in proportion as he introduced
the less variety into his characters. In all Calderon’s comedies of
intrigue, the dramatis personæ are the same individuals under various
names. Two or three ladies of fashion, two or three lovers, an old
man, a few waiting maids, a few male servants, and among these last,
one who acts as the _gracioso_, or buffoon; such are the standing
characters with which Calderon usually contented himself in his sphere
of dramatic composition. The motives on which the plot turns are a
licentious gallantry, in which no moral interest is permitted to mix,
and a point of honour which gives rise to incessant contests. On the
slightest cause of offence swords are drawn, and when passion rages,
even daggers are employed. Romantic accessaries are found in wounds,
and murders, though the latter, it is true, are not quite so frequent
as the former. Among the other passions the fury of jealousy is
conspicuous; and in order to bring this passion into play, the author
avails himself of disguises, concealments, mistakes of persons, houses
or letters, and occasionally some particular local circumstance, such
for instance, as the secret door, which appears to be a cupboard,
in the lively drama of _La Dama Duende_, (The Fairy Lady.) There is
also no want of night scenes in Calderon’s pieces of intrigue. But
however astonishing may be the variety of the situations which he has
created out of this uniformity of plan, yet they cannot long satisfy a
cultivated taste which requires a nobler kind of variety.

How far Calderon in his _Comedias de Capa y Espada_ has correctly
represented the fashionable world of Madrid, as it existed in the
reigns of Philip III. and Philip IV. is a question which cannot now
be satisfactorily determined. Modern Spanish writers have conceived
they were pronouncing a judicious critical censure, when they cast on
Calderon’s dramas the reproach of insulting the whole Spanish nation,
by representing it as composed almost solely of romantic coxcombs and
intriguing coquettes. These attacks on Calderon, are the consequence
of inconsiderate zeal for the principles of the French drama, by which
the dramatic literature of Spain must never be judged.[534] It is
scarcely necessary to observe, that a representation of one class of
men, who were particularly conspicuous in Madrid, could not be intended
as a representation of the whole Spanish nation. But attempts have
been made to depreciate, by still more plausible sophisms, the merits
of Calderon’s sketches of manners. It has been remarked, that he has
totally violated nature, by putting into the mouths of valets and
waiting women poetic language, which would be extraordinary even if
delivered by their masters and mistresses. The Spanish servants of the
present day are, doubtless, less likely than those of the seventeenth
century, to converse in the poetical style in which the servants in
Calderon’s plays, on particular occasions, express themselves. But the
spirit of these particular occasions must not be misunderstood. The
servants in Calderon’s comedies always imitate the language of their
masters. In most cases they express themselves like the latter, in the
natural language of real life, and often divested of that colouring
of the ideas, without which a dramatic work ceases to be a poem. But
whenever romantic gallantry speaks in the language of tenderness,
admiration, or flattery, then, according to Spanish custom, every idea
becomes a metaphor; and Calderon, who was a thorough Spaniard, seized
these opportunities to give the reins to his fancy, and to suffer it
to take a bold lyric flight beyond the boundaries of nature. On such
occasions the most extravagant metaphoric language, in the style of
the Italian Marinists, did not appear unnatural to a Spanish audience;
and even Calderon himself had for that style a particular fondness,
to the gratification of which he sacrificed a chaster taste. It was
his ambition to become a more refined Lope de Vega, or a Spanish
Marino. Thus in his play, entitled, _Bien vengas Mal, si vengas Solo_,
(Misfortune comes Well, if it comes Alone), a waiting maid, addressing
her young mistress who has risen in a gay humour, says--“Aurora would
not have done wrong had she slumbered that morning in her snowy
chrystal, for that the light of her mistress’s charms would suffice to
draw aside the curtains from the couch of Sol.” She adds that, using a
Spanish idea, “it might then indeed be said that the sun had risen in
her lady’s eyes,”[535] &c. Valets, on the like occasion, speak in the
same style; and when lovers address compliments to their mistresses,
and these reply in the same strain, the play of far-fetched metaphors
is aggravated by antitheses to a degree which is intolerable to any but
a Spanish formed taste.[536] But it must not be forgotten that this
language of gallantry was in Calderon’s time spoken by the fashionable
world, and that it was a vernacular property of the ancient national

Faults of a less pardonable nature in Calderon’s dramas, are the stale
jests and meaningless plays on words uttered by servants,[537] and the
burlesque situations to which the disgusting accidents, occasioned by
certain nocturnal showers from windows give rise. But according to the
testimony of travellers, such accidents are very common at night in
the streets of Madrid and Lisbon; and it must be recollected that in
Calderon’s time the jests of servants were considered as indispensable
in a Spanish drama of intrigue, as the presence of the _gracioso_
himself, who is, for the most part, one of the valets.[538]

But the violations of cultivated taste which occur in Calderon’s
comedies of intrigue, are so amply redeemed, that the critic cannot
long hesitate to decide whether faults or beauties are most abundant.
Some of these dramas are particularly remarkable for those descriptive
narratives, by the introduction of which nearly all the Spanish
comedies of the same class bring to recollection their original
relationship with novels.[539] Though individual character is wanting,
yet sometimes in the course of the intrigue, beautiful characteristic
traits unexpectedly occur.[540] The delicacy of the point of honour,
which in all these dramas supplies the place of morality, is frequently
exhibited by Calderon in its most brilliant point of view;[541]
and he sometimes with much formality oversteps the Spanish rule, by
which moralizing was excluded from this species of drama.[542] The
application which may be made of the plot is frequently denoted by
the title of the piece, and is still more distinctly developed at
the conclusion.[543] Calderon deserves praise for having but seldom
introduced sonnets in his comedies of intrigue, though he has amply
availed himself of other freedoms, in order to maintain the privilege
of poetry in pourtraying the scenes of common life.[544]

Calderon’s heroic comedies are much diversified in their kind, and very
unequal in their merits. Some are distinguished from the dramas of
intrigue only by the rank of the characters. Of this kind is the well
known piece, entitled, _El Secreto a Voces_, (the Published Secret),
imitations of which have appeared in the Italian, French, and German
languages. The Spaniards number it among their heroic comedies, merely
because an Italian prince and princess are introduced in it. Other
plays by Calderon, which, according to the Spanish nomenclature, are
ranked in the heroic class, are in fact romantic pastoral dramas; as
for example, the pleasing piece, entitled, _Eco y Narciso_. Others
again are romantic, mythological festival pieces, accompanied by
transformations and melo-dramatic splendour; of this kind is _El mayor
encanto Amor_, (Love is the greatest Enchantment). Finally, among
Calderon’s heroic comedies are included his historical dramas, several
of which may properly be called tragedies. Some of these historical
dramas are among the best, while others are the most trivial of
Calderon’s productions. All are melo-dramatic spectacles, in which
armies defile, battles are fought, and sumptuous banquets are given.
The scene is, by turns, a palace, a vast landscape, a cavern, or a
pleasure garden, while drums and trumpets flourish, and cannon thunder
at every opportunity.

In all that regards scenic splendour in the composition of historical
plays, even Lope de Vega must yield to Calderon, for the dramas of the
latter were represented at the expence of the royal treasury. But in
the historical style of dramatic composition Calderon only succeeded
when he selected his materials from the events of his own country.
Where he has adapted to the Spanish stage, subjects from the Greek
and Roman history, as in his Alexander the Great,[545] and in his
Coriolanus,[546] the absurd change of costume is almost forgotten
amidst the extravagant confusion of the events, by which romantic
situations are brought about one after another, but which, on the
whole, produce only a mean effect. The great poet seems occasionally
to have been forsaken by his good genius, particularly when he makes a
display of his erudition in the very same scenes in which he completely
perverts ancient history. But Calderon’s historical dramas of this
class are very inferior to those of which the story was invented by
himself, and the scene arbitrarily laid in ancient Greece. Among the
latter is a piece, entitled, _Finezas contra Finezas_, (Generosity for
Generosity), a beautiful poem, full of tenderness and mythological
piety. But this drama, though, perhaps, single in its kind, must
nevertheless yield to the christian drama, of which the history of
Portugal furnishes the hero. The tragedy of Don Fernando, entitled,
_El Principe Constante_, displays all the lustre of Calderon’s genius.
The unities of time and place are lost sight of in the unity of the
heroic action, into which Calderon has infused the spirit of the purest
pathos, without departing from the Spanish national style of heroic
comedy. This tragedy might not improperly be named the Portuguese
Regulus. Don Fernando, a Portuguese prince, lands at the head of an
army, accompanied by his brother Don Enrique, on the coast of Barbary
in Morocco. He is victorious in his first battle, and he makes prisoner
the African hero, Muley, who relates to him his history. The prince,
moved by generosity, liberates his captive. No sooner has Muley
expressed his surprise and gratitude, than the Moors return with a
reinforcement, and the Portuguese prince is himself made prisoner. At
this point commence the tragic scenes which are prepared by pathetic
situations of another kind. The king of Fez and Morocco immediately
offers liberty to his royal prisoner, on condition of the surrender of
the garrison of Ceuta on the coast of Morocco, which is in possession
of the Portuguese. The prince declares that he would rather die in
the most degrading captivity, than consent to obtain his freedom by
delivering a christian town into the power of the infidels. The moorish
king, however, relies so confidently on the acquisition of Ceuta, that
he treats the prince with every mark of respect until the return of the
envoy from Portugal. The answer of the Portuguese government proves to
be, as the king of Fez expected, a compliance with his proposal; but
the prince firmly refuses to be ransomed on the required condition. He
now receives the most rigorous treatment, which he bears with pious
heroism and without complaint, until his bodily strength is exhausted
and he expires. The sufferings and fortitude of Fernando;--the conflict
between gratitude and religious prejudice in the mind of Muley, who
exerts his utmost endeavours to deliver the captive prince;--and, on
the other hand, Muley’s romantic passion for the king’s daughter, who
is destined to be the bride of another;--and the still more romantic
tenderness of the princess,--form altogether a picture so noble and
so truly poetic, that it would be unfair in this brief sketch of the
piece, to notice the numerous errors which it unquestionably presents.
The action seems to terminate with the death of Fernando; but a fresh
army arrives from Portugal, and the ghost of the prince, with a
torch in his hand, appears at the head of the troops and leads them
on to victory. The impression produced by this apparition gives the
finishing touch to the romantic pathos of the foregoing scenes.[547]
The beautiful flights of fancy which occur at the commencement of the
piece are worthy of particular attention. There Calderon has painted
his favourite images in his comparison of waves with flowers.[548]
On another occasion of a similar kind a comparison of stars with
flowers, and of flowers with stars, is introduced in two _concerted_
sonnets.[549] The heroic character of Don Fernando is decidedly evinced
in his first speech to his companions in arms; and his noble spirit is
still more distinctly developed when he restores Muley to freedom.[550]
But a more minute detail of the beauties of this tragedy would carry
us beyond the limits of this work.

Calderon’s _Autos Sacramentales_ may be noticed in a few words. In this
class of dramatic composition, Calderon pursued the path which had been
previously trodden by Perez de Montalvan, but he left his model far
behind him. Some of his autos, of which that entitled, _La Devocion de
la Cruz_, (the Miracles of the Cross, or literally the Devotion of the
Cross), may be cited as an example, are the grandest and most ingenious
productions of the kind in the Spanish language. But in these spiritual
dramas, reason and moral feeling are so perverted by extravagant and
fantastic notions of religious faith, that it is impossible to forbear
congratulating those nations whose better fate has excluded them from
amusements of this kind.


Never, perhaps, was any dramatic poet accompanied in so long a career
by such a number of rivals, friends, and imitators, as Calderon.
It was precisely the half century during which he indefatigably
laboured for the Spanish theatre that gave birth to the greater part
of those dramas, the number of which is better known than the merits.
In consequence of the popularity of Lope de Vega and Calderon, the
passion for dramatic composition became as epidemic in Spain as that of
sonnet writing had formerly been. The encouragement which Philip IV.
gave to the drama, doubtless contributed not a little to excite this
poetic emulation. But the multitude of writers who entered into the
competition were ambitious of rivalling Lope de Vega and Calderon in
proofs of fertility of invention. The fecundity of Perez de Montalvan,
who, notwithstanding his life was short, wrote nearly one hundred plays
in the style of Lope de Vega, was not allowed to remain a solitary
example. The impression produced by successive _comedias famosas_ on
a public whose greatest mental enjoyment was found in the theatre,
was also felt by those who were desirous of producing similar works.
Thus every piece which was applauded sowed the seeds of new comedies.
No author thought it necessary to reform the principles on which
Spanish comedy was composed, or attempted to distinguish himself by any
particular originality. At the same time the spirit which governed this
emulation was equally remote from an intentional imitation of the more
celebrated dramatic poets. He who was ambitious of adding one more to
the numberless dramas in the possession of the stage, followed in the
general stream under the influence of impressions previously received.
To wit and fancy free scope was allowed; but any original traits which
the new production might contain, were more or less overshadowed by
the general character of this class of composition. The whole of those
dramatists, whose works so closely resemble each other, form therefore
only one school. Were not the critic assisted by names the most
extensive, knowledge of this department of Spanish literature would in
most cases be insufficient to enable him to distinguish the labours
of different authors. It often happened that several writers formed a
co-partnership of their talents for the production of one piece. Hence
arose the practice of printing on the titles of some dramas, the words,
“by two wits,” or “by three wits,” (_de dos ingenios_, or _de tres
ingenios_.) Of the numerous aspirants in this conflict of efforts and
of talents, proportionally few succeeded in obtaining a celebrity which
entitles them to be placed near Lope de Vega and Calderon. These few,
however, whose number, compared with the approved dramatists of other
nations, the French comic authors excepted, is still very considerable,
vied in ingenuity and delicacy of composition with Calderon, and
endeavoured to surpass him in regularity.

Several authors have with much labour endeavoured to discover the
number of the Spanish dramas, as if the knowledge of their amount even
correctly ascertained, could be worth the pains necessary to acquire
it. Of the three thousand eight hundred and fifty-two dramatic works
which La Huerta has enumerated,[551] the greater part belongs to the
age of Calderon. Those which Calderon himself wrote, appear in the
list; and it also includes a considerable number of short interludes,
some of which, perhaps, did not cost their authors more than a few
hours labour. But this list contains only the printed dramas known to
literary collectors. That the number of pieces remaining in manuscript
is much greater, may from analogy be presumed; for of the dramatic
compositions of the idolized Lope de Vega, which are estimated at more
than two thousand, not many more than three hundred have been printed.

It would not be uninteresting to analyze, for the purpose of comparison
with the works of Calderon, some of the best of the other dramas
of this age; but such details do not fall within the province of
this General History of Spanish Poetry and Eloquence. Some of the
contemporaries of Calderon, however, vied with him in so distinguished
a manner, that an express but brief notice of their merits becomes


An honourable station, beside Calderon, belongs to Antonio de Solis,
one of the most eminent authors of his age. He was ten years younger
than Calderon, whom he survived a few years. His literary activity was
not limited to the study of poetry; for morals, politics, and history,
also occupied his attention, particularly in his maturer years. He
wrote the preludes, (_loas_), to some of Calderon’s dramas, and appears
to have been connected by the ties of friendship with that great poet.
The fame of his political and historical knowledge obtained for him a
place in the administration under Philip IV. and after the death of
that monarch he was appointed to the lucrative post of _Coronista de
las Indias_, or historiographer of the transactions of the Spaniards
in both Indies. While he held this office, he wrote his celebrated
History of the Conquest of Mexico, which will be more particularly
noticed at the close of the present book. Finally, he entered into
holy orders, and devoted himself almost exclusively to exercises of
devotion; he died in 1686. His plays do not display so much boldness
of imagination as Calderon’s; but they are ingeniously composed in the
Spanish national style of intrigue, and exhibit an elegant vivacity of
diction. With regard to pleasantries put into the mouths of servants,
he does not exactly correspond with other Spanish dramatists. His
dramatic compositions are more regular than Calderon’s, because he was
less liable to be seduced by the force of his imagination. Among his
comedies attributed to the heroic class, _El Alcazar del Secreto_,
(the Castle of Mystery), is justly much valued. In his dramas of
intrigue he has endeavoured to vary the characters more than his great
contemporary. Thus gipseys figure in his piece, called, _La Gitanilla
de Madrid_, which is partly founded on Cervantes’s novel of the same

Augustin Moreto possessed a higher degree of comic talent than
Calderon. This able and industrious writer was also favoured by Philip
IV. but he became an ecclesiastic and renounced writing for the
theatre. Some of his pieces are comic from beginning to end, and are
also comedies of character, though the form of the Spanish drama of
intrigue is still preserved. In his piece, entitled, _De fuera vendra,
quien de casa nos eschara_,[553] (He will come from without, Who will
turn us out), he has introduced an old coquette, a military coxcomb,
and a doctor of laws, who besides being cowardly and pedantic, is
also amorous. These characters are drawn with a comic force which has
seldom been surpassed, though it must be confessed that they partake
too much of the caricature style. In general Moreto approximates more
than Calderon to Terence, whose comedies became, in the sequel, models
for the Spanish dramatists when the principles of the French drama were
adopted. But his _gracioso_, who is always the fool of the piece in the
character of a servant, repeats too often the same sort of wretched

Juan de Hoz likewise approached to the comic style of the regular
dramas representing character. Of this author nothing further is known,
except that he wrote an excellent comedy, entitled, _El castigo de la
Miseria_, (Avarice Punished,) which presents a considerable resemblance
to one of Cervantes’s novels.[554]

Tirso de Molina, or Gabriel Sellez, (as his real name is said to
have been) was one of the most prolific dramatic writers among the
contemporaries of Calderon. He is the reputed author of upwards of
seventy plays still extant. He vied with Lope de Vega and Calderon
in the merit of ingenious and bold invention, which is particularly
manifested in his historical and spiritual dramas.[555]

The dramas of intrigue by Francisco de Rojas, or Roxas, a knight of the
order of Santiago, were, about the middle of the sixteenth century,
as much esteemed as those of Calderon; for the art of ingenious
complexity which they exhibited, rendered them particularly pleasing
to the Spanish taste. A play by this author, entitled, _Entre Bobos
anda el Juego_[556], (When Fools play the Game goes well), is even at
the present day a distinguished favourite on the Spanish stage. He was
not so successful as a writer of heroic comedies. His _Casarse para
Vengarse_, (Marriage of Vengeance), which is a sort of tragedy, is
disgustingly surcharged with bombastic phrases.

Agustin de Salazar y Torres, was educated in Mexico, and after his
return to Spain, lived at the court of Philip IV. He was an admirer of
Gongora, and as many of his poems prove, also a faithful disciple; but
though an inveterate Gongorist, he was one of the cleverest writers
of that school of affectation. His dramatic works are distinguished
for ingenuity of invention, and a style which shews that he knew
how to elevate himself above the common level, without running into
bombast.[557] His heroic comedy, entitled, _Elegir al Enemigo_, (How to
choose an Enemy), is full of genuine poetry.

Antonio Mira de Mescua, or Amescua, who lived as an ecclesiastic at
the court of Philip IV. must not be omitted in the list of the Spanish
dramatic poets of the period now under consideration. He was regarded
by many of his contemporaries as a second Lope de Vega;[558] and he
doubtless more nearly approached the rude brilliancy of Lope than
the elegant manner of Calderon. He remained, however, far behind his
model; yet his historical and spiritual dramas are distinguished for
conceptions, which, though extravagant, are not devoid of interest, and
which were moreover perfectly in unison with the prevailing Spanish
taste. In _El Caballero sin Nombre_, (The Knight without a Name), he
has even ventured to introduce a wild bear on the stage.

To the historian who makes the dramatic literature of Spain his
particular object, must be consigned the task of collecting the
necessary information respecting the works of Antonio de Mendoza, Luis
Velez de Guevara, Alvaro Cubillo, Luis Coello, Felipe Godinez, Juan
Matos Fragoso, and other dramatists, who in the age in which they
lived, were frequently placed on a level with Calderon. The writer
who devotes his attention to this department of Spanish literature,
must likewise take into consideration the older dramatic works which
appeared during the latter years of Lope de Vega’s career, as, for
example, the comedies of Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, Guillen de Castro,
&c.[559] Neither must he neglect to furnish bibliographic accounts
of the various collections of Spanish dramas published by different
editors. In the present work it is only necessary to observe,
that these collections, the greater part of which appeared in the
seventeenth century, were all speculations of the booksellers. Most
of them present abundant traces of haste and negligence, and but few
are distinguished for critical discrimination in the selection. The
historian of the Spanish national taste will, however, consult those
collections with the view of ascertaining what dramas were, at a
certain period, the greatest favourites in Spain; for the booksellers
published their collections in conformity with the humour of the
public. Thus every drama which was printed, was styled a _Comedia
famosa_, so that about the middle of the seventeenth century, the
epithet _famosa_, had, by frequent repetition, lost all value.


The works belonging to the department of elegant prose, which appeared
during the period of the ascendency of dramatic poetry in Spanish
literature, may be noticed in few words. The authors who still adhered
to the spirit of genuine eloquence, gave no new direction to rhetorical
cultivation; they merely continued, with laudable perseverance, the
task begun by their predecessors, namely, that of opposing the party
who methodically endeavoured to introduce into prose composition a new
tone of ingenious absurdity.

Romantic prose no longer maintained a conflict with true eloquence,
but proceeded in a separate course. The reading portion of the Spanish
public continued to be supplied with romances and novels, most of
which, however, were the production of obscure writers. Several Spanish
ladies contributed their share in this kind of authorship.

The necessary distinction between historical and romantic narrative
was now made by the historiographers or chroniclers, whose numbers
had been augmented since the extension of the Spanish possessions in
India and America. But among all these writers, Antonio de Solis,
who has already been noticed as a dramatic poet, is the only one
who produced a work deserving to be ranked among the models of
historical composition. His history, which he wrote in the quality of
historiographer of the Indies, is the last classic relic of the kind
of which Spanish literature can boast. It contains an account of the
Conquest of Mexico, in a genuine historical form, notwithstanding that
the subject was calculated to seduce a poetic author into the romantic
narrative style.[560] Those who are unacquainted with the fact of
Antonio de Solis being a celebrated poet, will never conjecture it from
the general tone of this work. No writer could possibly mark with more
solidity of taste the distinction between poetry and prose. Antonio de
Solis had, however, attained the age of maturity when he laid down the
principles by which he was guided in the discharge of his functions as
a historian. He states in his preface that in history all ornaments
of eloquence are merely accessaries; and that the accuracy of the
relation is true historical elegance. He says, that truth must be of
all things the most important to the historian, and that in historical
composition what is truly stated, is well stated.[561] According to
these principles the very worst style possible would be tolerable in
a faithful historical narrative. But it would appear that Antonio de
Solis, through a distrust of his own poetic imagination, exaggerated
to himself the necessity of self-denial as an homage due to historical
fidelity; and this exaggeration, which in reality was only theoretical,
proved of essential service to him in the execution of his work. His
talent for description, and his cultivated taste, naturally elevated
him above the dryness and dulness of the common chronicle style. Though
he seems scarcely to have reflected on the more essential requisites
of the historical art, yet his work has not suffered by their neglect;
for as a dramatic poet he had been accustomed to an arrangement of
events which concentrated them in a single point of view; and profound
political knowledge was not required for the just exposition of
transactions occurring in the expedition of a small party of Spanish
adventurers, led on by the daring Hernando Cortes, to the conquest of
the kingdom of Mexico. Nothing more was necessary than a simple and
unaffected narration, to cause the interest naturally belonging to the
subject to be strongly felt.


The elegant simplicity of the historical style adopted by Antonio
de Solis, forms, with the Gongorism which about this time crept
into Spanish prose composition from the poetic school of Gongora,
a rhetorical contrast, which is the last remarkable phenomenon in
the history of Spanish eloquence. The pedantic commentators of the
unintelligible Gongora had long been accustomed to write a strange
fantastic prose style; but this prosaic Gongorism had not infected
any man of distinguished talent, until Lorenzo, or Balthasar Gracian,
became a popular author. Writers on literature mention but few
particulars respecting the life of this distinguished man, who is
supposed to have died in the year 1652. It is probable that he himself
concealed his literary existence; for it is conjectured that the works
which on their title-pages bear the name of Lorenzo Gracian, were
really written by Balthasar Gracian, who was a Jesuit, and the brother
of Lorenzo. Respecting Lorenzo nothing further is known than that he
is understood to have lent his name to the productions of his brother;
but, be this as it may, the writings which have conferred celebrity on
that name, are, in some measure, sufficiently jesuitical.[562] They
relate, in general, to the morality of the great world, to theological
morality, and to poetry and rhetoric. The most voluminous of these
works bears the affected title of _El Criticon_. It is an allegorical
picture of the whole course of human life divided into _Crisis_, that
is to say, sections according to fixed points of view, and clothed
in the formal garb of a pompous romance. It is scarcely possible to
open any page of this book without recognizing in the author a man,
who is in many respects far from common, but who from the ambition
of being entirely uncommon in thinking and writing studiously and
ingeniously, avoids nature and good sense. A profusion of the most
ambiguous subtleties, expressed in ostentatious language, are scattered
throughout the work;[563] and those affected conceits are the more
offensive, in consequence of their union with the really grand view
of the essential relationship of man to nature and his Creator,
which forms the subject of the treatise. Gracian would have been an
excellent writer had he not so anxiously wished to be an extraordinary
one. His shorter productions, in which he developes his theory of
the intellectual faculties, and the conduct of life, are still more
disfigured by affected ornament than the tedious Criticon;[564] they,
however, occasionally contain striking observations intelligibly
expressed.[565] His _Oraculo Manual_ has been more read than any other
of his works. It is intended to be a collection of maxims of general
utility, but it exhibits good and bad precepts, sound judgments, and
refined sophisms, all confounded together. In this work Gracian has
not forgotten to inculcate the practical principle of jesuitism “to be
all things to all men,” (_hacerse a todos_), nor to recommend his own
favourite maxim, “to be common in nothing,” (_en nada vulgar_), which
in order to be valid would require a totally different interpretation
from that which he has given it.

Gracian’s _uncommon_ prose was formed according to certain principles.
His book on the Art of Ingeniously Thinking and Writing,[566] is no
inconsiderable contribution to criticism in Spanish literature. He
refines to an incredible degree on subtle distinctions and antitheses,
with the view of systematically bringing the style of his countrymen
to the level of his own. His illustrative examples are selected from
Italian and Spanish poets, particularly from Marino, Gongora and
Quevedo. Throughout the whole work, ingenious thoughts (_conceptos_,)
are constantly the subject of consideration. A man of genius, he says,
may receive these ideas from nature; but art enables him to create
them at pleasure. “As he who comprehends such ideas is an eagle, so
he who is capable of producing them must be ranked among angels; for
it is an employment of cherubims and an elevation of man which raises
him to sublime hierarchy.”[567] He then proceeds to describe those
_conceptos_, which he pronounces to be undefinable, because “they are
to the understanding what beauty is to the eye, and harmony to the
ear.”[568] Next follows an enumeration and explanation of the numerous
combinations by which the various classes of these ideas, for example,
the proverbial, the pathetic, the heroic, &c. may be produced. Poetic
figures are examined in rotation; and the style of true eloquence is
defined according to the same principles. Thus throughout the whole
book good sense and good taste are most ingeniously abused.

This art of poetry and rhetoric by Gracian was, in the seventeenth
century, the only work of the kind which produced any influence on the
taste of writers and the public.

Gongorism peeps forth even in the published letters of the eminent men
of this period, which exhibit a strained formality and an affected
elegance. The letters of Quevedo form in this respect no exception.
Even in those of Antonio de Solis the facility of the true epistolatory
style is wanting.[569]



This book is intended to be only a compendious supplement to the two
preceding books of the History of Spanish Poetry and Eloquence. Were it
even an agreeable task to describe in detail through what gradations a
nation rich in intellect, which unfortunately descended from the most
brilliant height of literary independence, to the servile imitation of
foreign forms, passed in this lamentable decline, until the depressed
national spirit began with patriotic feeling again to arise, and slowly
to re-animate the native literature--it still would be proper to leave
that office to the writer whose object it may be to give an account of
every production which appears within the circle of polite learning.
From him, however, who has rather chosen to take a general historical
view of the developement and progress of literary genius and taste in
modern Europe, it would be unreasonable to expect specific notices of
inferior works, published during the period of an expiring and slowly
reviving literature. In the eighteenth century, no poet arose in Spain
to form an epoch such as that finally marked in Italian literature by
Metastasio; and whatever was then accomplished in Spanish prose, was a
consequence of the imitation of French models.

It is scarcely necessary to observe, that according to the laws of
nature and the human mind, no distinct line of separation can exist
between this period and that which precedes it. When lights are
gradually and imperceptibly extinguished, it is impossible to name
the moment when obscurity commenced. It would be no less difficult
to fix precisely the epoch of the revival of Spanish literature, for
it is marked by no particular phenomenon. The necessary division
in the history of the progressive and retrogressive state of
Spanish literature must therefore be referred, without any precise
determination, to the reign of Charles II. from 1665 to 1700. Some
dramatic authors who maintained the respectability of the Spanish
national theatre, to the beginning of the eighteenth century, will
consequently be included in this last book. Thus the account of the
new dawn of national genius, promising better times, will be given in
connexion with the immediately preceding literary transactions.

This book may be conveniently divided into three chapters. The first
will contain the history of the complete decay of the Spanish national
spirit in respect to literature. In the second will be given a brief
account of whatever literary events appear to deserve consideration
from the reign of Charles II. to the commencement of the reign of
Charles III. The third chapter will be devoted to a summary notice of
the more recent occurrences, which particularly in the last ten years
of the eighteenth century appear to have given a new direction to
Spanish literature.



Within the century composed of the reigns of the three Philips, from
1556 to 1665, that is to say, the golden age of Spanish literature,
the national spirit, which the vicious system of the government was
calculated to repress, became at last like the national resources,
completely exhausted. Under Charles II. the wounds of the body politic
which had long profusely bled, began to exhibit frightful gangrenes.
In every quarter of the world Spanish valour had done its uttermost
for the support of the perverse measures of a despotic government, and
the state at length seemed on the verge of dissolution. The enormous
treasures which poured into Spain from the mines of America, were
immediately consigned to foreign nations. Thus the richest country
in the world was overwhelmed with debt. Agriculture and industry
languished particularly in the interior of the monarchy, where a near
view of the splendour of an ostentatious court still served to gratify
Castilian vanity, but where every blow levelled against the whole
state was most directly felt. The occupation of one half of America
carried off men from the mother country by thousands at a time; and in
addition to this drain, the population had been suddenly diminished to
the extent of nearly half a million, by the tyrannical expulsion of the
Moriscos, or baptized Arabs. Spain was also engaged in uninterrupted
warfare during the whole of the century in which the three Philips
reigned. Continual levies of troops, combined with oppressive
taxation, at length so reduced the nation, that the government lost
the instrument it had abused; and every sacrifice made to meet cases
of imperious urgency, served only to produce a new humiliation. The
little kingdom of Portugal, by a fortunate effort threw off the Spanish
yoke, and became once more an independent state. Torrents of Spanish
blood were shed in the Netherlands, with the view of suppressing, at
any price, the freedom of the United Provinces; yet those provinces
flourished in full vigour, while Spain was reduced to the last stage
of political inanition. Still, however, Spanish genius appeared to
soar superior to all the evils that assailed the state, as long, at
least, as the semblance of the ancient national greatness remained. But
with the death of Philip IV. even that semblance vanished. The widowed
queen, who was appointed guardian of the young king, then only five
years of age, acting under the influence of father Neidhart, a German
Jesuit, offered the last insult to the feelings of the nobility and the
people. No sooner was father Neidhart driven away by the party of Don
John of Austria, the natural son of Philip IV. than France obtained
possession of a considerable portion of the provinces which Spain still
held in the Netherlands. In the West Indies a republic of pirates was
established. This new enemy grew out of the remarkable association of
the Flibustiers, or Buccaneers, men who regarded Spanish America as a
booty on which they were entitled to prey. This state of things was
not improved when the full powers of government were placed in the
hands of the weak Charles II. the period of whose reign is the most
melancholy in Spanish history.

The circumstance of a French prince being called to the Spanish
throne, in obedience to that will of Charles II. which has been so
much censured, was by no means unfortunate for Spain, either in a
literary or political point of view. The war, which was partly a civil
contest, and which was maintained for twelve years before the new
Philip, the fifth of that name, was tranquilly seated on his throne,
seemed, however, to threaten the annihilation of the last remnant of
Spanish national vigour. The mild and rigidly pious Philip V. was,
by his personal character and mode of thinking, previously related
to the nation to which he now belonged. He manifested no desire
to transplant into Spain the literature of France, which at that
time began to exercise an influence over the whole of Europe. The
foreigners whose promotion to important posts during the reign of the
first Bourbon in Spain, rendered them the objects of much patriotic
jealousy, were Italians and Irishmen, but in no instance Frenchmen.
The French influence operated in Spain, only on the wavering politics
of the cabinet of Madrid; the change of the reigning dynasty produced
therefore little or no influence on Spanish literature. All that Philip
V. did to promote the advancement of learning on the French model,
was wholly confined to the celebrated institution of royal academies,
among which the academy of history, and still more, the academy of
the Spanish language and polite literature,[570] may be regarded as
having operated influentially on the literature of Spain. But this
last-mentioned academy, which was established in the year 1714, was
never intended for the annihilation of the spirit and peculiar forms of
Spanish poetry and eloquence. The cultivation of the Spanish language
was its especial care, and its labours for the accomplishment of that
object were crowned by the production of its excellent dictionary.
The efforts made by some members of this academy to form the taste of
their countrymen on the model of that of France, must be attributed
to themselves individually. They merely followed the new current of
French taste, in common with almost every person in Europe, who had
then any pretensions to polite education. If these innovators must be
called a literary court party, the term can only be employed in the
sense in which it would, with equal propriety, apply to the same sort
of party existing in other countries, where the French style became the
fashionable style of courts, and was, with courtier-like complaisance,
generally adopted by authors both in verse and in prose.

The French taste spontaneously penetrated into Spanish literature
when the age of Louis XIV. began to exercise an imposing influence
over the whole world. But the French taste would have operated on
the literature of Spain, which had already been carried so far
beyond that of France, in a very different manner, had not the old
national energy been crippled in every direction. Had it not been
for this unfortunate circumstance crowds of servile imitators and
pseudo critics would never have obtained a footing in Spain. Men of
rightly cultivated understanding would have reconciled their purer
taste to the yet unexhausted national genius, in order to enhance
the advantages of Spanish literature in its competition with the
literature of France, and to learn true elegance from the French,
without, like them, sacrificing to mere elegance beauties of a higher
order. But the age of vigour was past; and yet feeble pride would in
no respect renounce its pretensions. Two parties now arose in the
polite literature of Spain. The leading and would-be elegant party,
included persons of rank and fashion, who had begun to be ashamed of
the ancient national literature, and who yet wished to prove that that
national literature, even when estimated according to the rules of
French criticism, possessed many beauties. That the French might no
longer boast of superior taste, this party sought to improve Spanish
poetry, and particularly the Spanish drama, by translations of French
works and imitations of the French style. To this party of fashionable
innovators was opposed the old national party, composed of persons
distinguished for their obstinate attachment to the ancient taste, and
even to the ancient rudeness. This party continued, as heretofore, to
be that of the Spanish public; but it remained for a time without any
literary representative. Thus was it reduced to the necessity of seeing
writers, who laid claim to the title of Spanish patriots, publicly
attack its old favourites, particularly Lope de Vega and Calderon,
while no zealous pen took up their public defence. Nevertheless this
party continued unshaken in its opinions. Even during the extreme
crisis of the conflict between the French and the national taste, about
the middle of the eighteenth century, the Spanish theatre preserved its
own peculiar forms. It assumed, however, a character no less varied
than the German theatre at present exhibits. Plays in the national
style were performed on the Spanish stage alternately with translations
and imitations of French and even of English dramas; and if this
heterogeneous variety did not degenerate into the monstrous, as it now
does on the German stage, where a national style never prevailed, yet
nothing could be more inconsistent than the contrast formed by plays
in the French and English taste with the old Spanish comedies. But
these comedies, and in general all the old national poetry, once more
obtained spirited defenders among Spanish critics and authors, after
the shock of the last crisis had been withstood by the ancient taste in
its conflict with the modern. Thus another literary triumph was gained
by the tenacity of the Spanish public, to which, in matters of taste,
monarchs otherwise despotic, readily granted perfect freedom.

The mixture of national and foreign taste in the modern literature of
Spain, was promoted in no slight degree by the introduction of French
manners, which had at this period spread over Europe, but which were
in Spain less encouraged by court example than in other countries. At
the court of Madrid, old Spanish formality was still preserved; and
among the nobility, as well as the people, the national costume was
only gradually superseded by the French style of dress. Bull fights
continued to be the favourite amusements of the Spaniards from the
highest to the lowest ranks. But the solemn _Autos de Fe_,[571] in
which the inquisition appeared in all the splendour of its power,
and in which heretics were burnt amidst the approving shouts of the
spectators, no longer insulted humanity. The last of these horrible
festivals of fanaticism was performed with extraordinary pomp at Madrid
in the year 1680, in compliance with the pious wish of King Charles II.
The Bourbons who succeeded to the Spanish throne, whatever might be
the ardour of their catholic zeal, appeared to regard such barbarous
spectacles with disgust, and thus set an example of refinement which
honourably marked their relationship to the French royal family. At
this period, too, when the storm of the reformation had subsided,
religion as well as manners assumed a milder character throughout all
Europe. The Spaniards, however, could not be induced to renounce their
sacred comedies, until in the year 1765 they were formally prohibited
by a royal decree, because they excited the derision of foreigners.

Finally, in the second half of the eighteenth century, scientific
learning gained an ascendancy over polite literature in Spain, as
in every other part of Europe. A philosophy in the sense of the
French encyclopædists inflicted wounds equally mortal on fanaticism
and poetic enthusiasm. The spirit of experiment which sought by an
accumulation of facts to scan the furthest depths of human knowledge
and the principles of all science, and styled that accumulation sound
philosophy, had, since the time of the French encyclopædists, found
favour in Spain, as in every part of Europe, Germany excepted. True
poetry, to which this spirit of experiment is the most dangerous of
all enemies, could not easily revive in its former magnificence. But
a wider field of general utility was, under certain restrictions,
opened to elegant prose; and criticism at least obtained the negative
advantage of being able to impede any new encroachments of ingenious



The last branch of Spanish national poetry still flourished in the
reign of Charles II. The French drama, which then appeared in the first
dawn of its celebrity, had as yet no influence on the drama of Spain.
Several assiduous writers continued to enrich Spanish literature with
new pieces in the manner of Calderon; and these writers have here the
first claim to consideration.


Towards the close of the seventeenth century, the dramas of Francisco
Bancas Cándamo, were particularly esteemed. Cándamo, who was an
Asturian of noble extraction, received, during a certain period, a
pension from Charles II. for writing for the court theatre at Madrid.
He, however, died in indigence in the year 1709. His historical
play, entitled, _El Esclavo en Grillos de Oro_, (the Slave in Golden
Fetters), is still spoken of in terms of approbation in Spain.[572] It
is a romantic anecdote taken from the history of the Emperor Trajan.
The singular combination of the ancient and the romantic costume which
this play presents, is a fault with which the author must not be
reproached; for since Lope de Vega’s time the spirit of the Spanish
drama required that the events of ancient history should be arrayed
only in the garb of romance. But Cándamo has put into the mouth of the
Emperor Trajan, a superabundance of phrases which are exceedingly dull,
though conveyed in light and harmonious verse. The purely romantic
scenes in which ladies and young knights appear, are the best in this
drama, which, according to the Spanish classification is a heroic

Antonio de Zamora, a gentleman belonging to the court of Madrid, was
particularly distinguished as a writer of comic dramas. The comedy,
entitled, _El Hechizado por Fuerza_, (the Bewitched by Force),[573]
is one of the most humorous and regular in the Spanish language. It
may also be numbered among the dramas of character; at least the two
principal parts, though a little overcharged, are nevertheless boldly
conceived and consistently maintained. One is a fantastic old man, who
continually expresses himself in a tone of sarcastic comic humour:--he
makes a parade of his odd fancies, as if they were so many proofs of
real wisdom; and he is induced to consent to a marriage under the
idea that he is bewitched. The other comic character is an enamoured
physician, who is prevailed on to take a part in the pretended
bewitching, and who on his part is also outwitted by the sprightly
girls whom he has assisted in playing off their trick on the old man.

Joseph de Cañizares, who likewise lived at the court of Madrid,
produced a considerable number of Spanish comedies. He particularly
devoted his attention to that class of dramas of intrigue, called
_comedias de figuròn_, in which the principal character is a pretender
or braggadocio, either male or female, who by dint of impudence and
artifice, obtains a certain degree of credit. Among the dramas of
Cañizares, the Spaniards particularly esteem his comedy, entitled, _El
Domine Lucas_;[574] it is a drama of character, comic throughout, and
of the most regular description, though it by no means departs from
the Spanish national style. The title may be translated “The Pedant
Squire;” for Domine Lucas, the hero of the piece, is a young country
gentleman, a student of Salamanca, extremely dull and affected, and
withal proud of his noble birth. With this character is very happily
combined the uncle of Lucas, a brave, amiable, and sensible old
gentleman; though, like his nephew, he interlards his discourse with
scraps of latin from the _Corpus Juris_. An old domestic, who likewise
has resource to latin whenever his wit fails him, is well grouped
with his master’s. An excellent female pendant to the doltish hero is
exhibited in the character of one of the daughters of the old uncle,
who in the end is united to Lucas, while her sprightly sister, to whom
the Domine was betrothed, elopes with a more agreeable lover. The
traits of character in the whole of this comic picture, though by no
means delicately sketched, are, nevertheless, full of dramatic spirit.

These, and other plays, by writers whose names are not in any other
respect distinguished, complete the national treasure of the Spanish
drama. The striking regularity which distinguishes some pieces, must
by no means be attributed to the influence of French taste. It is
possible that a vague idea of the regularity of the French comedy may
at this time have penetrated into Spain; but among the older Spanish
dramas, particularly those of Solis and Moreto, some are no less
regular than the comedies of character written by Zamora and Cañizares;
who, besides, did not always, any more than their predecessors,
confine themselves rigidly within the bounds of regularity. In the
works of these latter poets, the theatrical personages are precisely
of the same cast as in the writings of the older dramatists. Young
officers, who are usually represented as giddy lovers, boast of their
adventures in Flanders, and sing romances to the accompaniment of the
guitar. This part is the prototype of that which on the French stage
was subsequently called the _Chevalier_. No trace of the imitation of
French manners is perceptible; and, if here and there a French word is
introduced, it is always with a comic signification.[575]


Nothing poetical produced at this period, or at least nothing sung
and written in the lyric or other styles of poetry in Spain, obtained
literary celebrity. It would, however, be unjust to pass over in
silence some works which made their appearance about this time, and
which are interesting, inasmuch as they afford instances of the
continuation of the taste for old Spanish poetry. Among these, the
most remarkable are the numerous productions of a Spanish American
poetess, named Doña Juana Inez de la Cruz, who was much celebrated
in Mexico about the latter end of the seventeenth century. On the
title-page of her works, which, however, she did not publish herself,
this distinguished woman is styled the tenth muse.[576] Respecting
the history of her life, nothing is known, save what is mentioned
in her poems. She was a nun in a Mexican convent; and she complains
of her weak state of health in the verses which form the preface to
her poems. Her writings sufficiently prove that she lived on terms of
intimacy with the viceroy and the other Spanish grandees in Mexico, and
that frequent demands were made upon her talent for the celebration
of festivals, both spiritual and temporal. Much as Inez de la Cruz
was deficient in real cultivation, her productions are eminently
superior to the ordinary standard of female poetry. Of all the Spanish
ladies who have turned their attention to poetry, she deserves to rank
the highest; though, perhaps, this station may not be deemed very
honourable, as Spanish women have so little distinguished themselves
in poetry. But for this very reason it seems the more worthy of
recollection, that under the sky of America, flowers of genius were
permitted to bloom, which in Spain would in all probability have been
blighted in the bud. The poems of Inez de la Cruz, moreover, breathe
a sort of masculine spirit. This ingenious nun possessed more fancy
and wit than sentimental enthusiasm; and whenever she began to invent,
her creations were on a bold and great scale. Her poems are of very
unequal merit; and are all deficient in critical cultivation. But
in facility of invention and versification, Inez de la Cruz was not
inferior to Lope de Vega; and yet she by no means courted literary
fame. The complete collection of her poems, which seems to have been
first printed by order of the Vice-Queen of Mexico, occupies a volume,
consisting of twenty-five sheets in octavo. Of some of her sonnets
the subjects are ingenious plays of romantic wit;[577] of others,
serious poetic reflections.[578] She also wrote burlesque sonnets on
rhymed endings, which, though sometimes deficient in delicacy, have
all the freedom and sprightliness that can be required in that species
of composition. A kind of poetic self-deception, which assumes the
tone of philosophic reasoning, is disclosed in several of the lyric
romances of Inez de la Cruz. She evidently took considerable pains to
persuade herself that she was happy.[579] A great portion of her poems
in the romance style, relate to circumstances of temporary interest.
In her dramatic works, the vigour of her imagination is particularly
conspicuous. The collection of her poems contains no comedies, properly
so called, but it comprises a series of boldly conceived preludes,
(_loas_), full of allegorical invention; and it concludes with a long
allegorical auto, which is superior to any of the similar productions
of Lope de Vega. It is entitled, _El Divino Narciso_, a name by
which the authoress designates the heavenly Bridegroom. The Spanish
public had never before witnessed so bold a travesty of the ideas
of catholic christianity, under the garb of the Greek mythology. It
would be impossible to give a brief, and at the same time intelligible
sketch of this extraordinary drama. With regard to composition it is
quite monstrous; in some respects offending by its bad taste, and in
others charming by its boldness. Many of the scenes are so beautifully
and romantically constructed, that the reader is compelled to render
homage to the genius of the poetess; while at the same time he cannot
but regret the pitch of extravagance to which ideas really poetic are
carried. There is one peculiarly fine scene in which human nature, in
the shape of a nymph, seeks her beloved, the real Narcissus, or the
christian Saviour. The imagination of the authoress had, doubtless,
been influenced by impressions received from the Song of Solomon.[580]
Next to this grand Auto, the spiritual canciones in the old Spanish
style, and some cantatas deserve to be distinguished among the works
of Inez de la Cruz. They abound in sentimental fancies, which, though
generally extravagant, often possess beauties which render them highly
interesting; and according to the notices in the collection, they
were all sung in the churches of Mexico. Some latin compositions of
the same class are inserted, which seem also to have been written by
Inez herself. The writer who may undertake a history of the poetic
developement of the catholic faith, will find his advantage in
rendering himself intimately acquainted with these poems.


In order to be satisfied that Spanish poetry inclined very little
to the French, in the early part of the eighteenth century, it is
only necessary to advert to the continued influence of Gongorism
at that period, as exemplified in poetic productions, which are in
other respects too unimportant to claim any notice. Men of rank in
particular, who, following the honourable example of their forefathers,
continued to cultivate the arts and sciences, seem to have regarded
Gongorism as the only style that was truly gentlemanly and worthy of
their adoption. Accordingly Eugenio Gerardo Lobo, who was a captain
in the Spanish guards, and commandant of the town and fortress of
Barcelona, composed in his leisure hours, many spiritual and temporal
poems in the manner of the Gongorists, which, since the author’s
decease, have been reprinted.[581] A new edition of these poems, which
appeared in 1758, is inscribed by the publisher to a miraculous image
of the virgin, with all the usual formality of a dedicatory epistle.
In this dedication the holy virgin, in quality of queen of heaven, is
addressed by the title of “Your Majesty.” Thus in the middle of the
eighteenth century, when an elegant and learned party had long rendered
homage to French literature, the taste of the Spanish public could
still endure absurdities of this kind.


It was, however, in the commencement of the eighteenth century that
the French taste found its way into the Spanish academy; and this
circumstance, which was not the effect of accident, serves to mark a
kind of epoch in the history of Spanish poetry.

Ignacio de Luzan, who has become the authority to whom most Spanish
critics refer, must be regarded as the founder of the French school in
Spanish literature. He was a member of the royal Spanish academy, a
member of the academy of history, an honorary member of the academy of
painting, sculpture, and architecture; and at the same time counsellor
of state and minister of commerce. In addition to these dignities,
he was distinguished for extraordinary learning; and he was in
particular very deeply versed in ancient literature. He studied with
great assiduity Aristotle’s Art of Poetry and Rhetoric, and also the
rhetorical works of Cicero. He was a lover of poetry, and composed
very elegant verses in his native tongue. Being, as his writings
sufficiently prove, a man of candid and enlightened mind, national
pride did not deter him from making himself intimately acquainted
with French literature; and comparing it without prejudice, under its
best point of view, with the literature of his own country. This was
certainly a course altogether new for a Spanish author.

In order to form a just estimate of the spirit of Luzan’s labours, it
is necessary to bear in mind that the theoretical literature of Spain
furnished him with scarcely a single trace of sound criticism; that
even those Spanish poets who possessed the justest feeling for poetic
beauty, propounded, in their theoretic explanations, the most erroneous
notions on the value and the essence of poetry; that only a critical
tact, and an instinctive imitation of good models, had preserved the
most correct among the Spanish poets from wanderings of the imagination
and perversions of judgment; and that in the age of Luzan, the only
art of criticism which was theoretically taught in Spain, had issued
from the school of Gongora, and was consequently only calculated
to assist the systematic propagation of absurdity and affectation.
Moreover, the elegant correctness of the French poets was, in that age,
calculated to dazzle by the charm of novelty. Finally, the delicate
subtleties whereby the principles of French criticism and of French
poetry, since the age of Moliere and Corneille, were derived from
the classic school of antiquity, and the moral syllogisms with which
those principles were entrenched behind Aristotle’s Art of Poetry, as
their last bulwark, were well calculated to seduce a man of Luzan’s
erudition. His partiality for the French school, and his efforts to
reform the Spanish taste according to the principles of that school,
are therefore no proofs of narrowness of mind, though genuine poetic
feeling certainly was not within the sphere of his talent. He possessed
a delicate sense for elegance and the dress of poetry, but not for the
energy and loftiness of poetic genius. It is thus easy to account for
his having, with the best intentions, theoretically misunderstood the
essence and design of poetry; and for his also having, in conformity
with the spirit of French criticism, confounded the objects of the poet
with the duties of the orator and the moralist.

It was then with the view of fundamentally reforming the literary taste
of his countrymen, that Luzan wrote his celebrated Art of Poetry. It
was first published at Saragossa in the year 1737, in a folio volume
containing five hundred and three pages;[582] and it has ever since
been the code to which Spanish critics and authors have referred
for the decision of all cases of doubt. Sound judgment and classic
erudition are the chief characteristics of the work. The diction too is
simple and elegant, and prolixity is avoided, though in order to attain
that degree of perspicuity which was necessary for subduing Spanish
prejudice, much detail was indispensable. Newly discovered truths must
not be looked for in Luzan’s Art of Poetry. He even claims credit for
the doctrines he developes on account of their venerable antiquity. His
theory is declared by himself to be in the main no other than that of
Aristotle, the greatest of philosophers. To the neglect of that theory
he attributes the multitude of monstrous excrescences by which Spanish
literature is disfigured. He therefore conceived he was rendering,
though at the risk of being reproached with pedantary,[583] an
important service to the literature of his country, by the restoration
and just application of those ancient and only true principles which
had long been acknowledged and valued by the critics of foreign
nations. In support of his doctrines, Luzan regards the critical
observations of various French writers, particularly Rapin, Corneille,
Crousaz, Lamy, and Madame Dacier, as next in authority to the works of
Aristotle. He also availed himself of the Italian works of Gravina and
Muratori. These, and other foreign authors, are quoted by name. Spanish
readers must, doubtless, have been not a little surprised to find
among the quotations passages from French authors, given in the French
language, under the Spanish text. This was an unexampled phænomenon in
Spanish literature; and though a trifling circumstance it serves to
prove the increasing influence of the French language in Spain.

The want of novelty in the principles of Luzan’s Art of Poetry, is
compensated by the new application of those principles to Spanish
literature. The arrangement of the theory, which was introduced,
also belongs, at least in part, to himself; and in the developement
of that theory it is easy to recognize the man of judgment, and the
perfect master of his subject, though he only improved what had been
previously produced. The work is divided into four parts or books.
The first developes, according to the notions of the author, the
origin, progress, and essence of poetry, (_el origen, progressos y
essencia de la poesia_.) The second book explains the usefulness and
pleasure of poetry, (_utilidad y deleyte de la poesia_.) The third
book treats, at ample length, of tragedy, comedy, and other kinds
of dramatic composition; and the fourth of epic poetry. These chief
divisions present, indeed, only the outline of Aristotle’s Art of
Poetry; and Luzan’s work, can no more than its prototype, be regarded
as a complete theory of the poetic art. In this respect Luzan went
no further than his predecessor, Lopez Pinciano, who had long before
equally clearly perceived that the work, called Aristotle’s Art of
Poetry, was, in fact, merely a fragment.[584] It is singular enough
that Luzan takes no notice of Pinciano’s remarkable work; but whether
he was unacquainted with it, or whether he was intentionally silent,
cannot now be known. Within the boundaries of his four unsystematic
divisions, Luzan pursues his own course; but the present is not the
proper occasion for accompanying him step by step. As, however,
the publication of Luzan’s book has been attended by important
consequences, it will be proper to explain the manner in which this
critic understood the principles of Aristotle, and how he applied them
to Spanish literature.

Luzan in his exposition and application of Aristotle’s theory, takes
his departure from the same false principle which misled all the
French critics in the age of Louis XIV. He views poetry closely and
directly on its moral side; but not in that comprehensive manner in
which every thing, when contemplated on its moral side, ought to be
examined; he regards it merely as an art destined to aid morality,
properly so called; and that aid appears to him the more easily given,
because he adopts the maxim that the object of poetry is to be at once
useful and agreeable.[585] Deceived by this gothic idea, which seems
to have been founded on the misunderstanding of a verse of Horace, and
which is certainly as old as modern literature, it became impossible
for him either to attain a just notion of the poetic workings of the
imagination, in relation to the beautiful, or to discover the truth
of the proposition that such employment of the imagination possesses
in itself, under the proper restrictions, a moral value, and ennobles
human existence. Having fallen into the common error, Luzan, like the
French poets and critics, was capable of taking only a very contracted
view of poetic beauty. Genuine simplicity and elegance, and in both a
delicate infusion of wit, formed with Luzan, as with the French poets
and critics, the summary of all poetic excellence. According to these
principles, the imagination was regarded as merely the handmaid of the
recreative wit and the moralizing judgment. Genius was to be tied down
by rules in conformity with these narrow ideas of the spirit and object
of poetry. To satisfy the taste, in the exercise of wit and judgment,
was regarded as the highest object of the poet’s efforts. The bold
flight to a freer and fairer world, whence the true poet derives the
spirit of his imaginings, in the imitation of nature, was deemed merely
an agreeable accessary. In a word, the genuine essence of poetry was
held to be an adventitious ornament, while its station was usurped by
mere natural sentiment, and elegant or ingenious simplicity.

The useful and the agreeable, in the trivial signification of the
terms, are therefore the verbal pivots around which Luzan’s whole
poetic theory turns. It is easy to conceive what degree of excellence
and truth was to be derived from such principles in their application
to Spanish literature. Luzan zealously supported the cause of good
taste against the absurdities of the Gongorists.[586] He exposed,
without reserve, the weak side of Lope de Vega’s poetry; and the
examples he selects from the works of that poet, in order to shew how
far they are at variance with nature and reason, prove precisely what
they are intended to prove. But to admire genius in its wanderings,
and even in many cases to prize those wanderings more than a frigid
elegance, required a view of the subject which Luzan’s mind did not
embrace. He was precisely the man to detect and enumerate the errors
of the favourite poetry of his country; but he wanted the critical
eye which would have enabled him to do justice to its beauties.
After defining poetry to be an “imitation of nature, either general
or particular, made in verse, for utility or amusement, or for both
together,”[587] he goes on to say, that little plays of wit, such as
sonnets, madrigals, and songs, may sometimes have no other object
than agreeable amusement; but that in poetry of a more important kind,
such as comedies, tragedies, and epopee, the useful and the agreeable
must necessarily be combined together, that is to say, the work must
at once instruct and entertain. Accordingly, when he comes to treat
more particularly of dramatic poetry, he says, “tragedy is such an
imitation of an action as is calculated to correct fear, pity, or
other passions; but a comedy must be an action so represented as to
inspire love of some virtue, or hatred and abhorrence of some vice
or fault.”[588] It is not necessary to particularize the judgments
which a critic, armed with these opinions, must have pronounced on
the Spanish drama. Luzan not only blamed the Spanish dramatists for
the violation of the Aristotelian unities, on the ground that such
violation was contrary to nature; but he even condemned as not moral,
or at least not sufficiently moral, the genuine nature which he could
not avoid recognizing in their works. He, however says, that what
is first to be esteemed in the Spanish dramatists, “is in general
their ingenious invention, their extraordinary wit and judgment,
admirable and essential qualities in great poets. Lope de Vega merits
particular praise for the natural facility of his style, and the adroit
way in which he has in many of his comedies painted the customs and
the character of certain persons. I admire in Calderon the dignity
of his language, which without ever being obscure or affected is
always elegant.”[589] He proceeds to eulogize the art of ingenious
developement displayed in Calderon’s dramas of intrigue; and attributes
a similar merit to some of the comedies of Antonio de Solis and
Moretto. Under the same point of view he judges the writings of the
later Spanish dramatists, on which he confers particular commendation
on account of their superior regularity.[590] Next follows a list of
the faults, which, according to the above principles, he imputes to
the Spanish drama in general, and to the favourite dramatic poets of
the Spanish public in particular; and on this subject he makes many
just observations. He had good reasons for not venturing to attack the
Spanish Autos. He accordingly dismisses them very briefly, pronouncing
no literary judgment on them, and merely observes that they are
allegorical representations in honour of “the most holy sacrament of
the altar.”

Thus did a critic, whose voice a century earlier would scarcely have
been heard, systematically undertake to reform Spanish taste. It
appears from Luzan’s introductory observations that he was either not
sufficiently acquainted with the history of the poetry of his nation,
or had forgotten most essential facts, otherwise he never could have
adopted the notion that Spanish taste had degenerated for want of
learned critics to open the eyes of the public. The Spaniards of
Luzan’s age paid no more attention to his Art of Poetry, than their
ancestors had bestowed on Lopez Pinciano’s, which inculcated the same
principles two hundred years earlier, when the Spanish drama was in
its infancy. But the members of the Spanish academy regarded Luzan’s
book with as much veneration, as if through it the light of pure taste
had first been disclosed to Spain; and thus was the academy at length
placed in conflict with the public it sought to improve. Whether all
the members of that literary institution concurred in Luzan’s plans of
critical reformation cannot now be known. This, however, is certain,
that nothing was written in defence of the national style, either by
an academician or by any other critic or amateur; and all the writers,
who, since that period, have by means of critical treatises and new
dramas, zealously laboured to improve the dramatic literature of Spain,
according to French principles, have been members of the Spanish

Luzan himself did his utmost to support his theory by some original
poetic productions and translations from the French. He translated
one of Lachausée’s comedies; but with what success it was represented
on the Spanish stage is not mentioned. It was, however, followed by
various translations of French dramas by other writers.

Luzan’s poetic compositions are certainly honourably distinguished
by correctness, facility and elegance, and by what may be termed the
poetry of language, from the works of the Gongorists which at that time
were not entirely exploded in Spain. They consist of occasional poems
and poetic trifles, such as might have been written without the aid of
genius by any man of cultivated mind, possessing a certain degree of
descriptive talent. Zealous Gallicist as Luzan was, he had too much
solidity of taste to attempt an imitation of the structure of French
verse in the Spanish language; and accordingly his contributions to
the poetic literature of his country are in the usual national metres.
A poem in octaves, which he read on the opening of the academy of
painting, sculpture and architecture, in 1752, fifteen years before the
publication of his Art of Poetry, received particular approbation. He
read poetic compositions of the same kind on several occasions. Some of
his odes and canciones were not published till after his decease; among
the number are two on the re-taking of the Fortress of Oran;[591] an
occasional poem, entitled, the Judgment of Paris, which is prettily
conceived, and elegantly executed;[592] and some poems imitated from
the Greek of Anacreon and Sappho.[593] Luzan died in the year 1754.


Among the contemporaries of Luzan, the royal librarian, Gregorio Mayans
y Siscar, is entitled to praise, for having, in biographical, literary
and rhetorical works, furnished many hints and notices which throw
light on the history of Spanish poetry and eloquence. His collection of
detached writings on the History of the Spanish Language, (_Origenes de
la Lengua Española_), embraces more than the title promises; and among
other things contains a well written discourse exhorting authors to
pursue the true idea of Spanish eloquence.[594] But his diffuse Art of
Rhetoric,[595] which he published twenty years later than the work last
mentioned, is merely a formal compilation of the ideas and criticisms
of Aristotle and modern writers. It might with equal propriety be
entitled an art of poetry. The examples given from the poets are long
and numerous.

Blas Antonio Nassare, prelate and academician, laboured to attain the
same kind of merit. He was, however, so blinded by his predilection for
French literature, that he considered the eight comedies of Cervantes,
which he first restored to light, as parodies on the style of Lope de


Agustin de Montiano y Luyando, who was counsellor of state, director
of the academy of history, and a member of the Spanish academy,
undertook to introduce regular tragedy on the Spanish stage according
to Luzan’s principles. With this view he wrote two tragedies, the one
entitled _Virginia_, and the other _Ataulpho_, in which, with the
exception of the rhymeless iambics, which he substituted for the French
Alexandrines, he has most anxiously endeavoured to fulfil all the
conditions required by French criticism.[597] Both these tragedies are
remarkable for pure and correct language; for the cautious avoidance of
false metaphor; and for a certain natural style of expression, which
is sometimes wanting even in the dramas of Corneille and Racine. They
are, however, formed on the French model with such scrupulous nicety
that they might be mistaken for translations.[598] It is scarcely
necessary to mention, that in these tragedies the Aristotelian unities
are rigidly observed, and that in the Virginia the father does not stab
his daughter on the stage.

To the play of Virginia which was published in 1750, some years before
Ataulpho, Montiano annexed a historical critical treatise on Spanish
tragedy.[599] Patriotism had certainly some share in this treatise;
for in the first place, Montiano wished historically to defend his
countrymen against the reproach that no Spanish tragedy had ever been
written; and secondly, he wished in his Virginia to furnish the first
experiment of a Spanish tragedy, without violation of dramatic rules,
though he did not pretend to set up that specimen as a model. He
states, with all due modesty, that his work cost him much labour, and
expresses a hope that his countrymen will be induced to imitate his
example, to disregard the approbation of the ignorant multitude, and to
strive to do better than he had done.[600] In a preface to his tragedy
of Ataulpho he enlarges on the same theme.


Among the number of the Spanish Gallicists must likewise be included
that intelligent writer Luis Joseph de Velasquez. His History of
Spanish Poetry, (_Origenes de la Poesia Española_), which was published
in 1754, proves that the Spaniards had then, in a great measure,
forgotten their national literature. Velasquez unquestionably took
considerable pains to collect, with critical spirit, those facts which
were probably better known to him than to any of his contemporaries;
and yet he has, upon the whole, obscured rather than elucidated the
history of Spanish poetry. His criticism is quite in the French style,
with a slight tincture of Spanish patriotism. Velasquez was a member of
the French academy of inscriptions and belles lettres.

Not a single Spanish poet of distinguished merit flourished during the
first half of the eighteenth century. That such a barrenness should
have succeeded so great a fertility of talent, is a circumstance which
the exhaustion of the national spirit does not sufficiently explain.
It is also necessary to take into the account the conflict maintained
between favour shewn to the French style and the demands of the
Spanish public. Supported by national approbation, the Spanish poetry
had gloriously flourished; but it perished when new arbiters of taste,
who judged according to foreign principles, could with impunity treat
the Spanish public as an ignorant multitude.[601] In this collision
Spanish eloquence sustained no immediate injury. The influence of
the French style, could indeed at that time do it no injury, for at
the commencement of the eighteenth century, French prose was fitted
to serve as a model for clearness, precision, facility and elegance.
But no aspiring spirit now animated Spanish authors. Books written in
correct prose were produced in sufficient numbers; and yet no work
appeared which deserved particular distinction for rhetorical merit, or
which contributed in any degree to invigorate the literature of Spain.



The Spanish writers who lived about the middle of the eighteenth
century, began to be ashamed of the unworthy bondage which had severed
them from all common feeling with the public taste. It is doubtful
whether at this particular period, the nation in general began
once more to be roused to a sense of its own importance; but this
is certain, that a literary patriotism imperceptibly revived within
the narrow circle of Spanish authorship. Even several members of the
Spanish academy proved that they were no longer to be satisfied with
mere French elegance. The works of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries were again received into favour. Men of superior talents
arose, who endeavoured to combine Spanish genius with French elegance;
and the literature of Spain began to acquire a new life.


One of the first who openly attacked the party of the Gallicists, was
the patriotic Vicente Garcia de la Huerta, a member of the Spanish
academy, and librarian to the king. None but a man whose literary
judgments were accredited by the same honourable posts which gave
peculiar weight to those of the Gallicists, could at that time hope
to oppose with success the fashionable opinion concerning Spanish
literature. La Huerta, however, undertook a dangerous task, for with
every talent and right feeling for genuine poetry, he was by no means a
skilful critic. In systematic coolness of judgment he was incompetent
to enter the lists with men of Luzan’s critical ability. The true
principles on which Spanish poetry was to be defended against French
criticism, were at that period not at all understood; and La Huerta
was not the man to discover them. But his feeling acted in the place
of his judgment. It groped on when abandoned by theory, and rejected
every theory to which it could not be reconciled. Conscious of his
deficiency, La Huerta was extremely diffident whenever his opinions
came into collision with those of Luzan and other academicians. But
when his task was to reply to the observations of French critics,
his patriotic enthusiasm knew no bounds. In exercising the law of
retaliation, he attacked the admired Coryphæi of the French Parnassus
with a grossness which would cast a stigma on his reputation for taste,
did not his other works sufficiently prove him to have been unjust,
only through the excess of a just indignation. Fortunately for La
Huerta, it was not until his works had obtained decided credit that he
openly avowed his hostility to the Gallicists. Among the poems which
first conferred celebrity on his name, is a piscatory eclogue, which
he read at a distribution of academic prizes in the year 1760. This
purely occasional effusion is written in the national lyric style of
the eclogues of the best period of Spanish poetry, and is free from
orientalisms.[602] Three years afterwards, on a similar occasion, he
read a mythological poem in stanzas. These were succeeded by other
poems, also of occasional origin, by which La Huerta disarmed the
critics, who might have been disposed to assert that he was destitute
of the necessary feeling for French elegance. The romances by which
he sought to give to that style of national poetry a new existence in
the elegant world, seem to have been written at various periods of his
life. Besides lyric romances, which had not entirely lost their ancient
consideration, he composed narrative romances in the old style. In one
of the latter compositions his success is remarkable.[603] He likewise
revived the Spanish custom of composing poetic glosses; and some of his
sonnets deserve the highest praise. That he was well acquainted with
latin and French poetry is evident from his metrical translations of
some of Horace’s odes, and of several fragments from the works of the
French poets.[604]

But he had greater difficulties to overcome in his endeavours to
restore the Spanish drama to its former lustre. He was not so great a
poet as to be able to advance, accompanied by French elegance, in the
same course in which Calderon had stopped. Calderon’s dramas were,
however, still performed with approbation, in spite of all that was
said by the critics, and La Huerta wrote for one of these pieces a
prologue (_loa_) in the old style. At length when he thought he could
rely on the favour of a certain portion of the public, he came forward
with his first essay in tragic art. His _Raquel_, (Rachel), a tragedy,
which was intended to combine the old Spanish forms with the dignity
of the French tragic style, without being subject to the French rules
of dramatic art, was first performed at the court theatre of Madrid
in 1778. For upwards of half a century no new drama had been received
with such enthusiasm by the Spanish public. It was represented at
every theatre in Spain; and even before it was printed upwards of two
thousand copies were taken, and many sent as far as America.[605] The
Gallicists in Spain now rose in opposition to La Huerta; but he replied
to them in a tone of contemptuous haughtiness, while he always observed
the strictest modesty in addressing the public.

La Huerta’s Rachel is not a master-piece; but it is a noble testimony
of the poetic national feeling of an ingenious writer, who exerted
his utmost endeavours to restore the credit of the Spanish drama. The
subject is taken from the old history of Castile. King Alphonso VIII.
who has resigned his heart and his royal dignity to the fair Jewess
Rachel, is implored by the people and the nobility to shake off the
dishonourable yoke. He hesitates between love and duty, until the
spirit of discontent, which has been with difficulty repressed, breaks
forth in rebellion. While the king is out hunting, Rachel is surprised
in the palace, and her base counsellor, Ruben, murders her to save
his own life; which he only preserves until the arrival of the king,
by whom he is killed in return. The tragedy is divided, according to
the old practice, into three _jornadas_; but, in other respects, it
is obvious that the author took considerable pains to conform, under
certain limitations, to the French rules of dramatic art. The dialogue
proceeds uniformly in iambic blank verse, without the introduction of
sonnets, or any other kind of metre. All irregular theatrical pageantry
is avoided. The language, upon the whole, preserves a dignified
character; and in several scenes the tragic pathos is complete.[606]
But the composition fails in the distribution of the characters. Only
a feeble light is thrown on Rachel, the heroine of the tragedy. Her
counsellor, Ruben, is a stupid contemptible Jew, whose lamentations
in the moment of danger border closely on the ludicrous;[607] and the
weak character of the king, who changes his resolutions on every new
impression, frequently approaches caricature. The author has, however,
succeeded admirably in exhibiting a striking contrast in the characters
of two Spanish grandees:--the one is a base courtier, named Manrique;
while the other, Garcia de Castro, in all his sentiments and actions is
a correct representative of the spirit of ancient Spanish chivalry in
its purest dignity. In the patriotic portraiture of this character, La
Huerta’s whole soul is developed;[608] and the national spirit which
pervades the tragedy, doubtless contributed in no small degree to
ensure its celebrity.

La Huerta’s tragedy of _Agamemnon Vengado_, is a work of trivial
importance compared with Rachel. It is founded on the prose translation
of the Electra of Sophocles, which Perez de Oliva produced two
hundred years earlier;[609] but it is a remarkable, and by no means
unsuccessful attempt to unite the romantic and the classic forms,
according to the conditions required by a modern audience. La Huerta
wrote his Agamemnon in compliance with the wishes of some ladies of
Madrid, who were desirous of seeing a tragedy in the Grecian costume.
The place of the chorus is, after the French manner, supplied by
a female confidante. Part of the scenes are entirely taken from
Sophocles, others are those of the original remoulded, and some are
new. From the beginning to the end of the tragedy, the poetic language
is admirably preserved; and the alternation of the rhymeless iambics
with octaves and lyric metres, completes the beauty of the whole.[610]

Finally, La Huerta adapted Voltaire’s _Zaire_ to the Spanish stage.
After he had unquestionably acquired the right of pronouncing a
decided opinion on the literature of his country, he published his
_Theatro Hespañol_; and in his prefaces to some of the volumes of
that collection, he launched forth his invectives against the French
drama.[611] La Huerta’s _Theatro Hespañol_ is a classic selection
from the incalculable store of Spanish dramas; and the selection is
certainly well made consistently with the plan which he had adopted.
With the view of marking his hostility towards the Gallicists,
he selected only those Spanish comedies which are particularly
distinguished for elegant ingenuity in point of invention and
execution. Thus upwards of three-fourths of the whole collection
consists of _comedias de capa y espada_, chiefly from the pen of
Calderon. But for this very reason the work does not properly fulfil
its title, as it exhibits the Spanish theatre only under one point of
view. La Huerta has not even selected a single piece from Lope de Vega,
because the plays of that great dramatist were not sufficiently elegant
for his purpose: neither has he granted a place to the most beautiful
of Calderon’s heroic comedies, being deterred from inserting them by
their irregularity; and in conformity with the plan he had laid down,
he could with still less propriety admit an _Auto_ into his collection.
By this work he, however, attained the objects he had in view, which
were to restore the Spanish national comedy to its honourable place
in literature, and to vent his feelings of indignation against the
Gallicists. He treats the Italian authors, who had openly avowed their
disapproval of the Spanish drama, with no less severity than he had
evinced towards the French critics. Quadrio, Tiraboschi, Bettinelli,
and other writers “of the same breed,” (_de la misma raza_), are
denounced by La Huerta as malignant and envious critics. He accuses
Signorelli, of “notorious falsehood.” “Childish egotism,” he says, is
the soul of French criticism. The icy coldness of French tragedy was
with him more offensive than the neglect of rules in the Spanish drama.
Racine, the favourite tragic writer of the French school, owed his fame
solely to the “tedious scrupulosity,” which he observed in composing
his tragedies, but not to the “masculine vigour of genius, or the fire
and spirit of fancy.” The “natural sublimity” of Spanish genius could
not be restrained by the fetters of the French school. Luzan, though
in many respects a very estimable author, was imbued with prejudices.
Velasquez, with all his delicacy and erudition had fallen into the
errors and misconceptions of Luzan. In general, Spanish poetry had,
like the Spanish nation, a certain _oriental_ character, which it was
fit it should preserve. French imitations of Spanish dramas of intrigue
are declared perfectly insupportable; and, in particular, the Marriage
of Figaro, “a comedy altogether contemptible,” (_despreciada en todas
sus partes_.[612])

La Huerta remained a debtor to the public for the critical grounds of
these denunciations, which called forth the bitterest answers from the
adverse party, and also for a reply to his opponents. He asserted
briefly and bluntly that those opponents were merely “a ludicrous pack
of cynical and drivelling critics, the vehicles of envy, ignorance, and
imbecility.” What might not this patriotic author have effected had he
been as energetic in his reasoning as in his abuse! He nevertheless
appears to have contributed more than any of his contemporaries to
produce a re-action in Spanish literature, which was indispensable to
give to that literature the opportunity of again acquiring a poetic


The publication of the choice Spanish poems, collected by Don Juan
Joseph Lopez de Sedano, was a circumstance very favourable to the
restoration of the poetry of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to
its proper place in Spanish literature. This work appeared in the year
1768, under the title of the _Parnaso Español_; but there certainly
would have been little difficulty in producing a better collection. The
notions which Sedano entertained respecting religion and morality have
induced him to mingle not a few bad and indifferent productions with
poems of superior merit; and it was by no means a happy idea to reprint
long translations, such, for example, as the whole of Tasso’s Amynta,
when so much of the rich fruit of the original Spanish stock remained
ungathered. But the undertaking was praiseworthy; and the biographical
and literary notices annexed to the work rendered the Spanish public
once more acquainted with estimable authors whom it ought never to have


Tomas de Yriarte, general archivist to the high council of war, and
translator to one of the ministerial departments of state in Madrid,
combined French elegance with the ancient forms of Spanish poetry in a
manner very different from that of La Huerta. After he had acquired a
certain degree of reputation by several translations of French dramas,
by original poems in the latin language, and various other literary
labours, he obtained more decidedly the favour of the elegant portion
of the Spanish public by his _Fabulas Literarias_, (Literary Fables),
which were first printed in the year 1782.[613] Yriarte conceived the
novel idea of rendering literary truths, many of which may at the same
time be regarded as moral truths, themes for fables in the style of
Æsop; and of composing these fables in every variety of verse which
was in any way applicable to them. No classical fabulist had hitherto
appeared in Spanish literature. Yriarte’s fables are, however, not only
remarkable for their classic language and excellent versification,
but they possess a peculiar charm of style which may be mistaken for
a happy imitation of the manner of Lafontaine, though it is to be
traced to a different source. Like Lafontaine, Yriarte had a true
feeling for that delicate harmony which is so indispensable to the
fabulist, and for that spirited infantine style, which, in a graceful
prattling, playfully unfolds the truth as it were intuitively, and, as
it ought always to be disclosed, in apologue, without the slightest
trace of didactic design. He had no need to turn to the writings of
foreigners in quest of the literary elements of such a style. It
was only necessary to combine the exquisite simplicity of many old
Spanish romances and songs, with the true spirit of Æsopian fable,
and his narrative style could not fail to assume the tone in which it
so successfully rivalled the manner of Lafontaine. Accordingly among
Yriarte’s sixty-seven literary fables, those which are composed in
redondillas and other kinds of Spanish national measures, possess the
superiority in point of graceful execution. Some are not remarkable for
their didactic merits. But even when the idea, or what is styled the
moral, presents no particular interest, Yriarte’s fables please by the
graceful handling of the subject: an example of this may be seen in
the fable of the Ass, which finding a flute in a meadow, accidentally
breathes into the lip-hole with his nose, and on hearing the tone of
the instrument, persuades himself that nature has qualified him for
a musician.[614] Whether Yriarte wholly invented these fables, is a
question which can only be decided by laborious investigation. One
of the number, in so far as regards the lesson or moral, precisely
resembles Gellert’s fable of the Painter in Athens.[615] Yet this
circumstance by no means warrants the inference that it is borrowed.

Considerable praise has been bestowed on a didactic poem by Yriarte,
entitled Music;[616] but with all the merits which this production
may in other respects possess, it is no less deficient in the true
characteristics of a didactic poem, than are the earlier essays of the
Spaniards in the same class. It is judiciously conceived, executed with
the requisite elegance of language, and contains many passages which
are by no means destitute of poetic beauty.[617] But the systematic
form is not disguised by poetic composition. Instead of diffusing
a poetic interest over the truths which were to be inculcated, and
presenting even the instruction as a picture of the imagination,
according to the proper though seldom realized idea of a didactic
poem, Yriarte, like most didactic poets, regarded instruction as the
main object, and the creations of poetic fancy merely as accessory
embellishments: thus three-fourths of his work consist only of
elegantly versified prose.[618]


To give an account of all the other poets, who at the latter end of the
eighteenth century contributed to restore the credit of Spanish poetry,
is a task which must be consigned to other historians of literature,
who may possess favourable opportunities for rendering themselves
intimately acquainted with the more recent productions of Spanish
genius. A considerable number of bibliographic notices which would
contribute to the accomplishment of this object are extant.[619]

In taking a survey, however, of the latest period of the history
of Spanish poetry, the odes of Leon de Arroyal must not be
overlooked.[620] Though these odes are inferior to the older Spanish
productions of the same sort, yet some of them are distinguished,
not indeed for bold, but for airy flights of fancy;[621] and for
harmonious versification.[622] At the time of their appearance there
were likewise published anonymously some anacreontic songs by a lady,
who imitated Villegas with grace as well as with decorum.[623]


But a poet of the graces, who has had but few equals even in the golden
ages of Spanish poetry, and who excels in his particular sphere,
remains to be noticed. This ornament of modern Spanish literature, is
Juan Melendez Valdes, a doctor of law, and, perhaps, still professor
of polite literature in Salamanca. A delicate fancy, ever lively,
yet ever true to nature; an uncommon intensity of feeling; graceful
turns of thought; a classic precision and elegance of language, and
the most pleasing flow of versification, exist in so eminent a degree,
and are so happily combined in this author’s works, that the critic
is compelled to become a panegyrist, if he be not totally insensible
to the charm which such a phenomenon presents in modern poetry.[624]
At an early period of life, Melendez began to retrace the footsteps
of Horace, Tibullus, Anacreon, and Villegas; but, as he must have
felt that the luxuriant graces of his Spanish model were not to be
excelled, his imagination appears to have spontaneously applied itself
to a more exquisite painting of amatory ideas and images, and to the
dignifying of that kind of poetry by a certain moral delicacy to the
observance of which Villegas attached too little importance. The joys,
sorrows, and sports of rustic love, rural festivals and amusements,
are the materials which confer a peculiar character on the anacreontic
effusions of Melendez. Were it not that the picturesque descriptions
sufficiently indicate the Spaniard,[625] his verses might sometimes
be mistaken for translations from an English or German poet. Nothing
can surpass some of his descriptions in the graceful colouring of
tender sentiment.[626] It is only necessary to bestow a slight glance
on the compositions of Melendez to feel the injustice of the reproach
cast on Spanish poetry, by a French traveller, who observes “that the
Spaniard is so completely a citizen, that not even in his poetry does
he manifest a taste for rural life.” This reproach, which is probably
only directed against the poetic writers of the present day, would
be unworthy of notice were it intended to apply to the Spanish poets
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whose numerous pastoral
compositions abound in descriptions of rural scenery, which evince an
intuitive perception of the poetic beauties of unsophisticated nature.
Be this as it may, the Spanish academy thought proper, in the year
1780, to award a prize for the best poem in praise of rural life; and
on this occasion Melendez gloriously competed with Yriarte.

Besides the anacreontic poems of Melendez, his lyric romances, his
popular songs, in which the old national style is combined with
modern elegance, his romantic odes, his elegies and his sonnets, must
be numbered among the best productions in Spanish literature.[627]
How admirably he succeeded in the composition of poetic epistles
is proved by the classical dedication of his poems to his friend
Jovellanos.[628] He has rendered service to the Spanish theatre by
dramatizing the novel of the rich Camacho from Don Quixote. He is also
the author of several treatises on moral and philosophical subjects.


If the above information respecting some of the latest Spanish poets
be connected with the general observations and bibliographic notices
in the preceding part of this history, it will plainly appear that
the revival of polite literature in Spain must have been on the one
hand accelerated, and on the other retarded, by the progress which was
made in the cultivation of modern science and philosophy, during the
latter years of the eighteenth century. The period of the triumph of
the Gallicists is doubtless past, however numerous the adherents of
that party still may be. But in general the Spaniards of the educated
and refined classes still blush for their ancient prejudices, and
observe, with regret, that the Spanish literature is now only labouring
to acquire what it long ago neglected. In order to raise the elegant
literature of Spain to a level with that of other cultivated nations
of modern Europe, it is deemed necessary to continue with persevering
spirit to translate, adapt and imitate every foreign work which attains
any degree of celebrity. In this concurrence of the spirit of foreign
literature with the ancient national spirit, which is by no means
suffered to perish, more than one decennial period of the present
century will probably elapse ere Spanish poetry resume its original

Among their modern dramas, the Spaniards particularly esteem the
regular tragedies of Nicolas Fernandez de Moratin, and the comedies of
Ramon de la Cruz, who, previous to the year 1784, was computed to have
written upwards of two hundred interludes in the old style. Spanish
translations of the tragedies of Corneille and Voltaire, of the plays
of Moliere, and other French comic writers, and of the sentimental
dramas of Mercier, have also been received with approbation. Don
Leandro Fernandez de Moratin, who must not be confounded with his
namesake, travelled at the expense of the Spanish government to study
the dramatic literature of the different nations of Europe; and since
his return to Spain, a considerable pension has been granted to him
as a reward for one of his dramatic productions. He has rendered
the tragedy of Hamlet into Spanish, and is expected to give to his
countrymen a complete translation of Shakespeare. Don Luciano Francisco
Comella, who is mentioned in literary journals as one of the rivals
of Leandro de Moratin in comic poetry, appears to be a very prolific
writer, and inclined to the old national style. Don Theodoro de la
Calla has attempted to give Shakespeare’s Othello in Spanish, from
a French translation. Comella has also dramatized several recent
historical events, among which are some points in the history of Peter
the Great, and Catharine II. of Russia.

The Count de Noroña has particularly distinguished himself as a writer
of lyric poetry, and he has also translated Dryden’s Alexander’s Feast
into Spanish verse.

Joseph Vasquez Cadalso, and the younger Moratin, may be ranked among
the most successful writers of satirical poetry which Spain has
recently produced.

_Diana_, or the _Hunt_, by the elder Moratin; the _Happy Man_, by
Almeida; and the _Happy Woman_, by Morino, are the latest productions
in didactic poetry. A Spanish translation of _How to be always Merry_,
from the German of Uz, also occurs in the notices of new Spanish poems.

The old ambition of the Spaniards to distinguish themselves by some
production in epic art has again revived. A work of this class,
entitled, _Mexico Conquistada_, by Don Juan de Escoiquiz, has excited
some attention.

Spanish pastorals in the old national style are associated with
translations from the German of Gessner.

The collision of the natural and foreign styles is strikingly
exemplified in the Spanish romance literature of the present period.
The old romance of _Cassandra_ has lately been re-printed; and a
new one in the old style, entitled, _Leandra_, has also made its
appearance. All the English and French novels which obtain any
celebrity, are now translated into Spanish.

Elegant prose, which was earlier cultivated in Spain than in any
other country in Europe, seems at length to have emancipated itself
from the Gongorism which threatened its destruction. The prevailing
study of French prose in Spain, has no doubt proved favourable to the
revival of the pure eloquence of the writers of the sixteenth century.
None, indeed, of the more recent works in Spanish prose is eminently
distinguished for rhetorical composition. But on the other hand, among
these publications it would be difficult to mention a single book of
science, whether original or translated, which is not written with
a certain degree of purity and elegance. An historical work in the
Spanish language has been for some time announced, and is probably now
before the public. It is a History of America, by D. Juan Bautista
Muñoz, professor of philosophy at Valencia. The intention of the author
is to exhibit the conduct of the Spaniards in America in a point of
view different from that taken by Robertson; and the work is said to
be remarkable for beauty of style.

The Art of Rhetoric,[629] by Don Antonio de Capmany, a member of the
Spanish Academy of History, affords a new proof of the importance which
the Spaniards attach to the cultivation of elegant prose. The preface
to this work is particularly instructive. The book itself contains no
new truths, but it presents the old ones well arranged and judiciously
selected. Capmany’s work, and particularly the preface, clearly shews
that Spanish eloquence is still, in some measure, in a divided state.
The classic prose of the sixteenth century is again esteemed. But in
any endeavour to restore this prose unchanged, it must be difficult
to avoid the appearance of affectation; for since the prevalence of
the French taste, many Spanish words and phrases, which were formerly
classical, have now become antiquated, while on the other hand, old
words and phrases have been introduced from the French. The party of
the _purists_, as the adherents of the old style are denominated,
have the prevailing language of the polite world against them; while
the polite world and the partizans of the French style, can adduce no
good reasons for rejecting the old style, which is acknowledged to be
pure Castilian. Capmany is decidedly favourable to the new style.[630]
However, this conflict will not prove injurious to Spanish eloquence,
if each party be willing to make concessions, in order that the old
style may be fundamentally preserved, and yet be so modified as to
conform, without affectation, to the new ideas and forms of language
which modern science has introduced.

All these facts considered in their connexion as a whole, leave no room
to doubt that the polite literature of the Spaniards may again rise to
its former glory, if favoured by the ancient national spirit, to the
genial influence of which it owes its existence. The two academies of
polite literature, (_de buenas letras_), at Barcelona and Seville, may
likewise contribute to the fulfilment of this object, if they seriously
devote their attention to it. The talent of the Spanish improvisatori,
who are said to be in no way inferior to those of Italy, may also be
directed to the revival of the ancient popular poetry. Since the works
of the poets and elegant prose writers of the golden age of Spanish
literature have lately been republished in elegant editions, and
universally circulated, and since the new demands of reason and science
have promoted the developement of the mental faculty in Spain, the
best results may be expected from the union of elegant and scientific


It is only after having duly studied the polite literature of Spain in
all its parts, with the interest attached to literary investigation,
that it is possible to characterize it as a whole, and to obtain
possession of the results which such a characteristic judgment ought to

I. Spanish poetry is more decidedly national than any other branch
of modern poetry in Europe. Even the Italians have only transferred
their spirit and character into forms; which, though ennobled by a
genial classic refinement of style, were originally derived from the
Provençals. But the Spanish, or to speak with more precision, the
Castilian poetry, which arose in the neighbourhood of the Provençal,
is a peculiar stream from the romantic Parnassus. When the Spaniards
admitted the Italian forms into their poetry, they did not transfer the
old Spanish character to these nationalized forms, in the same manner
as the Italians, by classic improvement of style, and enlargement
of the boundaries of romantic composition, converted the Provençal
poetry into pure Italian poetry. The Spanish poets made the classic
purity, and polish of the Italian forms, subservient in a new manner
to the orientalism of their ancient national literature. A tendency to
the old orientalism is indeed plainly perceptible even in the works
of the few Spanish poets, who were the most disposed, like Luis de
Leon, Cervantes, and the two Argensolas, to adopt the opinions of the
ancients and the Italians with regard to the correctness of ideas and
images. This orientalism of the Spanish character and poetry which has
long been disapproved, is now decidedly pronounced bad taste, because
the general idea of poetry, which is the same for all ages and all
nations, is superseded by Greek, Italian, or French national ideas;
and thus that beauty which is general is made subject to particular and
subordinate laws. But as long as the ideal creations of the imagination
are not entirely at variance with reason and nature, they may far
overstep the boundaries of the Greek and other national forms, without
violating the supreme laws of the beautiful. A true theory of taste
should therefore induce us to look beyond all factitious limits of the
creative and plastic powers of imagination for a critical point of
view, which has only nature and reason for its basis. Considered from
such a point of view, that orientalism, which is ridiculous and absurd,
becomes at once distinguishable from that which belongs to the truly
sublime and beautiful. Spanish poets, it is true, have often failed to
observe this distinction. But owing to the usual mode of estimating
Spanish literature in the mass, justice has not been done to that
genuine beauty which it so conspicuously discloses even in the midst of

II. This unjust system of criticism appears to account for the very
slight attention which has been paid to the high elegance and classic
purity of a considerable portion of the polite literature of Spain.
In this respect Cervantes alone outweighs a whole host of the correct
Gallicists, whose highest merit is to have written interesting prose in
well constructed verse. Metrical elegance is indeed a distinguishing
property in many of the most irregular productions of the Spanish
poets; this is evident in their comedies, and more particularly
in the comedies of Calderon, which present the highest charm of
rhythmical harmony. On this occasion the classic prose of the golden
age of Spanish literature ought also to be brought to recollection.
In the number of prose works distinguished for elegance of style
and intellectual energy of composition, the literature of Spain far
surpasses that of Italy.

III. The deficiency of one kind of riches in Spanish literature, is
amply compensated by the abundance of another kind, which is in a
great measure peculiar to that literature, and which has manifested
itself in an inconceivable number of works. The portion of lyric poetry
in which the Spaniards have imitated the Italian forms, tolerably
counterbalances the amount of Italian poetry in the same style. But if
to that portion be added the whole store of lyric romances and songs
in the old popular style, a multitude appears which sets calculation
at defiance. Nothing, however, could be more absurd, than to estimate
the poetic fertility of a nation according to the number of works
called poems, which it may possess. It is from the sum of genuine
poetry actually existing in any considerable number of such works,
though it should be visible only in the seed or in the bud which
has withered in the opening, that the balance must be struck when
the poetic riches of nations is the subject of comparison. If the
mere number of productions were to decide, Italy would be as rich in
dramatic literature as Spain. But in Italy, it unfortunately happened
that scarcely any writers except those of middling and even inferior
talent laboured to increase the stock of Italian dramas to infinity. In
Spanish dramatic literature, on the contrary, the most fertile writers
shew themselves to be great poets even amidst their faults. According
to the same principle the multitude of nominal epic poems, which have
appeared in Spain, and in which scarcely a feeble spark of true epopee
is discernible, must not be taken into account in estimating the poetic
treasures of Spanish literature. A single canto of Ariosto or Tasso, is
worth all the Spanish epic poetry that ever was written.

IV. Of all the poets of modern times, the Spanish can alone be regarded
as the inventors of the poetry of catholic mysticism, which they have
employed in a very ingenious, though, it must be confessed, not in an
exemplary manner. He must indeed be completely dazzled by the brilliant
side of Spanish poetry, who refuses to acknowledge that the character
of the sacred comedy is monstrous, even as it appears in the Autos of
the estimable Calderon. But, on the other hand, the affectation of
philosophic criticism must have deadened all susceptibility for that
bold style of spiritual poetry in him who denies to the Spanish Autos
the possession of beauties, which deserve to be admired. What might not
this poetry have become, had reason extended her influence over it in a
more powerful degree, not, indeed, to reduce it to the level of prose,
but to divest it of the mask of caricature, while soaring in the lofty
regions of mystic invention!

    END OF VOL. I.


    _E. Justins, Printer, 41, Brick Lane, Whitechapel._


    Page 27, title of Book I. for _end of the sixteenth_, read
    _commencement of the sixteenth century_.

    43, l. 4 from the top, for _Don Juan de Manuel_, read _Don Juan

    51, l. 14 from the top, for _beaux tenebreux_ read _beau

    100, l. 1 of the second note, for _Diez_ read _Dieze_.

    102, l. 11 from the top, for _Bachellor_ read _Bachelor_.

    128, last line, for _Count of Arragon_ read _Court of Arragon_.

    131, l. 12 from the top, for _applies_ read _applied_.

    161, last line but one of the note, for _called_ read _calls_.

    165, l. 1 of the second note, for _Gottengen_ read _Göttingen_.

    168, l. 1, for _changed_ read _charged_.

    180, l. 5 from the top, for _ecologues_ read _eclogues_.

    193, l. 18 from the top, for _Diego Mendoza_ read _Diego de

    215, l. 2 from top, for _depths_ read _depth_.

    218, l. 6 from the top, for _formed_ read _found_.

    253, l. 7 from the bottom, for _though it even constantly_ read
    _though it constantly_.

    254, l. 7 from the bottom, for _Acuna_ read _Acuña_.

    272, l. 13 from the top, for _belong_ read _belongs_.

    303, l. 12 from the top, for _Lusiade_ read _Lusiad_.

    309, l. 14 from the top, for _mankind_ read _man_.

    312, l. 2 of the note, for _edition_ read _addition_.

    364, 7 from the bottom, for _Span_ read _Spain_.

    435, l. 7 from the top, for _title of a work_ read _title for a

    448, l. 8 from the bottom of the note, for _to Marshal_ read _to
    the Marshal_.

    469, l. 6 from the top, for _voluntary_ read _voluntarily_.

    524, l. 12 from the top, for _analize_ read _analyze_.

    551, l. 8 from the top, for _Nothing poetical was at this period
    produced_, read _Nothing poetical produced at this period_.









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[1] This, in its turn, is only a small part of a very extensive work,
the general title of which is, _Geschichte der Künst und Wissenschaften
seit der Wiederherstellung derselben bis an das Ende des achtzenten
Jahrhunderts, von einer Gesellschaft gelehrter männer ausgearbeitet_.
(History of Arts and Learning from their restoration to the end of the
eighteenth century, by a society of learned men.) Different authors
have each taken a part in this great literary enterprize, which may
be said to form an Encyclopedia, though not on the usual plan of a

[2] There is also a French translation of Bouterwek’s volume on Spanish
literature, which, as far as it goes, is correct and well executed in
point of style; but notwithstanding that the translator appears to have
been capable of doing justice to the work, it is greatly mutilated. The
Portuguese volume, which is in some respects the more valuable of the
two, is not touched by the French translator.

[3] _Letters from an English Traveller in Spain, in 1778, on the Origin
and Progress of Poetry in that kingdom, London 1781._--This book was
written by _Mr. Dillon_, author of “Travels through Spain,” “History of
Peter the Cruel,” &c.

[4] Fought in the year 712.

[5] This remark, from the _Indiculo luminoso_ of Bishop Alvaro of
Cordova, is noticed in the preface to Du Cange’s Glossary, and is
repeated by Velasquez in his History of Spanish Poetry, Dieze’s
edition, page 33.--See also Eichhorn’s _Allgemeine Geschichte der
Cultur und Litteratur_, vol. i. p. 121. The details of the history of
Arabic poetry in Spain cannot be comprehended in a history of Spanish
and Portuguese poetry. The bibliographic erudition on the subject of
Arabic poetry, which Dieze has displayed in his remarks on Velasquez,
does not belong to the subject of this work.

[6] Velasquez, Dieze, and other authors, furnish information on the
history of the Biscayan language and poetry. This language, with the
poetry to which it may have given birth, has had no influence on
literature beyond its own territory, and appears to have had very
little even there.

[7] How sensibly the neglect of the Catalonian or Valencian tongue,
after the union of the kingdoms of Arragon and Castile, was felt in
the provinces which belonged to the former, may be seen from the
passage quoted by Eichhorn, in his _Allg. Gesch. der Cul. u. Litt._
vol. i. page 129, from Scuolano’s History of Valencia. But the
pleasing language of the Troubadours was doubtless very defective.
It would otherwise have been difficult to have made the Catalonian
poets so soon proselytes to the Castilian dialect, especially as,
besides the difference of language, the natural jealousy between the
Arragonian and Castilian provinces was strong enough to manifest
itself by political effects even in the eighteenth century. The
imperfection of the Troubadour phraseology may have been partly owing
to its fluctuations, and the various forms it assumed, in the several
dialects. The difference of the dialects appears particularly evident
on comparing the real PROVENÇAL of the French Troubadours
with the Valencian, called LENGUA VALLENCIANA. The dialect of
the Provençal Troubadours may, without much difficulty, be translated
by conjecture, if the reader be acquainted with French and Italian;
but the meaning of the Valencian cannot be so easily guessed at, even
with the additional knowledge of Castilian. As a proof of this, it
will be sufficient to peruse a passage of the _Libre de los Dones_,
of _Mosen_, [that is, Monsieur, instead of the Castilian Don] _Jaume_
[James] _Roig_, reprinted in Valencia, 1735, in 4to. The author is one
of the last poets who wrote in the Valencian dialect, and the whole
didactic poem, if so it may be called, is composed in short verses of
the following description:

    Yo com absent
    Del mon vivint,
    Aquell linquint
    Del apartat
    Dant hi del peu,
    Vell jubileu
    Mort civilment,
    Ja per la gent
    Per tots tengut
    Con hom selvatge
    Tenint ostatge, &c. &c.

Owing to the difference of the dialects, a foreigner might, by a short
residence in Madrid, learn to express himself in Castilian with more
fluency than it is spoken by a great part of the inhabitants of the
Arragonian provinces.

[8] At least such is the opinion of Gregorio Mayans y Ziscar, given in
his work, known under the title of _Origenes de la Lengua Española_,
part i. page 8.

[9] An old prejudice attributes the forcible aspiration which the
Spanish shares in common with the German and Arabic, solely to the
mixture of the latter with the Castilian. This prejudice is pardonable
in the Spaniards, who are not aware of the influence which the German
guttural must have had over their language; but the Germans, who
know the nature of their mother tongue, ought to recollect that the
same Arabic words which are strongly aspirated by the Spaniards, are
pronounced by the Portuguese, though equally naturalized among them,
with a hissing sound. Besides, how does it happen that the G
before E and I, which is a guttural with the Germans,
has nearly the same sound with the Castilians, though it is never so
pronounced by any other people whose language appears to have risen on
the ruins of that of ancient Rome? The Germanic pronunciation of the
Visigoths, which was doubtless preserved in the mountains of Castile,
would afterwards be easily confounded with the Arabic. The Castilian
conversion of O into UE, also resembles the change
which takes place in German of O into OE. Let, for
instance, the Spanish CUERPO and PUEBLO be compared
with the German KÖRPER and PÖBEL.

[10] The Portuguese language would perhaps be less depreciated by the
Spaniards, if it did not remind them of the vulgar idiom spoken by the
Galician water-carriers in Madrid. On the contrary, the Portuguese
think the Castilian language inflated, and at the same time rough
and also affected. Both nations are as little disposed to come to an
agreement on the merits of their respective languages as the Danes and
Swedes are regarding theirs; for the Castilian and Portuguese are,
like the Danish and Swedish, only two conflicting dialects of the same
tongue. The Swedes admit that the Danish language exceeds their own
in softness, though they consider that softness disagreeable, and the
harsher Swedish more sonorous on account of the greater abundance and
fulness of its vowel sounds; thus, precisely in the same manner, do the
Spaniards condemn the softness of the Portuguese tongue. The elision
of the letter L in a great number of Portuguese words, as in
COR, PAÇO, for _color_, _palacio_, and the remarkable
change of L into R, as in _branco_, _brando_, for
_blanco_, _blando_, are peculiarities of that language to which
foreigners do not easily reconcile themselves.

[11] The first essay towards a history of the Portuguese language,
and an introduction to Portuguese orthography, were published in
Lisbon at the time when Portugal was a Spanish province.--Duarte Nunez
de Liaõ, the author of both works, was a statesman and magistrate.
(_Desembargador da Camara da Supplicaçaõ._) The former is entitled
_Origem da Lingoa Portugueza_, _Lisb._ 1606, in 8vo. It is dedicated
to Philip III. king of Spain, who is, however, on this occasion merely
addressed as _Dom Phelipe II. de Portugal_. In the preface the author
states his other, but older work, (_Orthographia da Lingoa Portugueza_,
Lisb. 1576, in 8vo.) to be the first of the kind. The Portuguese have,
however, for two centuries laboured with as little success as the
Germans, to introduce uniformity of orthography into their language.
The convertible M and AÕ appear to have been so early
selected to denote the French nasal tone which occurs in numerous final
syllables, that Nunez de Liaõ found it necessary to acquiesce in the
custom, according to which the same word might be very differently
written, as _naçaõ_ or _naçam_, _naõ_ or _nam_, pronounced nearly as
_nassaong_ and _naong_, with the French sound of _on_, _bon_. But it
surely could not have been very difficult to dispossess the totally
unnecessary and barbarous H in _hum_ and _huma_ (from the
latin _unus_ and _una_) of the place it had assumed, as it is now
banished from elegant Portuguese orthography. Trifles of this kind
present more materials for reflection than a first view gives reason
to expect. When the orthography of a country continues to be an object
of reform, that nation is deficient in a certain degree of refinement,
the attainment of which has either been missed, or the right pursuit
of which is but just commenced. Indeed what necessity is there for the
French, Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese, writing the same sound,
occurring in the same word, in four different ways, as for example,
_bataille_, _battaglia_, _batalla_, _batalha_?

[12] Nothing could be more improper than to follow Du Cange, (Glossar.
praef. § 34, sq.) in dividing the _vulgare idioma_ of the present
inhabitants of the Pyrenean Peninsula into the _Castellanum_,
_Limosinum_, and _Vasconicum_.

[13] A particular account of the Limosin poetry, even in its last
period, which is late enough to come into the division of time called
the latter ages, does not belong to the history of modern poetry. It
ought to be treated as the last part of the chivalrous poetry of the
middle ages.--See the notices in Velasquez and Dieze, p. 45, and the
still more instructive sketch of the history of Limosin poetry, in
Eichhorn’s _Gesch. der Cult. u. Litt._ vol. i. p. 123.

[14] That the Portuguese and the Galician were originally not to be
distinguished from each other, is expressly stated by that attentive
observer of the forms of his native language, Nunez de Liaõ, who says,
_As quaes ambas_, (namely, the Portuguese and the Galician tongues)
_eraõ antigamente quasi huma mesma nas palavras, e diphthongos, e
pronunciação, que as outras partes de Hespanha naõ tem_. ORIGEM DA

[15] Velasquez, who felt this, thought fit when he read the _Lusiade de
Camões_, to pay a particular compliment to the author, at the expense
of the Portuguese language; for, after delivering the same opinion
on that language, which is entertained by most Spaniards, he very
elegantly adds: “the muses thought otherwise when they spoke through
the mouth of Camoens.”

[16] _Cada fuente de Portugal y cada monte son Hippocrenes y
Parnassos_, says Manuel de Faria y Sousa, in his _Epitome de las
Historias Portugueses_. Father Sarmiento, a Spanish author, whom
national prejudice does not prevent from doing justice to the
Portuguese, mentions this observation in his instructive _Memorias para
la Poesia Española_.

[17] The word is used in this extensive sense by Sarmiento in his
_Memorias_, or as the book is sometimes called, _Obras posthumas_,
parte i. p. 168. Authors are far from being agreed respecting the
origin of the term _redondillas_, (according to the Portuguese
orthography _redondilhas_.) But is not the word more naturally derived
from _redondo_ (round), than from a small town called Redondo? Instead
of redondillas, these compositions are sometimes named _redondillos_,
the word _versos_ being understood. In German they might be called
_ringelverse_ (circular verses.)

[18] Shall it be said that there is, in the German language, no kind
of verse which unites to so much grace, a character so truly popular!
Let Burger’s _Nachtfeier der Venus_ be considered, before this be
determined. Even the Esthonian Serfs, on the coast of the Baltic,
chaunt their simple ballads in the same measure. Proof of this may be
seen on reference to Petri’s _Nachrichten von den Esthen_, vol. ii. p.

[19] Among others, Sarmiento, who in support of this opinion,
quotes some verses from Virgil, for example: _Inter viburna
cupressi_--_Tondenti barba cadebat_, &c. These verses have, it is true,
eight syllables, but not four trochaic feet.

[20] How does it happen that none of the Spanish authors have taken
notice of the ancient songs sung by the Roman soldiers, though they
are evidently _redondillas_? Suetonius has preserved some remarkable
examples of these songs; and the same measure occurs after the decline
of latin poetry, particularly in some pious verses of Prudentius, which
are quoted by Sarmiento.

[21] After examining Arabic verses, written in the European manner, it
cannot be difficult, even for persons unacquainted with the language,
to form a sufficient idea of the influence which the monotonic rhymes
of the Moors had on the old Castilian romances. See, for example, the
following passage of the Koran:

    Va sciamsi, va dhohàha,
    Val Kamari eda talàha,
    Van nahari, eda giallàha,
    Val Laïli eda jagsciàha.

But the Spanish ear required some variety, and accordingly preferred a
predominant to a single unchanging rhyme. Thus in the romance:--

    Media noche era por hilo;
    Los gallos querian _cantar_
    Donde Claros con amores
    No podia _reposar_,
    Quanto muy grandes sospiros
    Que el amor se hazia _dar_, &c. &c.

[22] Such _rimas asonantes_ as occur in the words _noble_ and _pone_,
_dolor_ and _corazon_, are easily recognized. But from some old Spanish
romances, it appears that the return of the same consonants sometimes
supplies the place of an assonant rhyme; for example, when the words
_baxo_, _crucifixo_, _enojo_, &c. follow each other at short intervals.

[23] See what is stated by Sarmiento, p. 191, from an old letter of the
Marquis of Santillana, of which more particular notice must soon be
taken in this work.

[24] The Spanish and Portuguese _versos de arte mayor_ very much
resemble some of the English popular ballads, with regard to their
measure. There is, however, in the rudest of the Spanish and Portuguese
strophes of this kind, more real rhythmus, than even in the modern
popular songs of the English. An old political song, by Juan de Mena,
commences thus:--

    Como, el, que duerme con la pesada,
    Que quiere y no puede jamas acordar,
    Mas si lo puede á la fin desechar,
    Queda la mente con el desvelada, &c.

[25] Sarmiento has written at sufficient length on the origin of the
Castilian romances, but the information he gives is more copious than
satisfactory. It would require the most laborious investigation, joined
to the highest critical sagacity, to penetrate the obscurity in which
this part of the history of literature is involved. How indeed can it
be ascertained to what age a ballad belongs, the author of which is
unknown, and which, in the progressive improvement of the language and
the national taste, has been, without scruple, altered by the singers?

[26] These monuments of old Castilian rhyme were little known until
rescued from oblivion in 1775 by the publication of D. Thomas Antonio
Sanchez’s _Coleccion de Poesias Castellanas Anteriores al siglo XV._
a work which in respect to philology is certainly very meritorious.
The collection, however, appears to terminate with the third volume,
(Madrid, 1782), which contains the _Poema de Alexandra Magno_. The
first volume contains the celebrated letter of the _Marquis de
Santillana_ on the ancient Spanish poetry, which, for the first time,
is printed in that volume, with a commentary by the publisher, full of
philological learning.

[27] For example, in the following passage which Sarmiento has also
quoted; the language, too, differs less from the present Spanish in
this, than in many other parts of the work.

    De los sus ojos tan fuertemente llorando,
    Tornaba la cabeça, e estavalos catando.
    Vio puertas abiertas, e uzos sin canados,
    Alcandaras vacìas sin pieles e sin mantos
    E sin falcones, e sin azores, mudados.
    Sospirò mio Zid; ca mucho aviè grandes cuidados.
    Fablò mio Zid bien, e tan mejorado:
    Grado á ti, Señor Padre, que estas en alto.
    Esto me han envuelto mìs enemigos malos, &c.

[28] He states at the beginning of the work the importance he placed on
the labour of the rhyme, which he seems to have particularly valued,
because he made four lines always rhyme together in succession:--

    Mester trago fremoso, no es de juglaria,
    Mester es sen pecado, ca es de clerecia.
    _Fablar curso rimado por la quaderna via
    Per silabas cantadas, ca es grant maestria._


    El padre a vii. años metiole a leer,
    Diole a maestros ornados de seso e de saber,
    Los megores que pudo in Grecia escoger,
    Que lo sopiessen en las vii. artes emponer
        Aprend de las vii. artes cada dia licion
    De todas cada dia facia disputacion, &c.

[30] Sarmiento and Sanchez may be consulted respecting those enquiries.
Some notices on the same topics are also to be found in Velasquez. Had
Berceo composed verses on temporal subjects, it is probable that the
Spanish writers would not have disputed with so much zeal on the merits
of his life. It is curious, that the pious author himself calls his
verse prose. The passage runs thus:--

    Quiero far _una prosa_ in Roman paladino,
    En qual suele el pueblo fablar a su vecino,
    _Ca non so tan letrado a far otro latino_.
    Bien valdra, como ereo, un vaso de bon vino.

[31] Having stated that he learnt his art from an Egyptian, whom he
invited from Alexandria, Alphonso adds:--

    La piedra que llaman philosophal
    Sabia facer, e me la enseñó,
    Fizimoslo juntos, despues solo yo;
    Con que muchas veces creció mi caudal.

The chemical prescriptions have a very quaint effect, as delivered in
the dancing measure of these verses, viz.

    Tomad el mercurio assi como sale
    De minas de tierra con limpia pureza.
    Purgadlo con cueros par la su maleza,
    Porque mas limpieza en esto mi cale.
    E porque su peso tan solo se iguale,
    Con doze onzas del dicho compuesto,
    En vaso de vidro despues de ser puesto.
    Otra materia en esto non vale.

This extract may also serve as an example of the rhythmical facility
displayed in the verses of Alphonso.

[32] Histoire générale des Troubadours, tom. ii. pag. 255, tom. iii.
pag. 329, &c.

[33] Sarmiento refers the oldest Castilian romances to the thirteenth
century, but only hypothetically, and with the explicit declaration,
that certainly none were to be found in the form in which they then
existed. Respecting the _Nicolas_ and the _Antonio de los Romances_,
see the notes of Dieze on Velasquez, p. 146.

[34] See the _Bibliotheca Hispana Vetus_ of Nicolas Antonio, under the
head of Alphonso XI. and Sarmiento, p. 305.

[35] A sensible and well digested biography of this prince, by Gonzalo
de Argote y Molina, a writer of the sixteenth century, is prefixed to
_El Conde Lucanor_, the first edition of which Argote superintended.
The work is not easily procured even in Spain. _No es de los mas
communes_, says Sarmiento. In the library of the university of
Göttingen there is a copy of the edition: Madrid, 1642, 4to.


    Si algun bien fizieres, que chico assaz fuere,
    Fazlo granado; que el bien nunca muere.


    Quien te conseja encobrir de tus amigos,
    Engañar te quiere assaz, y sin testigos.


    No aventures mucho tu riqueza
    Por consejo de ome que ha pobreza.


    Quien bien see, non se lieve.


    Quien te alabare con lo que non has en ti,
    Sabe, que quiere relever lo que has de ti.

[41] As this work is as scarce as it is curious, to extract the whole
of the first tale will perhaps be agreeable to the reader. Fablava
un dia el Conde Lucanor con Patronio su Consejero, en esta manera.
Patronio, vos sabedes que yo soy muy caçador, y he fecho muchas
caças nuevas, que nunca fizo otro ome, y aun he fecho y añadido en
los capillos y en las piguelas algunas cosas muy aprovechosas, que
nunca fueron fechas, y aora los que quieren dezir mal de mi fablan
en escarnio en alguna manera, y quando loan al Cid Ruydias, o al
Conde Ferrand Gonzalez, de quantas lides que fizieron, o al santo y
bienaventurado Rey don Ferrando, quantas buenas conquistas fizo, loan
a mi, diziendo que fiz muy buen fecho, porque añadi aquello en los
capillos y en las piguelas. Y porque yo entiendo, que este alabamiento
mas se me torna en denuesto, que en alabamiento, ruego vos que me a
consejedes en que manera faré, porque no me escarnezcan por la buena
obra que fiz. Señor Conde, dixo Patronio, para que vos sepades lo
que vos cumple de fazer en esto, plazeme ya que sopiessedes lo que
contescio a un moro, que fue Rey de Cordova. El Conde la preguntó como
fuera aquello; Patronio le dixo assi.

Huvo en Cordova un Rey Moro, que huvo nombre Alhaquime, y como quier
que mantenia bien assaz su Reyno, no se trabajó de fazer otra cosa
honrada, nin de gran fama, de las que suelen y deven fazer los Reyes.
Ca non tan solamente son los Reyes tenudos de guardar sus Reynos, mas
los que buenos quieren ser, conviene que tales obras fagan, porque
con derecho acrecienten sus Reynos, y fagan en guisa, que en su vida
sean muy mas loados de las gentes, y despues de su muerte finqueen
buenas fazañas de las obras que ellos ovieren fecho. E este Rey non
se trabajava de esto, si non de comer, y de folgar, y de estar en su
casa vicioso; y acaescio, que estando un dia que tañian ante el un
estormento de que se pagavan mucho los moros, que há nombre Albogon,
e el Rey paró mientes, y entendio que non fazia tan buen son como
era menester, y tomó el Albogon, y añadio en el un forado a la parte
de yuso, en derecho de los otros forados, y dende en adelante fazia
el Albogon muy mejor son que fasta entonces fazia. E comoquiera que
aquello era bien fecho para en aquella cosa, pero que non era tan
gran fecho como convenia de fazer al Rey. E las gentes en manera de
escarnio començaron a loar aquel fecho, y dezian quando llamavan a
alguno en Arabigo, _Vahedezut Alhaquime_, que quiere dezir: este es
el añadimiento del Rey Alhaquime. Esta palabra fue sonada tanto por
la tierra, fasta que lo ovo de oir el Rey, y preguntó, porque dezian
las gentes aqueste palabra. E conaquier que ge lo quisieran negar y
encubrir, tanto los afincó, que ge lo ovieron a dezir. E desque esto
oyó tomó ende gran peçar, pero como era muy buen Rey, non quiso fazer
mal a los que dezian aquesta palabra, mas puso en su coraçon de facer
otro añadimiento, de que por fuerza oviessen las gentes a loar el su
fecho. E entonce porque la su mezquita de Cordova non era acabada,
añadio en ella aquel Rey toda la labor que hi menguava, y acabóla.
Y esto fue la mejor, y mas complida, y mas noble mesquita que los
moros avian en España. E loado Dios es aora Iglesia, y llamanla Santa
Maria de Cordova, y ofresciola el santo Rey don Fernando a Santa
Maria quando ganó a Cordova de los Moros. E desque aquel Rey ovo
acabado la mesquita, y fecho aquel tan buen añadimiento, dixo, que
pues fasta entonces lo avian a escarnio, retrayendole del añadimiento
que fiziera en el Albogon, que tenia que de alli adelante le avrian a
loar con razon del añadimiento que fiziera en la mezquita de Cordova,
y fue despues muy loado: y el loamiento que fasta entonces le fazian
escarnesciendole, fincò despues por loa, y oy dia dizen los Moros
quando quieren loar algun buen hecho:--Este es el añadimiento del Rey
Alhaquime. E vos, Señor Conde, si tomades pesar, o cuidades que vos
loan por escarnescer del añadimiento, que fezistes en los capillos, y
en las piguelas, y en las otras cosas de caça que vos fezistes, guisad
de fazer algunos fechos granados e nobles que les pertenesce de facer
a los grandes omes. E por fuerça las gentes avran de loar los vuestros
buenos fechos, assi como loan aora por escarnio en el añadimiento que
fezistes de la caça. E el Conde tovo este por buen consejo y fizolo
assí, e fallose dello muy bien. E porque don Juan entendio que esta era
buen exemplo, fizolo escrivir en este libro, y fizo estos versos, que
dizen assi:

    Si algun bien fizieres, que chico asaz fuere,
    Fazlo granado, que el bien nunca muere.

[42] Thus in the first stories the old word _ome_ stands for _hombre_;
but in those towards the end of the collection it is changed to

[43] Argote y Molina enumerates the prose works of this prince in the
before-mentioned biography. He notices the poems in an appendix to
his edition of _El Conde Lucanor_, entitled _Discurso sobre la poesia
Española_. Though the appendix occupies only a few pages, it contains
many interesting observations.

[44] The following romance, which is inserted without interpunctuation,
as it appears in the original, may serve for a specimen of those to
which the name of Don Juan Manuel is attached. It is certainly not the
worst of its kind; and must have found its way by some lucky accident
into the _Cancionero general_, which contains scarcely any narrative
romances. It is also found in another _Cancionero de Romances_, under
the title of _Romance de Don Juan Manuel_.

    Gritando va el cavallero
    publicando su gran mal
    vestidas ropas de luto
    aforrados en sayal
    por los montes sin camino
    con dolor y sospirar
    llorando a pie descalço
    jurando de no tornar
    adonde viesse mugeres
    por nunca se consolar
    con otro nuevo cuydado
    que le hiziesse olividar
    la memoria de sua amiga
    que murio sin la gozar
    va buscar las tierras solas
    para en ellas habitar
    en una montaña espesa
    no cercana de lugar
    hizo casa de tristura
    qu’es dolor de la nombrar
    d’una madera amarilla
    que llaman desesperar
    paredes de canto negro
    y tambien negra la cal
    las tejas puso leonadas
    sobre tablas de besar
    el suelo hizo de plomo
    porque es pardillo metal
    las puertas chapadas dello
    por su trabajo mostrar
    y sembro por cima el suelo
    secas hojas deparral
    cado no se esperan bienes
    esperança no ha destar
    en aquesta casa escura
    que hizo para penar
    haze mas estrecha vida
    que los frayles del paular
    que duermen sobre sarmientos
    y aquellos son su maniar
    lo que llora es lo que beve
    aquello torna a llorar
    no mas d’una vez al dia
    por mas se debilitar
    del color de la madera
    mando una pared pintar
    un dosel de blanca seda
    en ella mando parar
    y de muy blanco alabastro
    hizo labrar un altar
    con canfora betumado
    de raso blanco el frontal
    puso el bulto de su amiga
    en el para le adorar
    el cuerpo de plata fina
    el rostro era de cristal
    un brial vestido blanco
    de damasco singular
    mongil de blanco brocado
    forrado en blanco cendal
    sembrado de lunas llenas
    señal de casta final
    en la cabeça le puso
    una corona real
    guarnecida de castañas
    cogidas del castañal
    lo que dize la castaña
    es cosa muy de notar
    las cinco letras primeras
    el nombre de la sin par
    murio de veynte y dos años
    por mas lastima dexar
    la su gentil hermosura
    quien quel sepa loar
    qu’es mayor que la tristura
    del que la mando pintar
    en lo qu’ el passa su vida
    es en la siempre mirar
    cerro la puerta al plazer
    abrio la puerta al pesar
    abrio la para quedarse
    pero no para tornar.

All the songs attributed to Don Juan Manuel in the _Cancionera_ have a
form and structure, which render it probable that they belong to the
age in which _El Conde Lucanor_ was written; one, for example, begins

    Quien por bien servir alcanza
    Vivir triste y desamado,
    Este tal
    Deve tener confianza,
    Que le traera este cuydado
    A mayor mal.

Another which belongs to the class, called _Villancios_ possesses more
poetical merit. It commences thus:--

    Muerto es ya, muerto, Señora,
    El triste que en ley de Amor
    Era vuestro servitor.
        La muerte pudo matalle,
    Pues le distes ocasion,
    Pero no pudo quitalle
    De teneros aficion.
    O pena sin redemcion,
    Que pena el triste amador
    En los infiernos de Amor.

[45] Sarmiento only briefly notices this arch-priest, and Nicolas
Antonio has entirely overlooked him. But Velasquez pays particular
attention to him, and gives a long extract from his work.

[46] As a specimen by which justice will be done the author, it
is sufficient to quote the following passage, which is printed by
Velasquez. Don Amor says:--

    Entrada de quaresma viume para Toledo;
    Cuidé estar vicioso, plasentero e ledo.
    Fallé y gran santiadad, e fisome estar quedo.
    Pocos me recibieron, niu me ficieron del dedo.
    Estaba en un palacio pintado de Almagra.
    Vino a me mucho Dueña de mucho aguno magra
    Con muchos paternostres e con oracion agra, &c.

[47] The celebrated letter of the Marquis de Santillana, which must
be more particularly noticed hereafter, contributes its part in
illustrating the history of this period. Much however is not to be
learned from the letter itself. The commentary on it by Sanchez, in
the first volume of the before-mentioned _Coleccion_, is far more

[48] Whoever wishes to become acquainted with the controversies on the
early literature of knight-errantry, should resort to Nicolas Antonio,
and compare what he says with Eichhorn’s learned view of the subject,
including the necessary references, in his Allg. Gesch. der Cult. u.
Litt. Theil I. p. 136, &c. Nunez de Liaõ, in his _Origem de Lingoa
Portugueza_, also mentions Lobeira as the author of _Amadis de Gaul_.

[49] The merit of the Amadis was not overlooked by Cervantes. In the
judgment passed on Don Quixote’s library, the Curate wishes to condemn
this work first of all to the flames, because, being the parent of all
the books of knight-errantry in Spain, it was therefore the great cause
of Don Quixote’s malady; but the Barber, or rather Cervantes, speaking
in that character, says, “No, friend; for I have heard it remarked
that the Amadis is the _best book_ of the kind ever written; it ought
therefore to be spared as a _peculiar specimen_ of art.” Whoever may
be desirous of making the Amadis re-appear in a state capable of being
relished in the present times, must, above all things, take care to
preserve the ingenuous simplicity of the stile, or the work will be
wholly disfigured.

[50] The titles of all the collections of romances need not be given
here. A considerable part of them may be found in Velasquez, with
additions by Dieze, (p. 442, &c.) and Blankenburg’s Zusätzen zu
Sulzer’s Wörterbuche. I have before me several collections, which
contain some of the oldest romances I am acquainted with. The best of
these collections is entitled: _Cancionero de Romances, en que estan
recopilados la mayor parte de los Romances Castellanos, que hasta agora
se han compuesto._ Nuevamento corregido _y añadido en muchos partes.
Anvers_ 1555, 8vo. In the well known _Romancero general_ none of the
pieces which derive their materials from knight-errantry romances are
to be found.

[51] The following romance, derived from that work, gives an artless
description of the sufferings of Amadis on the barren rock.

    En la selva esta Amadis
    el _leal enamorado_
    tal vida estava haziendo
    qual nunca hizo Christiano
    cilicio trae vestido
    a sus carnes apretado
    con diciplinas destruye
    su cuerpo muy delicado
    llagado de las heridas
    y en su señora pensando
    no ce canoce en su gesto
    segun lo trae delgado
    de ayunos y d’abstinencias
    andava debilitado
    la barva trae crecida
    deste mundo se ha apartado
    las rodillas tiene en tierra
    y en su coraçon echado
    con gran humildad os pide
    perdon si avia errado
    al alto dios poderoso
    por testigo ha publicado
    y acordado se le avia
    del amor suyo passado
    que assi le derribo
    de su sentido y estado
    con estas grandes passiones
    amortecido ha quedado
    el mas leal amador
    que en el mundo fue hallado.

[52] According to Sarmiento (p. 228,) it is usual to say, _Este no vale
las coplas de Calainos_. But it is not therefore to be inferred, that
the ancient romance of that name is the worst of the kind.

[53] It will be sufficient to cite, in support of this opinion, the
romance of the _Conde Alarcos_, which is, besides, distinguished from
most of the other romances by greater richness of composition. It opens
in a very simple manner with a description of the sorrow of the Infante
Solesa, who, after being secretly betrothed to Count Alarcos, has been
abandoned by him.

      Retraida està la Infanta
      Bien assi como salia,
      Viviendo muy descontenta
      De la vida que tenia,
      Vienda ya que se pasava
      Toda la flor de su vida.

    The fair Infanta midst the court
    A look of sorrow wears,
    Told by an aching heart how she
    Is doom’d to pass her years;
    For far from her is ever flown
    The early bloom of life----

At length, after Count Alarcos has been long married, the forsaken
princess discloses her seduction to her father. This scene is strongly
painted, but not overcharged: the king is transported by rage and
indignation; his honour appears to him so wounded, that nothing but
the death of the Countess can be a sufficient satisfaction. He has an
interview with the Count, addresses him courteously, represents the
case to him with chivalrous dignity as a point of justice and honour,
and concludes by categorically demanding the death of his lady. Thus
the developement of the story commences in a manner, which, though most
singular, is perhaps not unnatural, when the ideas of the age to which
the composition belongs are considered. The Count conceives himself
bound as a man of honour to give the king the satisfaction he desires.
He promises to comply with his demand, and proceeds on his way home.
There is a touching simplicity in the picture which is here drawn.

      Llorando se parte el Conde,
      Llorando, sin alegria,
      Llorando a la Condessa,
      Que mas que a sì la queria.
      Lloraba tambien el Conde
      Por tres hijos que tenia,
      El una era de teta,
      Que la Condessa lo cria,
      Que no queria mamar
      De tres amas, que tenia,
      Sino era de su madre.

    Weeping he homeward wends his way,
    His grief nought can remove,
    Because his tears are shed for her
    He more than life doth love.
    He weepeth too for his three sons,
    In youth and beauty dear;
    The youngest boy a suckling still,
    The Countess’ self doth rear.
    For, save his mother, none he lov’d,
    Though he had nurses three,
    Nor by the milk of other breasts
    Would alimented be.

The pathetic interest now rises gradually to the highest pitch of
tragic horror. The Countess, who receives her husband with the wonted
marks of affection, in vain enquires the cause of his melancholy. He
sits down to supper with his family, and again we have a situation
painted with genuine feeling, though with little art.

      Sentose el Conde a la mesa,
      No cenava, ni podia,
      Con sus hijos al costado,
      Que muy mucho los queria.
      Echo se sobre los hombros,
      Hizo, como se dormia,
      De lagrimas de sus ojos
      Toda la mesa cubria.

    The board is laid, he takes his place,
    Where viands tempt in vain,
    For near him his lov’d children are,
    Now lov’d, alas! with pain.
    In seeming sleep with head reclin’d,
    He tries to hide his woe;
    But from his eyes the big tears roll,
    And o’er the table flow.

The apparent fatigue of the Count induces the Countess to accompany him
to his apartment. When they enter, the Count fastens the door, relates
what has passed, and desires his lady to prepare for death.

      De morir aveis, Condessa,
      Antes que amenesca el dia.

    O Countess, thou art doom’d to die,
    Before the morning’s dawn.

She begs him to spare her only for her children’s sake. The Count
desires her to embrace for the last time the youngest, whom she has
brought with her into the room asleep in her arms.

      Abrazad este chiquito,
      Que aquesto es el que os perdia.
      Peso me de vos, Condessa,
      Quanta pesar me podia.

    Give to that babe one parting kiss,
    That babe for whom thou’rt lost;
    Beshrew me--but I pity thee--
    I who need pity most.

She submits to her hard fate, and only asks for time to say an _ave
maria_. The Count desires her to be quick. She falls on her knees, and
pours forth a brief but fervent prayer; she then requests a few moments
more delay, that she may once more give suck to her infant son. What
modern poet would have thought of introducing so exquisite a touch of
nature? The Count forbids her to wake the child. The unfortunate lady
forgives her husband, but predicts that, within thirty days, the king
and his daughter will be summoned before the tribunal of the Almighty.
The Count strangles her.

    Echole por la garganta
    Una toca que tenia,
    Apreto con los dos manos,
    Con la fuerza que podia.
    No le afloxo la garganta,
    Mentre que vida tenia.

In the conclusion, the fulfilment of the unfortunate Countess’s
prophecy is briefly related. On the twelfth day the princess died, on
the twentieth the king, and on the thirtieth the Count himself expired.

[54] Those in the _Cancionero de Romances_ are of this kind. (See the
remark, p. 35.)

[55] Sarmiento counted one hundred and two romances relative to
the Cid, in one collection. Only some of them are inserted in the
_Romancero general_, interspersed among others.

[56] In the following romance, for instance, the assonance is very
skilfully managed.

    Fizo hazer al Rey Alfonso
    el Cid un solene juro,
    delante de muchos Grandes,
    que se hallaron en Burgos.
    Mandò que con el viniessen
    doze cavalleros juntos,
    para que con el jurassen,
    cada qual uno por uno.
    Por la muerte de su Rey,
    que le mataron seguro,
    en el cerco de Zamora,
    a traycion junto del muro.
    Y quando en el templo santo
    estuvieron todos juntos
    levantose de su escaño,
    y el Cid aquesto propuso.
    Por aquesta santa casa
    donde estamos en de ayuso,
    que fabledes la verdad,
    de aquesto que aqui os pregunto.
    Si fuystes vos Rey la causa,
    o de los vuestros alguno,
    en la muerte de don Sancho
    tengays la muerto que tuvo!
    Todos responden Amen,
    mas el Rey quedò confuso,
    pero por cumplir el voto,
    respondio, la mismo juro.
    Y con la rodilla en tierra
    por fazer su cortes uso,
    el Cid delante del Rey,
    assi le fablò sañudo.
    Si ayer no os besa la mano,
    sabed Rey que non me plugo,
    y si aora os la besare
    será de mí grado, y gusto.
    Aquesto que aqui he fablado
    no ha fecho agravio a ninguno,
    porque lo devo a don Sancho
    como buen vassallo suyo.
    Pero sino lo fiziera
    que dara yo por injusto,
    y no por buen cavallero,
    me tuvieran en el mundo.
    Y si ha parecido mal
    a los de vuesso consulto,
    en el campo los aguardo,
    con mi espada, y lança en puño.

[57] Of this kind is the following romance, in which the Cid takes
leave of Ximena. It is obviously one of the more modern.

    Al arma, al arma sonavan
    los pifaros y atambores,
    guerra, fuego, sangre dizen
    sus espantosos clamores:
    el Cid apresta su gente,
    todos se ponen en orden
    quando llorosa y humilde,
    le dize Ximena Gomez:
        Rey de mi alma, y desta tierra Conde,
        porque me dexas? donde vas, a donde?

    Que sì eres marte en la guerra,
    eres Apolo en la Corte,
    donde matas bellas damas,
    como alla Moros feroces.
    Ante tus ojos se postran,
    y de rodillas se ponen
    los Reyes Moros, y hijas,
    de Reyes Christianos nobles,
        Rey de mi alma, &c.

    Ya truecan todos los guerras,
    por luzidos morriones,
    por arneses de Milan,
    los blandos pechos de Londres,
    las calças por duras grevas,
    por mallas guantas de flores:
    mas nos otros trocaremos
    las almas y coraçones.
        Rey de mi alma, &c.

    Viendo las duras querellas,
    de su querida consorte,
    no puede sufrir el Cid,
    que no la consuele y llore.
    Enxugad señora, dize,
    los ojos hasta que torne:
    ella mirando los suyos,
    supena publica a vozes.
        Rey de mi alma, &c.

[58] A zealous orthodox author speaks with much warmth on this subject
in a romance which commences, “Tanta Zayda, y Adalifa.” Among other
things he says:

    Renegaron a su ley
    Los romancistes de España,
    Y ofrecieron a Mahoma
    Los primicios de sus gracias.


    Cabelleros Granadinos,
    Aunque moros, hijos d’álgo.


    Las huestes de don Rodrigo
    desmayavan y huyan,
    quando en la octava batalla
    sus enemigos vencian,
    Rodrigo dexa sus tierras
    y del real se salia,
    solo va el desventurado
    que non lleva compañia
    el cavallo de cansado
    ya mudar no se podia,
    camina por donde quiere
    que no le estorva la via
    el rey va tan desmayado
    que sentido no tenía,
    muerto va de sed y hambre
    que de vella era manzilla
    yva tan tinto de sangre
    que una brasa parecia
    las armas lleva abolladas
    que eran de gran pedreria,
    la espada lleva hecha sierra
    de los golpos que tenia.
    el almete de abollado
    en la cabeça se hundia
    la cara llevava hinchada
    del trabajo que sufria,
    subiose encima de un cerro
    al mas alto que veya,
    dende alli mira su gente
    como yva de vencida
    d’alli mira sus vanderas
    y estandartes que tenia,
    como estan todos pisados
    que la tierra los cubria,
    mira por los capitanes
    que ninguno parescia,
    mira el campo tinto en sangre
    la qual arroyos corria
    el triste de ver aquesto
    gran manzilla en si tenia
    llorando de los sus ojos
    desta manera dezia,
    Ayer era Rey d’España
    oy no lo soy de una villa,
    ayer villas y castillos
    oy ninguno posseya,
    ayer tenia criados
    y gente que me servia
    oy no tengo una almena
    que pueda dezir que es mia,
    desdichada fue la hora
    desdichado fue aquel dia
    en que naci y herede
    la tan grande señoria
    pues lo avia de perder
    todo junto y en un dia
    o muerte porque no vienes
    y llevas esta alma mia
    de aqueste cuerpo mezquino
    pues se te agradeceria?

[61] This is one of the best pieces of the kind.

    Vitorioso buelve el Cid
    a san Pedro de Cardeña,
    de las guerras que ha tenido
    con los Moros de Valencia.
    Las trompetas van sonando,
    por dar aviso que llega,
    y entre todos se señalan
    los relinchos de Babieca.
    El Abad, y monjes salen
    a recebirlo a la puerta,
    dando alabanças a Dios,
    y al Cid mil enorabuenas.
    Apeose del calvallo,
    y antes de entrar en la Iglesia,
    tomò el pendon en sus manos,
    y dize desta manera.
    Sali de ti templo santo
    desterrado de mi tierra,
    mas ya buelvo a visitarte
    acogido en las agenas.
    Desterrome el Rey Alphonso,
    porque alla en Santagadea
    le tomè el juramento
    con mas rigor que el quisiera.
    Las leyes eran del pueblo,
    que no excedi un punto dellas,
    pues como leal vassallo
    saquè a mi rey desospecha.
    O embidiosos Castellanos,
    quan mal pagays la defensa
    que tuvistes en mi espada,
    ensanchando vuestra cerca.
    Veys aqui os traygo ganado
    otro reyno, y mil fronteras,
    que os quiero dar tierras mias
    aunque me echeys de las vuestras.
    Pudiera dezirlo a estraños,
    mas para cosas tan feas
    soy Rodrigo de Bivar
    Castellano a las derechas.

The concluding line:--_Castellano a las derechas_, (the Castilian as
he ought to be) is a description of the Cid, which was well adapted
to produce an impression on the hearts of the people to whom it was

[62] The following is the commencement of this romance:--

    De los trofeos de amor
    ya coronadas sus sienes,
    muy gallardo entra Ganzul
    a jugar cañas a Gelves,
    en un hovero furioso,
    que al ayre en su curso excede,
    y en su pujança y rigor
    un leve freno detiene.
    La librea de los pajes
    es roxa, morada, y verde,
    divisa cierta y colores
    de la que en su alma tiene:
    todos con lanças leonadas
    en corredores ginetes,
    adornados de penachos,
    y de costosos jaezes:
    el mismo se trae la adarga,
    en quien un fenix parece,
    que en vivas llamas se abrasa,
    y en ceniza se resuelve;
    la letra si bien me acuerdo,
    dize: Es inconveniente
    poderse dissimular
    el fuego que amor enciende, &c.


    El que poblò las masmorras
    De Christianos Caballeros.

[64] The subjoined passage forms the latter part of this romance.

    La hermosissima Balaja,
    que llorosa en su aposento
    las sinrazones del Rey
    le pagavan sus cabellos
    como tanto estruendo oyò
    a un valcon salio corriendo,
    y enmudecida le dixo,
    dando vozes con silencio:
    Vete en paz, que no vas solo,
    y en mi ausencia ten consuelo,
    que quien te echò de Xerez,
    vno te echara de mi pecho:
    El con la vista responde,
    yo me voy, y no te dexo.
    De las agravios de Rey
    para tu firmeza a pelo,
    Con esto passò la calle,
    los ojos atras bolviendo
    dos mil vezes: y de Andujar
    tomò el camino derecho.

[65] Such, for example, is the following ludicrous description of
Hector’s funeral.

    En las obsequias de Hector
    esta la reyna Troyana
    con la linda Policena
    y con otras muchas damas
    tambien estavan los Griegos
    sino Achiles que faltava
    que fue a la postre de todos
    y en el tempo se assentava
    frontero la reyna Elena
    que por Hector lamentava
    mirando su hermosura
    con gran cuydado pensava
    si Menelao no fuera
    rey Griego la conquistara
    para casarse con ella
    segun era muy loçana
    y assí triste y pensativo
    no podia echar la habla
    quando miro a Policena
    en la coraçon le pesara, &c.


    Con ravia esta el rey David
    rasgando su coraçon
    sabiendo que alli en la lid
    le mataron a Absalon
    cubriose la su cabeça
    y subiose a un mirador
    con lagrimas de sus ojos
    sus canas regadas son
    hablando de la su boca
    dize esta lamentacion
    _o fili mi fili mi
    o fili mi Absalon_
    que es de la tu hermosura
    tu estremada perficion
    los tus cabellos dorados
    parecian rayos de sol
    tus ojos lindos azules
    que jacinta de Sion
    o manos que tal hizieron
    enemigos de razon, &c.

Any person who in those times was capable of making redondilla verses,
must have found it very easy to produce such romances as this.

[67] _No vale las coplas de la Sarabanda_, is a proverb of precisely
the same signification as--_No vale las coplas de Calainos_, according
to Sarmiento. See the remark, page 55. The two proverbs have probably
been confounded, for the romance of Calainos is not in coplas.

[68] The following is one of those pieces which may be regarded as

    Rosafresca Rosafresca
    tan garrida y con amor
    quando y’os tuve en mis braços
    no os sabia servir no
    y agora que os servira
    no os puedo yo averno.
    Vuestra fue la culpa amigo
    vuestra fue que mia no
    embiastes me una carta
    con un vuestro servidor
    y en lugar de recaudar
    el dixera otra razon
    qu’erades casado amigo
    alla en tierras de Leon
    que teneys muger hermosa
    y hijos como una flor.
    Quien os lo dixo señora
    no os dixera verdad no
    que yo nunca entre en Castilla
    ni alla en tierras de Leon
    sino quando era pequeño
    que no sabio de amor.

A piece, which is a companion to the above, commences thus:

    Frontefrida, Frontefrida,
    Frontefrida, y con amor,
    Do todas las avecicas
    Van tomar consolacion, &c.

The fiction on which this second song is founded must, notwithstanding
its native beauty, appear a very absurd fancy to the naturalist, as it
describes a nightingale wooing a turtle dove.

[69] “Fizo _assaz buenas_ canciones,” says the Marquis of Santillana,
in his antiquated Spanish, speaking of his grandfather. The remaining
notices which he gives of the origin of Spanish poetry communicate
nothing, in addition to what has been already mentioned, on those
things respecting which it is most desirable to be informed.

[70] See Velasquez, according to Dieze, page 302.

[71] See Sarmiento, page 345.

[72] See the observations of Sarmiento, page 352.

[73] An extract made from this treatise of the Marquis of Villena by
Gregorio Mayans, may be found in the _Origines de la lengua Española_,
tom. ii. pag. 321. The whole work probably exists in manuscript in
Spanish libraries.

[74] Tanto es el provecho, que viene desta dotrina a la vida civil,
quitando ocio y ocupando los generosos ingenios en tan honesta
investigacion, que las otras naciones desearon y procuraron haver
entre si escuela desta dotrina, y por esso fue ampliada por el mundo
en diversas partes.--The measure of this sonorous period will not be

[75] Temporum iniquitate sublimi virtute superata, honorem vitæ ac
bonum nomen fallacibus delinimentis omnibus, quæ magnam quamque
fortunam velut pedissequi comitantur, præferebat, says, in allusion to
him, Nicolas Antonio, who at the same time refers to the Chronicles,
from which he had drawn his information respecting the Marquis of

[76] This elegy is inserted along with other poems by the Marquis in
all the editions of the _Cancionero general_, immediately after the
spiritual poems. No complete collection of the works of this celebrated
man has yet been printed.

[77] That the Marquis had read Dante can scarcely be doubted, for he
quotes him in this poem:--

    Assi conseguimos de aquella manera,
    Hasta que llegamos en somo del monte,
    No menos cansados que Dante Acheronte.

[78] Thus the two following stanzas are crowded with the names of
authors, ancient and modern, with the view of shewing the loss which
Spanish literature had sustained by the death of Villena.

        Perdimos a _Homero_ que mucho honorana
    este sacro monte do nos habitamos
    perdimos a _Ovidio_ el que coronamos
    del arbol laureo que muchos amava
    Perdimos _Horacio_ que nos invocava
    en todos exordios de su poesia
    assi disminuye la nuestra valia
    que antiguos tiempos tanto prosperava.
        Perdimos a _Livio_ y a Mantuano
    _Macrobio_, _Valerio_, _Salustio_, _Magneo_
    pues no olvidemos al moral _Agneo_
    de quien se loava el pueblo Romano
    Perdimos a _Julio_ y a _Casaliano_
    _Alano_, _Boecio_, _Petrarcha_, _Fulgencio_
    Perdimos a _Dante_, _Gaufre_, _Terencio_
    _Juvenal_, _Estacio_, y _Quintiliano_.

[79] Stanzas, like the following, deserve to be extracted from this
work, as they are calculated to shew what might have been expected of
the Marquis of Santillana, had he cultivated his talent for poetry
under more favourable circumstances.

        Mas yo a ti sola me plaze llamar,
    o cithara dulce, mas que la d’Orfeo;
    que tu sola ayuda, no dudo, mas creo
    mi rustica mano podra ministrar.
    O Biblioteca de mortal cantar,
    fuente meliflua de magna eloquencia,
    infunde tu grande y sacra prudencia
    en mi, porque yo pueda tu planto esplicar.
        A tiempo a la hora suso memorado,
    assi como niño que sacan de cuna,
    no se falsamente, o si por fortuna,
    me vi todo solo al pie de un collado,
    Salvatico espesso lexano a poblado
    agreste desierto y tan espantable,
    que temo verguenza, no siendo culpable,
    quando por extenso lo aure recontado.
        No vi la carrera de gentes cursada,
    ni rastro exercido por do me guiasse,
    ni persona alguna a quien demandasse
    consejo a mi cuyta tan desmesurada;
    Mas sola una senda poco visitada
    al medio de aquella tan gran espessura,
    bien como adarmento subiente a l’altura
    de rayo Dianeo me fue demostrada.

[80] Don Alvaro de Luna begins to speak in the first stanzas:--

        Vi tesoros ayuntados
    por gran daño de su dueño.
    Assi como sombra o sueño
    son nuestros dias contados:--
    Y si fueron prorogados
    por sus lagrimas algunos
    desto no vemos ningunos
    por nuestros negros pecados.
        Abrid abrid vuestros ojos,
    gentios, mirad a mi,
    quanto vistes, quanto vi,
    fantasmas fueron y antojos.
    Con trabajos con enojos
    usurpe tal señoria,
    que si fue no era mia
    mas endevidos despojos.
        Casa, casa, guay de mi!
    campo a campo alleguè
    casa agena no dexè,
    tanto quise quanto vi.
    Agora pues ved aqui,
    quanto valen mis riquezas
    tierras villas fortalezas
    tras quien mi tiempo perdi.

[81] There is a singular pedantry, with a happy turn of versification,
in a song which commences thus:--

        Antes el rodante cielo
    tornara manso y quieto,
    y sera piadoso _Aleto_,
    y pavoroso _Metello_.
    Que yo jamas olvidasse
    tu virtud,
    vida mia y mi salud,
    ni te dexasse.
        _Cesar_ afortunado
    cessara de combatir,
    y harian desdezir
    al _Priamides_ armado--
    Quando yo te dexarè,
    ydola mia,
    ni la tu philosomia
    olvidarè; &c.

[82] It commences thus:

        Gozate, gozosa, madre,
    gozo de la humanidad,
    templo de la Trinidad,
    elegida por dios padre,
    Virgen que por el oydo
    _gaude_, virgen, _mater Christi_,
    y nuestro gozo infinido!
        Gozate, luz reverida,
    segun el Evangelista
    por la madre del Baptista
    anunciado la venida,
    de nuestro gozo Señora
    que trayas
    vaso de nuestro mexias
    gozate pulchra y decora, &c.

In this way the _Gozate_ is repeated through a series of stanzas.

[83] Dieze, in his remarks on Velasquez, erroneously refers to the
publication of Gregorio Mayans, for the proverbs in verse; but only
the original proverbs, without versification, (refranes que dicen las
viejas tras el huego) as collected by the Marquis, are given in the
second volume of that work, p. 179. The greater part deserve to be
better known, but many of them are unintelligible to foreigners.

[84] See the note, page 24.

[85] E que cosa es la poesia, que _en nuestra vulgar_ (there is
something equivocal here, for this term was not vernacular in the
Castilian language) llamamos gaya sciencia, sino un fingimiento
de cosas utiles, è veladas con muy fermosa cobertura, compuestas,
distinguidas, escondidas, por certo cuento, peso, è medida.

[86] He appeals to St. Isidore, whom he cites as a guarantee for this
origin of poetry:--Isidro Cartaginès, santo Arzobispo Hispalense, assi
lo pruebra y testifica, e quiere, que el primero que fizo rythmos y
cantó en metro hay sido Moysen, y despues Joshue, David, Salomon, y Job.

[87] _Honestæ conditionis_, says Nicolas Antonio, speaking of his

[88] Only the supplement to this poem is contained in the _Cancionero
general_. The poem itself was probably too long to be included in that
collection. However, in the editions of the collected works of Mena
(for instance, that which I have now before me, intitled--_Todas las
obras del famosissimo poeta Juan de Mena, &c._ Anveres, 1552, 8º)
which Dieze notices, it fills the greater portion of the volume, and is
accompanied by a copious commentary by Fernan Nuñez.

[89] The emphatic praise bestowed on this poem in Dieze’s observations
on Velasquez, (page 168), according to which Juan de Mena “maintains
_to his advantage_ a comparison with all the poets of all ages,” is
sufficient to prove Dieze’s deficiency in sound criticism.

[90] The second stanza contains the theme, but it is very imperfectly

    Tus casos fallaces, Fortuna, cantamos
    Estados de gentes que giras y trocas,
    Tus muchas mudanzas, tus firmezas pocas,
    Y las que en tu rueda quexosos hallamos.

[91] Mena, politely enough, solicits permission of Fortune to read her
a lesson:

    Dame licencia, mudable Fortuna,
    Porque yo blasme de ti lo que devo.

Then, in well turned antitheses, he allows her a sort of regularity
which contradicts itself:--

    Que tu firmeza es, no ser constante,
    Tu temperamento es destemplanza,
    Tu mas cierto orden es desordenanza, &c.

[92] Providence appears as a most beautiful young woman:--

    Una donzella tan mucho hermosa,
    Que ante su gesto es loco quien osa
    Otras beldades loar de mayores.

[93] In the fourth stanza a patriotic flight seems to promise the
recurrence of similar passages:

    Como que creo, que fossen menores,
    Que los Africanos, los hechos del Cid?
    Ni que feroces menos en la lid
    Entrassen los nuestros que los Agenores? &c.

On another occasion the author addresses an invocation to his native
city Cordova:

    O flor de saber y cabelleria,
    Cordova madre, tu hijo perdona,
    Si en los cantares, que agora pregona,
    No divulgarè tu sabiduria, &c.

[94] From the following stanzas the degree of talent possessed by
Juan de Mena for the poetical description of natural objects, without
allegory, may be fairly estimated.

        Bien como medico mucho famoso
    Que trae el estilo por mano seguido
    En cuerpo de golpes diversos herido
    Luego socorre alo mas peligroso,
    Assi aquel pueblo maldito sañoso
    Sintiendo mas daño de parte del Conde
    Con todas sus fuerças juntando responde
    Alli do el peligro mas era dañoso.

        Alli disparavan bombardas y truenos
    Y los trabucos tiravan ya luego
    Piedras y dardos y hachas de fuego
    Con que los nuestros hazian ser menos.
    de Moros tenidos por buenos
    Lançan temblando las sus azagayas,
    Passan las lindes palenques y rayas,
    Doblan sus fuerças con miedos agenos.

        Mientra morian y mientra matavan
    De parte del agua ya crecen las ondas
    Y cobran las mares sobervias y hondas
    Los campos que ante los muros estavan,
    Tanto que los que de alli peleavan
    A los navios si se retrayan,
    Las aguas crescidas les ya defendian
    Tornar a las fustas que dentro dexavan.

[95] When the poet, in his ideal world, sees Don Alvaro, by a singular
fancy he pretends not to know him, in order that he may question his
guide (Providence) respecting him, in imitation of a similar passage in

    Tu, Providencia, declara de nuevo,
    Quien es aquel Caballero, que veo,
    Que mucho en el cuerpo parece a Tydeo,
    E en consejo a Nestor el longevo.

Among other things Providence replies:--

    Este cavalga sobre la Fortuna
    Y doma su cuello con asperas riendas,
    Y aunque del tenga tan muchas deprendas,
    Ella no le osa tocar de ninguna.
    Miralo, miralo en platica alguna,
    Con humildes, no tanto feroces!
    Como, indiscreto, y tu no conoces
    Al Condojos estable Alvaro de Luna?

[96] For instance, the word _longevo_ in the verses quoted above.

[97] The opening stanzas may be regarded as a poetic preface or
dedication; but they gain nothing by that.

    _Al muy prepotente_ Don Juan el Segundo,
    Aquel, _con quien Jupiter tuvo tal zelo,
    Que tanta de parte le haze del mundo,
    Quanta a si misme se haze en el cielo_;
    Al gran d’España, al _Cesar novelo_,
    Al que es con fortuna bien afortunado
    Aquel, con quien cabe virtud y reynado,
    A el _las rodillas hincadas por suelo_.

[98] This poem is not to be found in the _Cancionero general_, but
it is included in the _Obras_, mentioned in the note, page 92. Juan
de Mena gave it the absurd title of _Calamicleos_, compounded from
the latin _calamitas_ and the Greek κλεος. It was afterwards
called, simply, _La Coronacion_.

[99] Most of these questions were not very difficult to answer; for
instance, the following, which is preceded by three introductory
stanzas in a very courtly style:--

        Mostradme qual es aquel animal,
    que luego se mueve en los quatro pies,
    despues se sostiene en solos los tres,
    despues en los dos va muy mas ygual.
    Sin ser del especie quadrupedal
    el curso que hizo despues reytera
    assi que en los quatro d’aquesta manera
    fenece el que nace de su natural.
        Del hombre se halla ser gran enemigo,
    porque lo hiere do nunca sospecha,
    y donde mas plaze menos aprovecha
    tanta ponçoña derrama consigo.
    Dad vos Señor pues un tal castigo,
    o de virtudes tal arma que vista,
    porque alomenos punando resista
    contra quien tiene tal guerra comigo.

[100] The poem commences thus:--

    Canta tu, Christiana musa,
    _La mas que civil batalla_,
    Que entre voluntad se halla
    Y Razon, que nos accusa.

[101] Nicolas Antonio, whom Dieze follows in his remarks on Velasquez,
is the authority for these notices.

[102] In the beginning of the sixteenth century, Spanish books were
printed in Seville by German printers. At the end of an edition,
probably the first, of the proverbs collected by the Marquis of
Santillana, (see page 88,) are the following words, which Mayans y
Siscar has reprinted:--Aqui se acaben los refranes--imprimidos en la
muy noble y leal civdad de Sevilla por Jacobo Comberger, Aleman, año

[103] On this subject Nicolas Antonio’s Bib. Hisp. vet. lib. x. cap. 6.
may be compared with Velasquez and Dieze, page 165.

[104] To this number they amount in the old folio edition, printed with
gothic characters, which forms one of the literary curiosities of the
library of Gottingen. Dieze, in his observations on Velasquez, page
177, gives a particular account of this, as well as of the succeeding
editions of the _Cancionero general_.

[105] With this spiritual composition, the _Cancionero general_
commences. The reader will have enough in the first stanza:--

    Enantes, que culpa fuesso cansada,
    Tu, Virgen benigna, ya yves delante,
    Tan lexos del crimen y del semejante,
    Que sola quedaste daquel libertada, &c.

[106] This silly conceit, which consists only of eight lines, commences

    La M madre te muestra,
    La A te manda adorar, &c.

[107] The _Ave_ begins thus:--

    Ave, preciosa Maria,
    Que se deve interpretar
    Trasmontana de la mar,
    Que los mareantes guia.

[108] In the third strophe he thus addresses king Ferdinand:--

    Gran señor, los, que creyeron
    Estas consejeros tales,
    De sus culmines reales
    En lo mas hondo cayeron.
    Si esto contradiran
    Algunos con ambicion,
    Testigos se les daran.
    Uno sera _Roboan_,
    Hijo del rey Solomon.

[109] A new edition of Jorge Manrique’s Coplas, with glosses or poetic
paraphrases by various authors, appeared at Madrid in 1779.

The following are the two first strophes, and the rhythmic structure of
the rest is not less beautiful.

        Recuerde el alma dormida,
    avive el seso y despierte
    come se pasa la vida,
    come se viene la muerte
    tan callando:
    quan presto se va el placer,
    como despues de acordado
    da dolor,
    como a nuestro parescer
    qualquiera tiempo pasado
    fue mejor.
        Pues que vemos lo presente
    quan en un punto se es ido
    y acabado,
    si juzgamos sabiamente,
    daremos lo no venido
    por pasado
    No se engañe nadie, no,
    pensando que ha de durar
    lo que espera,
    mas que duro lo que viò
    pues que todo ha de pasar
    por tal manera.

[110] For instance, the following passage from a song by Juan de Mena:--

    Ya _dolor_ del _dolorido_,
    Que con _olvido_ cuydado,
    Pues que antes _olvidado_
    Me veo, que _fallecido_.
    Ya _fallece_ mi sentido &c.


    _Cuydar_ me hace _cuydado_
    Lo que _cuydar_ no devria,
    Y _cuydando_ en lo passado
    Por mi no passa alegria.

Such plays of words are to be found throughout the whole _Cancionero_.

[111] The commencement of one of his songs, the two first strophes of
which are subjoined, is exceedingly beautiful; but in the sequel the
lyric spark is extinguished by pedantry.

        Muy mas clara que la luna
    sola una
    en el mundo vos nacistes,
    tan gentil, que no vecistes
    ni tuvistes
    competidora ninguna,
    Desde niñez en la cuna
    cobrastes fama, beldad,
    con tanta graciosidad,
    que vos doto la fortuna.
        Que assi vos organizo
    y formò
    la composicion humana,
    que vos soys la mas loçana,
    que la natura criò.
    Quien sino vos mereciò
    de virtudes ser monarcha?
    Quanto bien dixo Petrarcha,
    por vos lo profetizo.

It would be absurd to attempt the translation of many of the specimens
which are necessary to the illustration of this work; and with respect
to these lines the tender breathing of the poetry would be entirely
lost in a literal version.

[112] Reason, like a talkative person, commences the dialogue, and has
also the last word; she thus addresses her opponent:--

        Pensamiento, pues mostrays
    en vos misma claro el daño,
    pregunt’os, que me digays
    camino de tanto engaño,
    do venis o donde vays
    a tierra, que desconoce
    muy presto la gente della
    donde nace una querella,
    y quien bien no le conoce
    vive en ella.
        Porque en ella ay una suerte,
    d’una engañosa esparança
    que el plazer nos da muerte,
    por do el fin de su holgura
    en trabajo se convierte.
    Do sus glorias alcançadas,
    puesto ya que sean seguras,
    o con quantas amarguras
    hallaras que son mezcladas
    sus dulçuras!

[113] He is particularly successful in expressing with old Spanish
plainness the emotions of passion; as for instance in the following
concluding strophes of a farewell song.

        De vos me parto, quexando,
    y de mi, muy descontento
    de mi triste pensamiento.
    Mi vivir lo va llorando
    vuestro mal conocimiento.
    Assi que por sola vos
    yo de todos vo enemigo,
    pues me parto, como digo,
    mal con vos y mal con Dios,
    y mal comigo.
        Aunque desto en la verdad
    poca culpa tengo yo,
    que mi fé no se mudò,
    vuesta mala voluntad
    m’a traido en lo qu’ estò.
    Por do mis cuytas agora
    vuestras seran desde aqui,
    pues por vos a vos perdi,
    y por vos a Dios, señora,
    y mas a mi.

[114] What a picturesque storm of passion appears under the antiquated
garb of the following stanzas! and with what a fantastic play of words
are they interspersed!

        La fuerça del fuego, que alumbra, que ciega
    mi cuerpo, mi alma, mi muerte, mi vida,
    do entrado hiere, do toca, do llega,
    mata y no muere su llama encendida.
    Pues que harè, triste, que todo me ofende?
    Lo bueno y lo malo me causan congoxa,
    quemandome el fuego que mata, qu’ enciende,
    su fuerça que fuerça que ata, que prende,
    que prende, que suelta, que tira, que afloxa.
        Aso yre triste, que alegre me halle
    pues tantos peligros me tienen en medio,
    que llore, que ria, que grite, que calle,
    ni tengo, ni quiero, ni espero remedio?
    _Ni quiero que quiera, ni quiero querer_,
    pues tanto me quiere tan raviosa plaga,
    ni ser yo vencido, ni quiero vencer,
    ni quiero pesar, ni quiero plazer,
    ni se que me diga, ni se que me haga.

[115] The following are the first and second strophes of this song.
Love is here a hell, in which the thoughts burn.

        Que tu beldad fue querer!
    Mas a ti que a mi me quiero.
    Tu beldad fue mensagero
    de morir en tu poder.
    Tu nubloso disfavor
    me cerco sin fin eterno
    d’unos fuegos qu’es amor
    cuyo nombre es el infierno.
        Qu’en su encendida casa
    se queman mis pensamientos,
    alli montan los tormentos
    mis entrañas hazen brasa.
    Alli sospiro los dias,
    que morir no puede luego
    alli las lagrimas mias
    fortalezen mas en fuego.

[116] This curious composition begins like a testamentary arrangement,
and then immediately takes a poetic turn:--

        Pues Amor quiere que muera,
    y de tan penada muerte,
    en tal edad,
    pues que yo en tiempo tan fuerte,
    quiero ordenar mi postrera
    Pero ya que tal me siento,
    que no lo podre hazer,
    la que causa mi tormento
    pues que tiene mi poder
    ordene mi testamento.
        Y pues mi ventura quiso
    mis pensamientos tornar
    ciegos, vanos,
    no quiero otro paraiso,
    _sino mi alma dexar
    en sus manos_.
    Pero que lleve de claro
    la misma forma y tenor,
    d’aquel que hizo d’amor
    don Diego Lopez de Haro,
    pues que yo muero amador.

[117] The following is by a poet named Tapia.

        Gran congoxa es esperar,
    quando tarda el esperança,
    mas quien tiene confiança
    por tardar,
    no deve desesperar.
        Assi que vos, pensamiento,
    que passays pena esperando,
    galardon se va negando,
    bien lo siento,
    mas tened vos sufrimiento.
    Y quiça podreys ganar
    con firmeza sin dudança
    lo cierto del esparança
    que el tardar
    no lo puede desviar.

[118] The author of the following Villancico is named Escriva.

        Que sentis, coraçon mio,
    no dezis,
    que mal es el que sentis.
        Que sentistes aquel dia,
    quando mi señora vistes,
    que perdistes alegria,
    y descando despedistes,
    como a mi nunca bolvistes.
    no dezis,
    donde estays que no venis.
        Qu’ es de vos, qu’ en mi nos fallo,
    coraçon, quien os agena?
    Qu’ es de vos, que aunque callo,
    vuestro mal tambien me pena?
    Quien os atò tal cadena.
    no dezis,
    que mal es el que sentis.

[119] These glosses, which certainly belong to the fifteenth century,
prove the still higher antiquity of the glossed romances. As a proof of
this, we may quote the commencement of a gloss of the _Rosa fresca_,
(see p. 74), though it is not one of the most successful productions of
this class.


      Quando y os quise querida,
    si supiera conoceros,
    n’os tuviera yo perdida
    ni acuciara yo la vida
    agora para quereros.
    Y porqu’ es bien que padezca
    desta causa mi dolor,
    llam’os yo sin qu’ os merezca,
    _Rosa fresca, rosa fresca,
    tan garrida y con amor_.
        Llam’os yo con voz plañida,
    llena de gran compassion,
    con el alma entristecida
    del angustia dolorida,
    que ha sufrido el coraçon.
    Que le haze mil pedaços,
    yo muero do quier que vò
    pues que por mis embaraços.
    _Quando y’os tuve en mis braços
    no vos supe servir, no._
        No porque os uviesse errado,
    con pensamiento de errar,
    mas si me days por culpado,
    pues publico mi pecado
    deveys me de perdonar.
    No porque quando os servia
    mi querer os desirvio,
    mas porque passo solia,
    _Y agora que os serviria,
    no vos puedo yo aver, no_.

[120] The device of an enamoured knight in the true Spanish style:


Sin vos, y sin Dios y mi.


        Yo soy quien libre me vi,
    yo quien pudiera olvidaros,
    yo so el que por amaros
    estoy desque os conoci
    _sin Dios y sin vos y mi_.
        _Sin Dios_, porque en vos adoro
    _sin vos_, pues no me quereys,
    pues _sin mi_ ya esto decoro,
    que vos soys quien me teneys.
    Assi que triste naci,
    pues que pudiera olvidaros,
    yo soy el que por amaros
    esto desque os conoci
    _sin Dios y sin vos y mi_.

[121] An accurate idea of all the romances of this class may be
derived from the _Historia de los Vandos de los Zegris y Abencerrages,
Caballeros Moros de Granada_, a work well known to those who are
acquainted with Spanish literature. It has been several times printed.
The edition which I have now before me (Lisboa 1616,) seems to be one
of the latest. On the title page the author styles himself, Ginez Perez
de Hita, and on that page also appear the words, _Aora nuevamente
sacado de un libro Arabigo_. The German critic Blankenburgh, is of
opinion, that there is no more reason for supposing this work to be a
translation from the Arabic, than that Don Quixote was derived from a
similar source. But the word _sacado_ on the title page, by no means
indicates that it is a translation. The author has evidently derived
much of his information, such for instance, as the genealogical
register of the families, from Moorish sources. He has probably availed
himself of an Arabic work to write a half true and half fabulous
history of Granada, and to intersperse it with favourite romances.
There is a counterfeit edition of this work, entitled, _Historia de las
guerras civiles de Granada, Paris_, 1660. From the French words on the
margin, it is obvious that the book must have been used in Paris in the
seventeenth century, for learning the Spanish language.

[122] It will be sufficient to transcribe here one of these pastoral
romances, which presents a fair specimen of the better part of the rest.

        Olvidada del sucesso,
    del engañado Narciso,
    mirando està en una fuente
    Filis su rostro divino,
    el negro cabello suelto,
    al ayre vano esparzido,
    ceñida la blanca frente
    con un liston amarillo.
        Mira los hermosos ojos,
    y el labio en sangre teñido
    de los cristalinos dientes
    adornado y ofendido:
    no se mira el bello rostro,
    por presuncion que ha tenido,
    mas porque le mueve a ello
    el desprecio de su amigo.
        Hala dexado el cruel,
    sin averlo merecido,
    por quien vale menos que ella,
    y es della menos querido.
    Pareciole que enturbiava
    con las perlas que ha vertido
    las corrientes amorosas,
    y solloçando, les dixo:
        Turbias van las aguas madre,
        turbias van,
        mas ellas se aclararàn.
      Si el agua de mi alegria
    enturbia la de mis ojos,
    y le ofrecen mis despojos
    al alma en mi fantasia,
    sospechas son, que algun dia
    tiempo y amor desharan.
        Turbias van las aguas madre,
        turbias van,
        mas ellas se aclararàn.
      Si fatiga el pensamiento,
    y se enturbia la memoria,
    juntar la passada gloria
    con el presente tormento,
    si esparzidos por el viento
    mis tristes suspiros van.
        Turbias van las aguas madre
        turbias van,
        mas ellas se aclararàn.

[123] The following is written in a style which was, at a later period,
much admired in France, and frequently imitated in Germany while
Hagedorn and Gleim flourished:--

    Que se case un don Pelote
        con una dama sin dote,
            Bien puede ser.
    Mas que no de algunos dias
        por un pan sus damerias,
            No puede ser.
    Que pida a un galan Minguilla
        cinco puntos de servilla.
            Bien puede ser.
    Mas que calçando diez Menga,
        quiera que justo la venga,
            No puede ser.
    Que la biuda en el sermon
        de mil suspiros sin son,
            Bien puede ser.
    Mas que no los de a mi cuenta,
        porque sepan do se assienta,
            No puede ser.
    Que ande la bella casada
        bien vestida, y mal zelada,
            Bien puede ser.
    Mas que el bueno del marido
        no sepa quien da el vestido,
            No puede ser. &c.

[124] See the notices of Nicolas Antonio, Sarmiento, Velasquez, and

[125] It is entitled _Romancero general_, en que se contienen todos los
romances, que andan impresos, aora _nuevamente añadido y enmendado_,
Madrid, 1604, a quarto volume, containing about seventy sheets. The
preface is subscribed by the bookseller, who seems to have compiled
this work himself. The _todos_ on the title page must not be literally
understood. Not one of the romances contained in the old _Cancionero de
Romances_, (see note page 53) appear in this _Romancero general_, which
is, in other respects, extremely copious. But the Spanish booksellers
began at an early period to give boasting titles to their publications.

[126] More copious information, together with bibliographic notices
respecting the pastoral dialogue of Mingo Rebulgo, are given by
Velasquez and Dieze, page 162.

[127] Sarmiento, page 235, quotes this specimen of Juan de la Enzina’s

        Anoche do madrugada,
    Ya despues de medio dia,
    Vi venir en romeria
    Una nube muy cargada &c.
    No despues de mucho rato
    Vi venir un orinal
    Puesto de pontifical &c.

[128] Nicolas Antonio, Sarmiento, and Velasquez, give accounts of Juan
de la Enzina. Some of his romances and songs, which however, possess
no remarkable merit, are also contained in the _Cancionero general_
and the _Cancionero de romances_. One of his compositions, styled an
_echo_, or a song, in which the rhyme is repeated in the following
word, with the effect of an echo, is inserted in the _Cancionero
general_, as being something peculiar. The old collection, entitled,
_Cancionero de todas las obras de Juan del Enzina_, certainly contains
poems far superior to any already mentioned, though perhaps they do not
rise above the poetry of his age. Velasquez quotes an edition published
in 1516, which Dieze regards as a curiosity. Indeed one of the greatest
literary curiosities in existence, is an old folio edition, (probably
the first) of the _Cancionero_ of Juan de la Enzina, printed at
Seville, in gothic characters, in the year 1501, by two Germans named
Pegnitzer and Herbst, at the expense of two merchants. The copy to
which I have referred, which is probably the only one in Germany, is
also mentioned in Dieze’s supplement to Velasquez; it belongs to the
Ducal library at Wolfenbüttel. Notwithstanding the gothic characters,
the print is so clear and neat, that in this respect alone it is highly
interesting to bibliographists. Juan de la Enzina’s songs occupy the
greater part of the volume. One of them, namely--an Apology for Women,
(_Contra los que dicen mal de Mugeres_) is remarkable for poetic truth
and pleasing versification. In this Apology for the fair sex, the
author, among other things, says:

    Piadosas en dolerse
    De todo ageno dolor,
    Con muy sana fe y amor,
    Sin su fama escurecerse,
    Ellas nos hacen hacer
    De nuestros bienes franquezas;
    Ellas nos hacen poner
    A procurar y querer
    Las virtudes y noblezas.
    Ellas nos dan ocasion,
    Que nos hagomas discretos,
    Esmerados y perfetos,
    Y de mucho presuncion.
    Ellas nos hacen andar
    Las vestiduras polidas,
    Los pundonores guardar,
    Y, por honra procurar,
    Tener en poco las vidas.

His imitations of Virgil’s eclogues have the same metrical form as many
of his other poems. The first eclogue commences with the following
graceful strophe:--

    Tityro, tu sin cuidado
    Que te estas so aqueste haya,
    Bien tendido y rellanado.
    Yo triste y descarriado
    Yo no sè, por do me vaya.
    Ay, carillo!
    Tañes tu tu caramillo,
    No hay que en cordoja te trayga.

His sacred and profane pastoral dramas are merely eclogues in a style
similar to the above, only that they are written in the dialogue form,
and with remarkable lightness. The last, which is of the profane class,
commences thus:--

    Gil.    Ha, Mingo, que das de atràs?
            Pasa, pasa, acà delante!
            A horas que no se espante,
            Como tu, tu primo Bras.
            Asmo, que tu pavor has.
            Entra! No estes revellado!

    Mingo.  Dò me a Dios, que estoy asmado.
            No me mandes entrar mas.

[129] In the edition of 1599, which I have consulted, the work is
entitled _Celestina, tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea_. The first
letter of each of the introductory stanzas, being put together, form
the following words:--El bachiler Fernando de Rojas _acabò_ la comedia
de Calisto y Melibea, e fue nacido en la puebla de Montalvan.

[130] The following specimens may be cited. Callistus is discoursing
with his servant, concerning his passion for Melibœa.

_Ca._ Mayor es mi fuego, y menor la piedad de quien agora digo.--_Sem._
No me engaño que loco està aste mi amo.--_Ca._ Que estàs murmurando
Sempronio?--_Sem._ No digo nada.--_Ca._ Di lo que dizes: no
temas.--_Sem._ Digo que como pueda ser mayor el fuego que atormenta un
bivo, que el que quemó tal ciudad y tanta multitud de gente?--_Ca._
Como? yo telo dire: mayor es la llama que dura ochenta años que la
que en un dia passa; y mayor la que quema un anima, que la que quemó
cien mil cuerpos. Como de la aparencia a la existencia, como de lo
vivo a lo pintado; como de la sombra a lo real: tanta differencia ay
del fuego que dizes al que me quema. Por cierto si el del purgatorio
es tal, mas querria que mi espiritu fuesse con los de los brutos
animales, que por medio de aquel yr a la gloria de los santos.--_Sem._
Algo es lo que digo, a mas ha de yr este hecho: no basta loco, sino
hereje.--_Ca._ No te digo que hables alto quando hablares? Que
dizes?--_Sem._ Digo que nunca Dios quiera tal: que es especie de
herejia lo que agora dixiste.--_Ca._ Porque?--_Sem._ Porque lo que
dizes contradize la Christiana religion.--_Ca._ Que a mi?--_Sem._ Tu
no eres Christiano?--_Ca._ Yo Melibieo soy, e a Melibea adoro, e en
Melibea creo, e a Melibea amo.

[131] About the same period, the dramatic prose dialogue of Italy was
formed in a similar style, but with more histrionic refinement. See
vol. ii. of my history of Italian Literature.

[132] The dramatic romance of Callistus and Melibœa, has been
translated into several languages as a book of moral instruction.
There is an old German translation which appeared at Nurnberg in 1520,
entitled the _Hurenspiegel_. The German philologist, Caspar Barth,
translated it into Latin under the title of _Pornoboscodidascalus_, and
styles it, _Liber plane divinus_. It was published at Frankfort on the
Oder, in 1624.

[133] One may become acquainted with these old Spanish chronicles
with more facility than formerly; for during the last thirty years
the greater part of them have been re-printed. A folio edition of the
copious chronicle of Peres de Guzman was printed at Valencia, in the
year 1779, with an elegance which proves the patriotic zeal of the
editors: the chronicle of Ayala was printed at Madrid in the same year.
Literature is indebted for this revival of the fathers of Spanish
History, to the efforts of the Historical Academy of Madrid.

[134] It is not many years since this history was first published from
the manuscript. It is intitled, _Cronica de Don Pedro Niño Conde de
Buelna, por Gutierre Diez de Games, su Aferes. La publica D. Eugenio de
Llaguno Amirola_, &c. Madrid, 1782, in quarto.

[135] He gives the following description of the national character of
the French, which derives additional attraction from its antiquated

Los Franceses son noble nacion de gente: son sabios é muy entendidos,
é discretos en todas las cosas que pertenescen á buena crianza en
cortesia é gentileza. Son muy gentiles en sus traeres, é guarnidos
ricamente: traense mucho á lo propio: son francos é dadivosos: aman
facer placer á todas las gentes: honran mucho los estrangeros: saben
loar, é loan mucho los buenos fechos: non son maliciosos: dan pasada á
los enojos: non caloñan á ome de voz nin fecho, salvo si los vá alli
mucho de sus honras: son muy corteses é graciosos en su fablar: son muy
alegres, toman placer de buena mente, é buscanle. Asi ellos como ellas
son muy enamorados, é precianso dello.

[136] That this biographical chronicle was written between the years
1453 and 1460, is proved in the preface to the latest edition, which
is entitled, _Cronica de Don Alvaro de Luna, &c. La publica con varios
apendices Don Josef Miguel de Flores, Secretario perpetuo de la real
Academia de la Historia._ Madrid, 1784, 4to.

[137] The following is one of his declamatory passages: it is certainly
more suited to a philippic than to a biographic work, but it is
sufficiently oratorical for the age in which it was produced:--

Oh traycion! oh traycion! oh traycion! Maldito sea el ser tuyo:
maldito sea el poder tuyo: é maldito el tu obrar, que á tanto se
estiende, é tantas fuerzas alcanza. Oh enemiga de toda bondad, é
adversaria de toda virtud, é contraria de todos bienes! Por tì han
seìdo destruidos Reynos: por tí han seìdo asoladas grandes é nobles, é
populosas cibdades: é por tì son cometidas en Emperadores, é Reyes, é
Principes, é altos señores, crueles, bravas é miserables muertes. Quien
pudiera pensar? Quien pudiera creer? O qu’al juicio pudiera abastar á
considerar, que un tanto señor, é de tan alto ser, un tan grand, á tan
familiar amigo de virtudes, como era el inclito Maestre de Sanctiago é
insigne Condestable de la gran Castilla, viniesse al passo que agora
aqui contaremos?

[138] Entre los otros frutos abundosos que la España en otro tiempo
de sì solia dar, fallo yo que el mas precioso de aquellos fué criar
é nudrir en si varones muy virtuosos notables é dispuestos para
enseñorear, sabios para regir, duros é fuertes para guerrear. De los
quales unos fueron subidos á la cumbre imperial, otros á la relumbrante
catedra del saber. E muchos otros merescieron por victoria corona del
triunfo resplandesciente.

[139] E tentando entrar la presente obra donde pues tú, Verdad, eres
una de las principales virtudes que en aqueste nuestro muy buen Maestre
siempre fecistes morada, á tí solo llamo é invoco que adiestres la mi
mano, alumbres el mi ingenio, abundes la mi memoria, porque yo pueda
confirmar é sellar la comenzada obra con el tu precioso nombre.

[140] The author thus relates how in his youth Don Alvaro de Luna, by
the irresistible grace of his manners had gained the love of the king,
who was then also very young, and the favour of the fair sex:--

Ca si Rey salia á danzar, non queria que otro caballero ninguno, nin
grande nin Rico ome danzase con él, salvo Don Alvaro de Luna, nin
queria con otro cantar, nin facer cosa, salvo con Don Alvaro, nin se
apartaba con otro á aver sus consejos é fablas secretas tanto como con
él. De la otra parte que todas las dueñas é doncellas lo favorescian
mucho. Don Alvaro era mas mirado é preciado entre todos aquellos que
en las fiestas se ayuntaron. E despues quando el Rey se retraìa á
su cámara á burlar ó aver placer, Don Alvaro burlaba tan cortés é
graciosamente, que el Rey é todos los otros que con él eran avian muy
grand placer. E si fablaban en fechos de caballeria, aunque Don Alvaro
era mozo, él fablaba en ellos, assi bien é atentamente que todos se
maravillaban. E aquel fué desde niño su mayor estudio, entender en los
fechos de armas é de caballeria, é darse á ellos, é saber en ellos mas
facer que decir.

[141] The library of the university of Göttingen contains a copy of
this scarce book, printed in gothic characters, but the title page
is wanting. It commences with the title of the table of contents:
_Comiença la tabla de los claros varones, ordenada por Fernando del
Pulgar, &c._ The biographical sketches are followed by a collection
of letters; and the whole forms a volume with which every author who
writes on Spanish history ought to be acquainted.

[142] The following specimen is the commencement of a jocular letter,
in which Fernando del Pulgar begs of his physician to prescribe to him
a remedy for the sciatica, as the consolation which Cicero offers in
his book _de Senectute_ had no effect on him:--

Señor dotor Francisco Nuñes fisico: yo Fernando de Pulgar escrivano
paresco ante vos: y digo que padesciendo grand dolor de la yjada: y
otros males que asoman con la vejez quise leer a Julio de senetute
para aver del para ellos algun remedio. Y no le de dios mas salud al
alma de lo que yo falle en el para mi yjada. Verdad es que da muchas
consolaciones: y cuenta muchos loores de la vejez. Pero no provee de
remedio para sus males. Quisiere yo fallar un remedio solo, mas por
cierto de Señor fisico que todos sus consolaciones por que el conorte
quando no quita dolor, no pone consolacion. Quise ver essomismo el
segundo libro que fizo de las quistiones Tosculanas. Do quiere provar
que el sabio no deve haver dolor: y si lo hoviere lo puede desechar con
virtud. E yo Señor dotor como no soy sabio senti el dolor. Y como no
soy virtuoso no le puede desechar. Ni lo desechara el mismo Julio por
virtuoso que fuera: si sintiera el mal que yo sinti. Assi que para las
enfermedades que vienen con la vejez fallo que es mejor yr al fisico
remediador: que al filosofo consolador. Por los Cipiones, por los
Metellos, y sabios, y por los Trasos, y por otros algunos romanos que
bivieron y murieron en honra quiere provar Julio que la vejez es buena.
Y por algunos que ovieron mala postremera provare yo que es mala. E
dare mayor numero de testigos para prueva de mi intencion que el Señor
Julio pudo dar para en prueva de la suya.

[143] See the notice by Nicolas Antonio in the _Bibl. Hisp. Vetus_,
last edition, (Madrid, 1788,) vol. ii. p. 282.

[144] This treatise precedes the collection of Juan de la Enzina’s
poems. See note page 131.

[145] Criados en el gremio de la dulce filosofia. This he says in
particular reference to Ferdinand and Isabella.

[146] Quanta diferencia aya del Musico al Cantor, y del Geometra al
Pedrero, tanta debe haver entre Poeta é Trobador. The third comparison
follows afterwards.

[147] An unpardonable neglect of chronology has given rise to a
confusion of dates, by which this period of Spanish literature has been
made to include two distinct epochs. This confusion is particularly
striking in the work of Velasquez. In his third age of Castilian
poetry, which he commences with the introduction of the Italian style,
but which ought really to be called the second, he reckons all the
Spanish poets, who appear to have formed their manner after Italian
models down to the reign of Philip IV.; and in the following age, which
he calls the fourth, he places Virnes, Lope de Vega, and others, who
flourished half a century before.

[148] See page 25. In the _Cancionero general_ there are some spiritual
sonnets, but they are all equally aukward and repulsive.

[149] The history of the opposition which Boscan’s poetical reform
experienced, is briefly related by himself in the dedication to the
Duchess of Soma, which precedes the second volume of his poems.

[150] The eighth volume of the _Parnaso Español_, by Sedano, contains a
supplement to the biographical notices which Nicolas Antonio collected
under the article Boscan, and Dieze adopted in his notes on Velasquez.
The _Noticias Biographicas_, which Sedano has added to the _Parnaso
Español_, deserve, from this epoch downward, to be carefully consulted.

[151] The library of the university of Göttingen possesses a copy of
perhaps the oldest edition of the works of this author, viz. _Obras de
Boscan_, _Lisboa_ 1543, in 4to., and another edition, _Anvers_ 1569, in

[152] The first strophe runs thus:--

    El _sentir de mi sentido_
    Tan profundo ha navegado,
    Que me tiene ya engolfado,
    Donde vivo despedido
    De salir ni a pie ni a nado; &c.

[153] The spirit of Petrarch breathes in the following sonnet; though
it is accompanied in the latter verses with a portion of romantic

        Solo y pensoso en prados y desiertos
    mis passos doy cuydosos y cansados:
    y entrambos ojos traygo levantados
    à ver no vea alguien mis desconciertos.
        Mis tormentos alli vienen tan ciertos,
    y van mis sentimentos tan cargados,
    que aun los campos me suelen ser passados,
    porque todos no estan secos y muertos.
        Si oyo hablar à caso algun ganado,
    y la voz d’ el pastor da en mis oydos,
    alli se me rebuelve mi cuydado.
        Y quedan espantados mis sentidos,
    como ha sido no aver desesperado,
    despues de tantos llantos doloridos.

[154] Passages such as the following from the beautiful _Claros y
frescos rios_ of Boscan, after Petrarch’s canzone _Chiare, dolci e
fresche acque_, would be sought for in vain in the writings of Petrarch

    Las horas estoy viendo
        en ella y los momentos,
        y cada cosa pongo en su sazon.
        Comigo aca la entiendo,
        pienso sus pensamientos,
        por mi saco los suyos quales son:
        dize m’ el coraçon,
        y pienso yo que acierta,
        ya esta alegre, ya triste,
        ya sale, ya se viste,
        agora duerme, agora esta despierta:
        el seso y el amor,
        andan por quien la pintara mejor.
    Viene me à la memoria
        donde la vi primero,
        y aquel lugar do comencè de amalla,
        y naceme tal gloria
        de ver como la quiero,
        que es ya mejor qu’ el vella el contemplalla.
        En el contemplar halla
        mi alma un gozo estraño,
        pienso estalla mirando,
        despues en mi tornando,
        pesame que dura poco el engaño:
        no pido otra alegria,
        sino engañar mi triste fantasia.

[155] The following passage may serve for an example:--

    No oso pensar el dia y hora quando
        mis ojos començaron a mirarte,
        su vista poco a poco desmandando:
    Entonces comencè a considerarte,
        con pensamientos que y van y venian,
        y casi no era mas de imaginarte.
    Los unos blandamente me dezian,
        que con mi coraçon todo te amasse,
        los otros se alterava y temian.
    Fuerça fue en fin, que poco a poco entrasse
        a conocer mi triste entendimiento,
        que era bien que tus cosas contemplasse.
    Alli se levantò mi pensamiento
        haziendo su discurso en mil ojetos,
        y todos sobre un mismo fundamento.

[156] A certain horatian epicurean spirit is recognizable in the view
he takes of the philosophy of life.

    En tierra do los vicios van tan llenos,
        aquellos hombres que no son peores,
        aquellos passaran luego por buenos.
    Yo no ando ya siguiendo à los mejores,
        bastame alguna vez dar fruto alguno,
        en lo de mas contentome de flores.
    No quiero en la virtud ser importuno,
        ni pretendo rigor en mis costumbres,
        con el gloton no pienso estar ayuno.
    La tierra està con llanos y con cumbres,
        lo tolerable al tiempo acomodemos,
        y à su sazon hagamonos dos lumbres.

Pictures of domestic happiness, partaking both of the manner of Horace
and Tibullus, form an agreeable addition to Boscan’s moral reflections,

    Comigo y mi muger sabrosamente
        estè, y alguna vez me pida celos,
        con tal que me los pida blandamente.
    Comamos y bevamos sin recelos,
        la mesa de muchachos rodeada;
        mochachos que nos hagan ser aguelos.
    Passeremos assi neustra jornada,
        agora en la ciudad ahora en la aldea,
        porque la vida estè mas descansada.
    Quando pesada la ciudad nos sea,
        yremos al lugar con la compaña,
        adonde el importuno no nos vea.
    Alli se vivira con menos maña,
        y no aura el hombre tanto de guardarse
        d’ el malo, o d’ el grossero que os engaña.
    Alli podra mejor philosopharse
        con los bueyes, y cabras, y ovejas,
        que con los que d’ el vulgo han de tratarse.

[157] The description of Venus appearing, when the star which has
obtained her name rises, is thus given:--

    Mostrava ya su resplandor la estrella,
        Que barre de la sombra neustra suelo,
        Y al su venir toda otra cosa bella
        Dexava su lugar alla en el cielo:
        Quando Venus salio, y al salir d’ ella
        Saliò el amor, y junto saliò el zelo,
        El zelo que de amor nace en las cosas,
        Y mas en las que nacen mas hermosas.
    Saliò con sus cabellos esprazidos,
        Esta reyna de amor y de hermosura,
        Su rostro blanco y blancos sus vestidos,
        Con gravedad mezclada con dulçura:
        Los ojos entre vivos y caidos,
        Divino el ademan y la figura,
        Como aquella que Zeuxis trasladó
        De las cinco donzellas de Crotò.

[158] Some stanzas in the speech which the missionary Cupids address
to the ladies of Barcelona, bring to recollection a passage in Tasso’s
Jerusalem, though that poem did not then exist.

    N’ os engañe ni os trayga levantadas,
        La mocedad y verde loçania:
        Que os hallareys despues peor burladas,
        Con el tiempo que burla cada dia.
        Y de suerte os vereys desengañadas,
        Que engañaros querra la fantasia,
        Y n’ os valdra ni maña ni consejo,
        Ni miraros mil vezes al espejo.
    Guardad que mientras el buen tiempo dura,
        No se os pierda la fresca primavera:
        Sali à gozar el campo y su verdura,
        Antes que todo en el invierno muera:
        Reposa y sossega en essa frescura,
        Con el ayre que blandamente os hierra,
        Y assi falsas podreys estar señoras,
        Sobre el correr d’el tiempo y de las horas.


    Danubio, rio divino
    Que por fieras naciones
    Vas con tus claras ondas discurriendo, &c.

[160] In his elegy on Boscan he thus apostrophizes Mars:--

    O crudo, o riguroso, o duro Marte,
    De tunica cubierto de diamante,
    _Y endurecido siempre en toda parte, &c._

[161] The edition of the _Obras de Garcilaso de la Vega_, Madrid, 1765,
8vo. published by an anonymous editor, contains impartial and correct
remarks on the beauties and the defects of the author’s poetry. The
preface which is written with a spirit of patriotic frankness is also
worthy of perusal.

[162] In the following sonnet the dull and affected close forms a
disagreeable contrast to the fine commencement.

    La mar en medio y tierras he dexado
        De quanto bien, cuitado, yo tenía:
        Y yéndome alejando cada dia,
        Gentes, costumbres, lenguas he pasado.
    Ya de volver estoy desconfiado;
        Pienso remedios en mi fantasía:
        Y el que mas cierto espero, es aquel dia
        Que acabará la vida y el cuidado.
    Do qualquier mal pudiera socorrerme
        Con veros yo, señora, ó esperallo,
        Si esperallo pudiera sin perdello.
    Mas de no veros ya para valerme,
        Sino es morir, ningun remedio hallo:
        Y si este lo es, tampoco podré habello.

[163] It is as follows:--

    O dulces prendas, por mi mal halladas,
        Dulces y alegres, quando Dios queria!
        Juntas estays en la memoria mia,
        Y con ella en mi muerte conjuradas.
    Quien me dixera, quando las passadas
        Horas en tanto bien por vos me via,
        Que me haviais de ser el algun dia
        Con tan grave dolor representadas!
    Pues en un hora junto me llevastes,
        Todo el bien, que por terminos me distes,
        Llevadme junto el mal, que me dexastes.
    Si no, sospecharè, que me pusistes
        En tantos bienes, porque deseastes
        Verme morìr entre memorias tristes.

When stripped, however, of the pleasing versification, the ideas in the
last lines appear somewhat studied and far-fetched.

[164] The following two strophes are from the lament of Salicio.

    Por ti el silencio de la selva umbrosa,
        Por ti la esquividad y apartamiento
        Del solitario monte me agradaba:
        Por ti la verde hierba, el fresco viento,
        El blanco lirio y colorada rosa,
        Y dulce primavera deseaba.
        Ay! quanto me engañaba,
        Ay! quan diferente era,
        Y quan de otra manera
        Lo que en tu falso pecho se escondía!
        Bien claro con su voz me lo decía
        La siniestra corneja repitiendo
        La desventura mia.
        Salid sin duelo lágrimas corriendo.
    Quantas veces durmiendo en la floresta
        (Reputándolo yo por desvarío)
        Vi mi mal entre sueños, desdichado!
        Soñaba que en el tiempo del estío
        Llevaba, por pasar allí la siesta,
        A beber en el Tajo mi ganado:
        Y despues de llegado,
        Sin saber de qual arte,
        Por desusada parte,
        Y por nuevo camino el agua se iba:
        Ardiendo yo con la calor estiva,
        El curso enajenado iba siguiendo
        Del agua fugitiva.
        Salid sin duelo lágrimas corriendo.


    Mas ya que á socorrerme aqui no vienes,
    No dexes el lugar que tanto amaste;
    Que bien podrás venir de mi segura.
    Yo dexaré el lugar do me dexaste:
    Ven, si por solo esto te detienes.
    Ves aquí un prado lleno de verdura,
    Ves aquí una espesura,
    Ves aquí una agua clara,
    En otro tiempo cara,
    A quien de ti con lágrimas me quexo.
    Quizá aquí hallarás, pues yo me alejo,
    Al que todo mi bien quitarme puede;
    Que pues el bien le dexo,
    No es mucho que el lugar tambien le puede.


        Do están agora aquellos claros ojos,
    Que llevaban tras sí como colgada
    Mi ánima do quier que se volvian?
    Do está la blanca mano delicada
    Llena de vencimientos y despojos,
    Que de mi mis sentidos le ofrecían?
    Los cabellos que vian
    Con gran desprecio al oro
    Como á menor tesoro,
    Adonde están? Adonde el blanco pecho?
    Do la coluna que el dorado techo,
    Con presuncion graciosa sostenía?
    Aquesto todo agora ya se encierra,
    Por desventura mia,
    En la fria, desierta y dura tierra.


        Una parte guardé de tus cabellos,
    Eliza, envueltos en un blanco paño,
    Que nunca de mi seno se me apartan:
    Descójolos, y de un dolor tamaño
    Enternecerme siento, que sobre ellos
    Nunca mis ojos de llorar se hartan,
    Sin que de allí se partan,
    Con suspiros calientes,
    Mas que la llama ardientes,
    Los enxugo del llanto, y de consuno
    Casi los paso y cuento uno á uno:
    Juntándolos con un cordon los ato:
    Tras esto el importuno
    Dolor me dexa descansar un rato.


    Como acontece al mísero doliente,
        Que del un cabo el cierto amigo y sano
        Le muestra el duro mal de su acidente,
    Y le amonesta que del cuerpo humano
        Comience á levantar á mejor parte
        El alma suelta con volar liviano;
    Mas la tierna muger, de la otra parte,
        No se puede entregar al desengaño,
        Y encúbrele del mal la mayor parte:
    El, abrazado con su dulce engaño,
        Vuelve los ojos á la voz piadosa,
        Y alégrase muriendo con su daño:
    Así los quito yo de toda cosa,
        Y póngolos en solo el pensamiento
        De la esperanza cierta ó lastimosa.
    En este dulce error muero contento;
        Porque ver claro, y conocer mi estado
        No puede ya curar el mal que siento;
    Y acabo como aquel que en un templado
        Baño metido sin sentido muere,
        Las venas dulcemente desatado.

[169] In the title of the edition which I have perused of his _Obras_,
(Madrid, 1610, in 4to.) the word “Hurtado” is omitted, and he is
called simply Diego de Mendoza; but the Mendozas are so numerous in
Spanish literature, that it is necessary to pay attention to all the
distinctions in their names.


    O embaxadores, puros majaderos,
        Que si los reyes quieren engañar,
        Comiençan por nosotros los primeros.
    Nuestro mayor negocio es, no dañar,
        Y jamas hacer cosa, ni dezilla,
        Que no corramos riesgo de enseñar.

The passage is in the epistle commencing:

    Que hace el gran señor de los Romanos.

[171] They are to be found among his poems with these titles:--“Carta
en redondillas, _estando preso_.”--“Redondillas, _estando preso por una
pendencia que tuvo en palacio_.”

[172] The best life of Mendoza is that which precedes his _Guerra de
Granada, Valencia_, 1776, in quarto. The notices in the fourth volume
of the _Parnaso_ Español are also copious and useful.

[173] It commences thus:--

    El no maravillarse hombre de nada
        Me parece, Boscan, ser una cosa,
        Que basta a darnos vida descansada; &c.

[174] The commencement relates to Boscan’s wife:--

    Tu la veràs Boscan, y yo la veo,
        Que los que amamos, vemos mas temprano,
        Hela, en cabello negro, y blanco arreo.
    Ella te cogera con blanda mano
        Las raras ubas, y la fruta cana,
        Dulces, y frescos dones del verano.
    Mira que diligencia, con que gana
        Viene al nuevo servicio, que pomposa
        Està con el trabajo, y quan ufana.
    En blanca leche colorada rosa
        Nunca para su amigo vi al pastor
        Mezclar, que pareciesse tan hermosa.
    El verde arrayan tuerce en derredor,
        De tu sagrada frente, con las flores,
        Mezclando oro immortal a la labor.
    Por cima van, y vienen los amores,
        Con las alas en vino remojadas,
        Suenan en el carcax los passadores.
    Remedie quien quisiere las pissadas
        De los grandes, que el mundo governaron,
        Cuyas obras, quiza estan olvidadas.
    Desuelese en lo que ellos no alcançaron,
        Duerma descolorido sobre el oro,
        Que no les quedara mas que llevaron.
    Yo Boscan, no procure otro tesoro,
        Sino poder vivir medianamente,
        Ni escondo la riqueza, ni la adoro.
    Si aqui hallas algun inconveniente,
        Como discreto, y no como yo soy,
    Me desengaña luego incontinente,
        Y sino ven conmigo adonde voy.


    Quantos ay don Luys, que sobre nada
        Haziendo sumtuoso fundamento,
        Tienen la buena suerte por llegada.
    Cansanse con un vano pensamiento,
        Hechan sus conjeturas, y razones,
        Hazen torres vazias en el viento.
    Ensanchan al pensar los coraçones,
        Creen tener en puño la fortuna,
        Y toman por el pie las ocasiones.
    Como los simples niños que en la cuna,
        No saben conocer otro cuydado,
        Sino contar las vigas, una a una,
    Ansi passan la vida en descuydado,
        Y ternan por el mismo, sin mas duda,
        El tiempo por venir con el passado:
    Mas si el viento delante se les muda,
        Y arranca las arenas del profundo,
        No por esso harán vida sessuda.
    No les podra quitar hombre del mundo
        El comer, el dormir, el passear,
        El tenerse por solos sin segundo.


    Otros ay que rebuelven en el seno,
        El tiempo que es passado, y el que tienen,
        Consideran lo suyo por lo ageno.
    Toman las ocasiones que les vienen,
        Y las que no les vienen, van buscando,
        Y con qualquier tiempo se entre tienen.
    El mundo punto a punto van passando
        Los hombres por de dentro, y por defuera
        Como en anatomia examinando.
    Ponen la diligencia en delantera,
        El seso, y la razon por el guarismo,
        Quieren que todo venga a su manera.
    No tienen otra ley, ni otro bautismo,
        Sino lo que les cumple, y por solo esto
        Yran hasta el profundo del abismo.
    Agudos en el cuerpo, y en el gesto,
        Mal ceñidos, las capas arrastradas,
        El ojo abierto, y el caminar presto.
    Si les suceden cosas desastradas,
        Escogen, y proveen lo peor,
        Nadie puede topar con sus pisadas.
    No toman el camino, que es mejor,
        Llano, y trillado, antes al reves,
        Engañanse en el arte, y la labor.

[177] Words on which elisions are permitted in Italian, as for example,
_dar_, _legger_, _amor_, _peggior_, instead of _dare_, _leggere_,
_amore_, _peggiore_, are in Spanish, by an invariable rule of the
language, written _dar_, _leèr_, _amor_, _peòr_; and, on the other
hand, no poet can presume to omit the terminating vowels in Spanish
words. A succession of pure feminine rhymes is, therefore, as unnatural
in the Spanish language as in the German. In the Spanish, however,
the unnatural effect is easily concealed; while in the German, the
incessant recurrence of the semi-mute _e_, in feminine rhymes, is

[178] The following is characteristic, since it presents in a picture
of the poet’s mode of life, the mingled features of Italian refinement
and the Spanish tone of thinking.

    Aora en la dulce ciencia embevecido,
        Ora en el uso de la ardiente espada,
        Aora con la mano, y el sentido
        Puesto en seguir la plaça levantada,
    Ora el pesado cuerpo estè dormido,
        Aora el alma atenta, y desvelada,
        Siempre en el coraçon tendre esculpido
        Tu ser, y hermosura entretallada.
    Entre gentes estrañas, do se encierra
        El Sol fuera del mundo, y se desvia,
        Durarè, y permanecerè deste arte.
    En el mar, en el cielo, so la tierra,
        Contemplarè la gloria de aquel dia,
        Que tu vista figura en toda parte.

[179] One of those canciones commences in a sententious way in the
horatian manner, but it soon degenerates into an obscurity, very unlike

    Tiempo bien empleado,
        Y vida descansada,
        Bien que á pocos, y tarde se consiente
        Olvidar lo passado,
        Holgar con lo presente,
        Y de lo por venir, no curar nada,
        Hora falta, y menguada
        La del que nunca olvida
        Un cuydado que siempre le da pena.
        Cortado à su medida
        Tan importuna, y llena,
        Que ni otro halla entrada, ni el salida,
        Mas tiene por testigo
        Su pensamiento, y este es su enemigo.

[180] See the Introduction, page 20.

[181] For example:--

    Hagame lugar
    El placer un dia!
    Dexame contar
    Esta pena mia!

[182] The following are the first stanzas of a song, which he composed
in prison, after his extraordinary adventure in the court of Madrid:--

    Triste, y aspera fortuna
        Un preso tiene afligido,
        Mas no por esso vencido
        Con la fuerça de ninguna.
    Entre sus cuydados vive,
        Ellos mismos le atormentan,
        Mil muertes le representan,
        Y las mas dellos recibe.
    Y aunque no se rinde al peso
        De tantas penas, y enojos,
        Rinde à Filis los despojos
        De sus entrañas, y seso.
    Tristezas, y soledades,
        Y quexas muy apretadas,
        Que sino son declaradas,
        A lo menos son verdades.

[183] In a half comic song, he describes jealousy (in Spanish
_los zelos_, jealous thoughts), in a series of very odd, negative
comparisons;--for example:

    No es padre, suegro, ni yerno,
        Ni es hijo, hermano, ni tio,
        Ni es mar, arroyo, ni rio,
        Ni es verano, ni es invierno,
        Ni es otoño, ni es estio.
    No es ave, ni es animal,
        Ni es Luna, sombra ni Sol,
        Vequadrado, ni vemol,
        Piedra, planta, ni metal,
        Ni pece, ni caracol.
    Tampoco es noche, ni dia,
        Ni hora, ni mes, ni año,
        Ni es lienço, seda, ni paño,
        Ni es Latin, ni Algaravia,
        Ni es ogaño, ni fue antaño

[184] The only editions of the _vida de Lazarillo de Tormes_ now in
circulation, are printed after that published at Saragossa, in the year
1652, with de Luna’s corrections and continuation.

[185] A new edition of this work, which is entitled:--_Guerra de
Granada, que hizo el rey don Felipe II. &c. Escriviòla D. Diego Hurtado
de Mendoza_, has been mentioned in the note, p. 193. It is in fact
the first correct edition, for in it the original text is restored by
collation with the genuine MS.

[186] This affectation of style is particularly observable in the
Proœmium; and therefore that part of the work does not create a very
favourable prepossession towards the author, in the mind of the
impartial critic:--

Bien sè que muchas cosas de las que escriviere pareceràn a algunos
livianas, i menudas para Historia, comparadas a las grandes, que de
España se hallan escritas; Guerras largas de varios sucesos, tomas
i desolaciones de Ciudades populosas, Reyes vencidos i presos,
discordias entre padres i hijos, hermanos i hermanas, suegros i
hiernos, desposeidos, restituidos, i otra vez desposeidos, muertos
a hierro, acabados linages, mudadas successiones de Reinos; libre i
estendido campo, i ancha salida para los Escritores. Yo escogi camino
mas estrecho, trabajoso, esteril, i sin gloria; pero provechoso, i de
fruto para los que adelante vinieren; comienzos bajos, rebelion de
salteadores, junta de esclavos, tumulto de villanos, competencias,
odios, ambiciones, i pretensiones; dilacion de provisiones, falta de
dinero, inconvenientes o no creidos, o tenidos en poco.

[187] For example:

Porque la Inquisicion los comenzò a apretar mas de lo ordinario.
El Rei les mandò dejar la habla Morisca, i con ella el comercio i
comunicacion entre si; quitòseles el servicio de los Esclavos negros
a quienes criavan con esperanzas de hijos, el habito Morisco en que
tenian empleado gran caudal; obligaronlos a vestir Castellano con
mucha costa, que las mugeres trugesen los rostros descubiertos, que
las casas acostumbradas a estar cerradas estuviesen abiertas: lo uno
i lo otro tan grave de sufrir entre gente celosa. Huvo fama que les
mandavan tomar los hijos, i pasallos a Castilla. Vedaronles el uso de
los baños, que eran su limpieza i entrenimiento; primero les havian
prohibido la Musica, cantares, fiestas, bodas, conforme a su costumbre,
i qualesquier juntas de pasatiempo. Saliò todo esto junto sin guardia,
ni provision de gente; sin reforzar presidios viejos, o firmar otros

[188] This speech is forcibly written, and the style is no where
disfigured by rhetorical ornament. The following is one of its most
powerful passages:--

Quien quita que el hombre de Lengua Castellana no pueda tener la lei
del Profeta? i el de la lengua Morisca la lei de Jesus? llaman a
nuestros hijos a sus Congregaciones i casas de letras, enseñanles artes
que nuestros mayores prohibieron aprenderse; porque no se confundiese
la puridad, i se hiciese litigiosa la verdad de la lei. Cada hora nos
amenazan quitarlos de los brazos de sus madres, i de la crianza de sus
padres, i pasarlos a tierras agenas; donde olviden nuestra manera de
vida, i aprendan a ser enemigos de los padres que los engendramos, i
de las madres que los parieron. Mandannos dejar nuestro habito, vestir
el Castellano. Vistense entre ellos los Tudescos de una manera, los
Franceses de otra, los Griegos de otra, los Frailes de otra, los mozos
de otra, i de otra los viejos; cada Nacion, cada profesion i cada
estado usa su manera de vestido, i todos son Christianos; i nosotros
Moros, porque vestimos a la Morisca; como si truxesemos la lei en el
vestido, i no en el corazon.

[189] Demàs desto proveerse de vitualla, eligir lugar en la montaña
donde guardalla, fabricar armas, reparar las que de mucho tiempo tenian
escondidas, comprar nuevas, i avisar de nuevo a los Reyes de Argel,
Fez, Señor de Tituan desta resolucion i preparaciones.

[190] In the year 1737, that excellent critic Mayans, in allusion to
Diego de Mendoza’s _Guerra de Granada_, observes:--Deve leerse, como el
la escriviò. Quiere Dios que algun dia la publique yo! (_Orig. de la
Lingua Española_, vol. i. p. 205). Thus even at that period a genuine
edition, such as Mayans wished to superintend, could not be published.

[191] Dieze, it is true, alledges the contrary, in his notes on
Velasquez; but it appears that he was acquainted only with the pastoral
poems, and not with the other works of Saa de Miranda.

[192] These Spanish pastoral poems are mingled indiscriminately with
the Portuguese poems of the same author, in the neatly printed edition
of the _Obras do Doctor Francisco de Sà de Miranda, Lisboa_, 1784, in 2
vols. 8vo. No attention has been paid to the correction of the Spanish
poems in this collection, and Portuguese words continually occur in
them; for example, _as_ for _las_, _pensamentos_ for _pensamientos_,
_outro_ for _otro_, &c. The orthography of the title-page is uncommon;
for in other cases the Portuguese spelling is not _doctor_, but
_doutor_, and _Sà_ is a modern substitution for _Saa_.

[193] The following stanza may certainly claim a place in the best epic

    Como el pino en el monte combalido
        Del impetuoso viento en la tormenta,
        A quantos que lo ven pone en recelo,
        Los truenos amenazan, arrebienta
        El fuego por las nuves, exlo erguido,
        Exlo coruo que vâ cayendo al suelo,
        Hasta tanto que el Cielo
        Se abre en llama ardiendo,
        Entre viendo, y no viendo,
        El bravo rayo en bueltas mil desciende,
        Aquel prostrero mal quien se defiende?
        Queda un tronco quemado, y cuento breve,
        A quien passa porende,
        O busca alli quiça que a casa lleve.

[194] For example:--

    Graciosamente estando,
    Graciosamente andando,
    Blando ayre respirava al prado ameno.
    Ella cantava, y juntamente el seno
    Inchiendose yva de diversas flores,
    En que el prado era lleno
    Sobre verde variado en mil colores.

[195] For instance, the following passage in the second eclogue:--

        A que parte se es yda esta alma mia?
    Quien me la enseñarà? yo que hago aqui?
    Sin alguno de dos, que antes tenia?
    Que entr’ambas se ajuntáran contra mi?
    Solo dexado me han, ciego, y sin guia.
    Pareceos esto amor? dexarme ansi?
    Consigo no quisieran allà llevarme
    Ni buelto me han a ver, ni a consolarme.
        Como una llama por el monte ardiente,
    Que presto en alto buela, y no parece,
    De vista se nos pierde en continente,
    Y el humo turbio solo remanece,
    Otra tal claridad resplandeciente,
    Mientras mirando estava, eis se escurece
    Ansi tan presto? triste a donde yrè?
    Sin ti y allá sin ti, triste que harè?

[196] Can any thing be more charming than the following passage from
the seventh eclogue? A nymph gazes on a sleeping shepherd.

    Duerme el hermoso donzel,
        No zagal, no pastor, no,
        Mientras al sueño se diò,
        Mi alma diosele a el.
        El Sol es alto, y con el
        Del dia, es ido un buen trecho
        No sè que de mi se hà hecho,
        Serà lo que fuere del.
    Loca de mi, que a mirar
        Me puse, y dixe tal viendo,
        Quien tanto aplaze dormiendo,
        Despierto, que es de pensar?
        Quiseme luego apartar,
        No se quien me buelve aqui.
        Ah quan tarde que entendi,
        Que peligro es començar.

[197] For example, the apostrophe to the dead Diego, in the first

    Vete buen Diego en paz, que en esta tierra
        El plazer de oy no dura hasta mañana,
        Y dura mucho quanto desaplaze.
        Allâ aora no ves la vision vana,
        Que acá viviendo te hizo tanta guerra,
        Ardiendo el cuerpo que ora frio yaze,
        Lo que allà satisfaze
        A tus ya claros ojos,
        No son vanos antojos
        De que ay por estos cerros muchedumbre:
        Mas siempre una paz buena en clara lumbre:
        Contentamiento cierto te acompaña,
        No tanta pesadumbre,
        Como acà va por esta tierra estraña.

[198] For example, in the second eclogue:--

    Aur. Que quiere (ò mi Mauricio) dezir tal
        Huviar de perros como a la porfia?
        No se que sean cierto, es algun gran mal:
        Aves nocturnas buelvan entre dia;
        Lobos tan bravos de su natural,
        Buscan a la Aldea de la Serrania.
        No vees el mal gusano, y que pesares
        Se hà hecho de las viñas, y pomares?
    Una mula hà parido en nuestra Aldea,
        Y las vacas no paren; ayer cayò
        Del Cielo un breve que no ay quien lo lea
        Son crego, o frayle, que yà Missa cantò,
        Con dos cabeças (cosa estraña, y fea)
        Un potro, y con seispies (diz) que nascio.
        Como Gallos nos cantan las Gallinas,
        Y no se vieran ogaño Golondrinas.

[199] As for example, in the fifth eclogue:--

    Dime pastor de cabras alquilado,
        (Y no te enojes con la tal demanda,
        Que me echas un mal ojo atravessado)
    A quien embiò Toribia la guirlanda
        Que ella traya sobre sus cabellos?
        Cantando, con que boz, clara, y quan blanda?
    Y a quien embiava juntamente aquellos
        Sus ojos que d’Amor son corredores,
        Que se yva el mismo Amor embuelto en ellos?
    Mañana de San Juan, quando a las flores
        Y al agua todos salen, quien tal gala
        Viò nunca, y tal donayre entre pastores?
    Ora que parecia alli Pascuala?
        Y Menga que? Costança, y la Perona?
        Aquellas, que a su ver quien las yguala?
    Que gracia, que blandura, y que persona,
        Que color de una Rosa a la mañana,
        Que al despuntar del Sol s’abre y corona?

[200] The following is a specimen:--

    Sola me dexaste
        En aquel hiermo,
        Villano malo Gallego.
    Voyme a do te fuyste,
        Voyme no sè a donde.
        El valle responde,
        Tu no respondiste.
        Moça sola ay triste,
        Que llorando ciego
        Tu passaslo en juego.
    Por hiermos agenos
        Lloro, y grito en vano.
        Gallego, y villano,
        Que esperava yo menos?
        Ojos de agua llenos,
        Vòs pecho de fuego
        Quando avreis sossiego?

[201] The biographical notices of Jorge de Montemayor, prefixed to the
ninth volume of the Parnaso Español, do not exactly correspond with
those by Nicolas Antonio.

[202] Passages of real delicacy are not, however, wanting; for

    No me diste, o crudo amor,
        El bien que tuve en presencia,
        Sino porque el mal de ausencia
        Me parezca muy mayor.
    Das descanso, das reposo,
        No por dar contentamiento,
        Mas porque este el suffrimiento
        Algun tiempo ocioso:
        Ved que invenciones de Amor,
        Darme contento en presencia,
        Porque no tenga en ausencia
        Reparo contra el dolor.

[203] The following song, with which the lyric gallery opens, may be
quoted as an instance:--

      Cabellos, quanta mudança
    He visto despues que os vi,
    Y quan mal parece ay
    Essa color de esperanza.
      Bien pensava yo, cabellos,
    (Aunque con algun temor)
    Que no fuera otro pastor
    Digno de verse cabe ellos.
      Ay cabellos! quantos dias
    La mi Diana mirava,
    Si os traya, o si os dexava,
    Y otros cien mil niñerias?
      Y quantas vezes llorando
    Ay lagrimas engañosas
    Pedia celos de cosas
    De que yo estava burlando.
      Los ojos que me matavan,
    Dezid, dorados cabellos,
    Que culpa tuve en creellos
    Pues ellos me asseguravan.
      No vistes vos que algun dia
    Mil lagrimas derramava
    Hasta que yo le jurava
    Que sus palabras creya?
      Quien vio tanta hermosura
    En tan mudable sujeto?
    Y en amador tan perfeto
    Quien vio tanta desventura?
      O cabellos no os correys!
    Por venir de a do venistes,
    Viendome como me vistes,
    En verme como me veys.
      Sobre el arena sentada
    De aquel rio la vi yo,
    Do con el dedo escrivio
    _Antes muerta que mudada_.
      Mira el Amor que ordena
    Que os viene hazer creer
    Cosas dichas por muger
    Y escritas en el arena.

[204] For example, the following _Villancico_, which has been
frequently imitated:--

    Contentamientos de amor
      Que tan cansados llegays,
      Si venis, paraque os vays?
    Aun no acabays de venir
       Despues de muy desseados,
       Quando estays determinados
       De madrugar y partir,
       Si tan presto os aveys de yr,
       Y tan triste me dexays,
       Plazeres no me veays.
     Los contentos huyo dellos,
       Pues no me vienen à ver,
       Mas que por darme à entender
       Lo que se pierde en perdellos:
       Y pues ya no quiero vellos,
       Descontentos no os partays,
       Pues bolveys despues que os vays.

[205] One of the most beautiful lyrical pieces that ever was composed
in any language, is a cancion by Montemayor, of which the following are
the three first stanzas. Diana is supposed to be singing:--

        Ojos, que ya no veis quien os miraba
    quando erades espejo en que se via,
    qué cosa podeis ver que os dé contento?
    Prado florido y verde, dó algun dia
    por él mi dulce amigo yo esperaba,
    llorad conmigo el grave mal que siento.
    Aqui me declaró su pensamiento,
    oile yo cuitáda
    mas que serpiente ayrada,
    llamandole mil veces atrevido:
    y el triste alli rendido:
    parece que es ahora, y que le veo,
    y aun ese es mi deseo:
    ay si ahora le viese! ay tiempo bueno!
    Ribera umbrosa, qué es de mi Sireno?
        Aquella es la ribera, este es el prado,
    de allí parece el soto y valle umbroso
    que yo con mi rebaño repastaba:
    veis el arroyo dulce y sonoroso
    dó pacia la siesta mi ganado,
    quando mi dulce amigo aqui moraba,
    debajo aquella haya verde estaba;
    y veis alli el otero
    a dò le ví primero,
    y dò me vió, dichoso fue aquel dia,
    si la desdicha mia
    un tiempo tan dichoso no acabára.
    O haya, o fuente clara!
    todo está aqui, mas no por quien yo peno.
    Ribera umbrosa, qué es de mi Sireno?
        Aqui tengo un retrato que me engaña,
    pues veo a mi pastor quando lo veo,
    aunque en mi alma está mejor sacado:
    quando de velle llega el gran deseo,
    de quien el tiempo luego desengaña.
    A aquella fuente voy que está en el prado,
    arrimomele al sauce, y a su lado
    me siento, ay amor ciego!
    al agua miro luego,
    y veo él y a mì como le via
    quando él aqui vivia:
    esta invencion un rato me sustenta,
    despues caygo en la cuenta,
    y dice el corazon de ansias lleno:
    Ribera umbrosa, qué es de mi Sireno? &c.

[206] See vol. ii. of my History of Italian Poetry and Eloquence.

[207] For example:--

Considerava que sus servicios eran sin esperança de galardon, cosa que
a quien tuviera menos firmeza pudiera facilmente atajar el camino de
sus amores. Mas era tanta su constancia, que puesta en medio de todas
las causas la que tenia de olvidar a quien no se acordava del, salia
tan a su salvo dellas, y tan sin prejuyzio del amor que a su pastora
tenia, que sin miedo alguno acometia qualquiera imaginacion que en daño
de su fe le sobreviniesse. Pues como vio à Sireno junto à la fuente
quedo muy espantado de verle assi tan triste: no porque el ignorasse la
causa de su tristeza, mas porque le parecio que si el huviera recebido
el mas pequeño favor que Sireno algun tiempo recibio de Diana, aquel
contentamiento bastara para toda la vida tenerle.

[208] On one occasion, the beautiful Felismene calls love a _devilish_
passion. Lo que siento desta _endiablada_ passion, she says in the
second book.

[209] He thus describes the savage robbers by whom the nymphs are

Venian armados de cosseletes, y celadas de cuero de tigre:--eran de tan
fea catadura, que ponian espanto los cosseletes. Trayan por braçaletes
unas bocas de serpientes, por donde sacavan los braços, que gruessos
y vellosos parecian: y las celadas venian a hazer encima de la frente
unas espantables cabeças de leones. Lo de mas trayan desnudo, cubierto
de espesso y largo vello, unos bastones herrados de muy agudas puntas
de azero. Trayan al cuello sus arcos y flechas: los escudos eran de
unas conchas de pescado muy fuerte.

[210] For instance, the sage Felicia thus philosophizes on love and

En estos casos de amor tengo yo una regla, que siempre la he hallado
muy verdadera, y es que el animo generoso, y el entendimiento delicado,
en esto del querer bien, lleva grandissima ventaja al que no lo es.
Porque como el amor sea virtud, y la virtud siempre haga assiento en
le mejor lugar, esta claro que las personas de suerte seran muy mejor
enamorades que aquellas à quien esta falta.

[211] See the notices in Dieze’s remarks on Velasquez, p. 91, in which
the different editions of the Diana are likewise mentioned.

[212] Even this slender notice of the life of Herrera, which is partly
extracted from Nicolas Antonio, and partly from the seventh volume of
the _Parnaso Español_, seems to be rather matter of conjecture, than
historically authentic.

[213] He framed the new words, _reluchar_, _ovoso_, _purpurar_,
_ensañarse_, from the Castilian _luchar_, _ova_, _purpura_, and _saña_:
and he derived from the latin the words _beligero_, _flamigero_,

[214] Among the modern admirers of Herrera, Don Ramon Fernandez, in the
preface to the fifth volume of his collection of Spanish poems, speaks
with enthusiasm of the language of that poet. The fifth and sixth
volumes of the collection (Madrid 1786), contain the _Rimas de Fernando
de Herrera_.

[215] Occasionally his descriptions seem to be imitated from Petrarch,
though the imitation is, in some measure, concealed by the Spanish
style of expression; for example, in the following stanza:

        Ya subo a pena, y nunca descansando,
    Por yertos riscos, pasos despeñados,
    Ya en hondos valles baxo con presteza,
    Lugares de las fieras no tratados,
    El pensamiento en ellos variando.
    Un frio horror y subita tristeza.
    Roba el vigor, y engendra la flaqueza:
    Qualquier soplo de viento, que resuena
    Entre árboles desnudos quebrantado,
    Aqueja la esperanza y el cuidado,
    Que piensa ser la causa de su pena:
    Pero luego engañado
    Hallo el cuidado y la esperanza vana,
    Que, como sombra, se me va liviana;
    Mas luego en la memoria Amor despierta,
    Para cobrar su bien, la gloria muerta.

[216] The following is the commencement of one of the odes on the
battle of Lepanto, imitated from Horace’s _Descende cælo, Caliope_.

        Desciende de la cumbre de Parnaso,
    Cantando dulcemente en noble lira,
    O tú, de eterna juventud, Talia,
    Y nuevo aliento al corazon me inspira
    Aqui, donde el torcido y luengo paso
    Betis al hondo mar corriente envia;
    Porque de la voz mia
    Suene el canto, y florezca la memoria
    Hasta el término roxo de oriente,
    Y do al Númida ardiente
    Abrasa Iperion; y en alta gloria
    El nombre de la insigne Esperia planta;
    Que de Córdoba y Cerda se levanta,
    Aquiste honor; y al zéfiro templado
    Ensalce este Lucero venerado.
        Los despojos, y en árboles alzados
    Los insignes trofeos, el sangriento
    Conflicto del feroz dudoso Marte;
    Las enseñas, que mueve en torno el viento;
    Los presos, y los Reynos conquistados
    Con segura prudencia, esfuerzo, y arte;
    Que dieron tanta parte
    De la rota, y herida, y muerta Francia
    Al que fue prez y honor del orbe Hispano;
    Que al sobervio Otomano
    Quebró en las Jonias ondas la arrogancia,
    Y en la Ausonia adquirió el heroyco nombre
    Con mas valor, que cabe en mortal hombre;
    Con alas de vitoria al fin levantan
    Las vitorias, que Europa y Asia cantan.

[217] In the original, the extravagance of this pompous rodomontade is
still more striking:

        Todo quanto al terrestre el cuerpo alienta,
    De la celeste fuerza deducido,
    Se halla en vos casi en igual efeto.
    De vos el fixo globo, y el tendido
    Humor, y el vago cerca se sustenta,
    Y el ardor de las llamas inquieto:
    Que con vigor secreto
    A tierra y agua, al ayre y puro fuego,
    Qual eterea virtud, y las estrellas,
    Son vuestras obras bellas
    La tierra, la agua, el ayre, el puro fuego.
    O glorioso cielo en nuestro suelo!
    O suelo glorioso con tal cielo!
    Quièn podrá celebrar vuestra nobleza?
    Quièn osará alabar vuestra belleza?

[218] In the following, from one of his odes on the battle of Lepanto,
the style of the Hebrew psalms is imitated with happy effect.

        El sobervio Tirano, confiado
    En el grande aparato de sus naves,
    Que de los nuestros la cerviz cautiva,
    Y las manos aviva
    Al ministerio injusto de su estado,
    Derribò con los brazos suyos graves
    Los cedros mas excelsos de la cima;
    Y el árbol, que mas yerto se sublima,
    Bebiendo agenas aguas, y atrevido
    Pisando el vando nuestro y defendido.
        Temblaron los pequeños, confundidos
    Del impio furor suyo, alzó la frente
    Contra tí, Señor Dios; y con semblante
    Y con pecho arrogante,
    Y los armados brazos estendidos,
    Movió el ayrado cuello aquel potente:
    Cercó su corazon de ardiente saña
    Contra las dos Esperias, que el mar baña;
    Porque en tí confiadas le resisten,
    Y de armas de tu fe y amor se visten.
        Dixo aquel insolente y desdeñoso;
    No conocen mis iras estas tierras,
    Y de mis padres los ilustres hechos?
    O valieron sus pechos
    Contra ellos con el Ungaro medroso,
    Y de Dalmacia y Rodas en las guerras?
    Quién las pudo librar? quien de sus manos
    Pudo salvar los de Austria y los Germanos?
    Podrá su Dios, podrá por suerte ahora
    Guardallas de mi diestra vencedora?

[219] The whole ode may be transcribed here, as a specimen of Herrera’s
lyric composition in the ode style:--

        Suave sueño, tú que en tarde buelo
    Las alas perezosas blandamente
    Bates, de adormideras coronado,
    Por el puro, adormido, y vago cielo;
    Ven á la última parte de ocidente,
    Y de licor sagrado
    Baña mis ojos tristes, que cansado,
    Y rendido al furor de mi tormento,
    No admito algun sosiego,
    Y el dolor desconorta al sufrimiento.
    Ven à mi humilde ruego,
    Ven à mi ruego humilde, ó amor de aquella,
    Que Juno te ofreció, tu ninfa bella.
        Divino sueño, gloria de mortales,
    Regalo dulce al misero afligido,
    Sueño amoroso, ven á quien espera
    Cesar del exercicio de sus males,
    Y al descanso volver todo el sentido.
    Cómo sufres, que muera
    Lejos de tu poder, quien tuyo era?
    No es dureza olvidar un solo pecho
    En veladora pena,
    Que sin gozar del bien, que al mundo has hecho,
    De tu vigor se agena?
    Ven, sueño alegre, sueño ven dichoso,
    Vuelve à mi alma ya, vuelve el reposo.
        Sienta yo en tal estrecha tu grandeza;
    Baxa, y esparce liquido el rocio;
    Huya la Alva, que en torno resplandece;
    Mira mi ardiente llanto y mi tristeza,
    Y quánta fuerza tiene el pesar mio,
    Y mi frente humedece,
    Que ya de fuegos juntos el sol crece.
    Torna, sabroso sueño, y tus hermosas
    Alas suenen ahora;
    Y huya con sus alas presurosas
    La desabrida Aurora:
    Y lo que en mí faltó la noche fria,
    Termine la cercana luz del dia.
        Una corona, ó sueño, de tus flores
    Ofrezco, tu produce el blando efeto
    En los desiertos cercos de mis ojos;
    Que el ayre entretexido con olores
    Halaga, y ledo mueve en dulce afeto;
    Y de estos mis enojos
    Destierra, manso sueño, los despojos,
    Ven pues, amado sueño, ven liviano,
    Que del rico oriente
    Despunta el tierno Febo el rayo cano.
    Ven ya, sueño clemente,
    Y acabará el dolor, a si te vea
    En brazos de tu cara Pasitea.

[220] I have perused two different editions of Herrera’s poems: 1st.
an old one, entitled, _Versos de Fernando de Herrera_, &c. Sevilla,
1619, in quarto; and 2nd. the more modern edition, already mentioned,
published by Ramon Fernandez, which contains some poems not before


        A dó tienes la luz, Espero mio,
    La luz, gloria y honor del Ocidente?
    Estás puesto en el cielo reluciente
    En importuno tiempo, y seco estio?
        Lleva tu resplandor al sacro rio,
    Que tu belleza espera alegremente,
    Y el zéfiro te sea otro oriente,
    Hecho lucero, y no Espero tardio.
        Merezca Betis fértil tanta gloria,
    Que solo el destas luces illustrado
    A tierra y cielo lleva la vitoria.
        Que tu belleza y resplandor sagrado
    Hará perpetuo, de immortal memoria,
    Mientras corriere al mar arrebatado.


    Yo vì a mi dulce Lumbre, que esparcia
    Sus crespas ondas de oro al manso viento.

[223] It is annexed to Herrera’s edition of the _Obras de Garcilaso de
la Vega_. _Sevilla_, 1580, 4_to._

[224] The following is the original Spanish of the passage here cited,
with a part of the continuation, which is all in the same style:--

Conviene que la elegia sea candida, blanda, tierna, suave, delienda,
tersa, clara i, si con esto se puede declarar, noble, congoxosa en
los afetos, i que los mueva en toda parte, ni mui hinchada, ni mui
umilde, no oscura con esquisitas sentencias i fabulas mui buscadas;
que tenga frequente comiseracion, quexas, esclamaciones, apostrofos,
prosopopeyas, escursos o parébases, el ornato della à de ser mas
limpio i reluziente, que peinado i compuesto curiosamente i porque
los escritores de versos amorosos o esperan, o desesperan, o deshazen
sus pensamientos, i induzen otros nuevos, i los mudan i pervierten,
o ruegan, o se quexan, o alegran, o alaban la hermosura de su dama,
o esplican su propria vida, i cuentan sus fortunas con los demas
sentimientos del animo, que ellos declaran en varias ocasiones;
conviniendo que este genero de poesia sea misto, que aora habla el
poeta, aora introduze otra persona.

[225] There is a life of Luis de Leon, prefixed to the latest edition
of his _Obras propias y traducciones_ (Valencia, 1762, 8vo.) by
Mayans y Siscar; it is, however, confusedly and carelessly written.
The biographical memoir prefixed to the sixth volume of the _Parnaso
Español_ is better.

[226] This statement occurs in the dedication prefixed to his
explanation of the sixty-second Psalm, addressed to the Grand
Inquisitor, Cardinal Don Caspar de Quiroga.

[227] Apartado no solo de la conversacion y compañia de los hombres,
sino tambien de la vista, por casi cinque años estuve cercado en una
carcel y en tinieblas. Entonces gozava yo de tal quietud y alegria de
animo, que agora muchas vezes echo menos, aviendo sido restituido a la
luz, y gozando del trato de los hombres, que me son amigos.

[228] See the dedication of his poems to Don Pedro Portocarrero.

[229] How highly Cervantes esteemed Luis de Leon, may be seen from a
passage in his Galatea, in which one of the characters says:--

    Fray Luis de Leon es quel que digo,
    A quien yo reverencio, _adoro_, y sigo.

[230] The first ode commences thus:--

        Que descansada vida
    la del que huye el mundanal ruido,
    y sigue la escondida
    senda, por donde han ido
    los pocos sabios que en el mundo han sido.
        Que no le enturbia el pecho
    de los sobervios grandes el estado,
    ni del dorado techo
    se admira fabricado
    del sabio Moro, en jaspes sustentado.
        No cura si la fama
    canta con voz su nombre pregonera,
    ni cura si encarama
    la lengua lisonjera
    lo què condena la verdad sincera.

[231] For example, in the following stanzas from the same ode:--

        Del monte en la ladera
    por mi mano plantado tengo un huerto,
    que con la Primavera
    de bella flor cubierto
    ya muestra en esperança el fruto cierto.
        Y como codiciosa,
    por ver y acrecentar su hermosura,
    desde la cumbre ayrosa
    una fontana pura
    hasta llegar corriendo se ápresura.
        Y luego sossegada,
    el passo entre los arboles torciendo,
    el suelo de passada
    de verdura vistiendo,
    y con diversas flores va esparciendo.

[232] For example in the stanza:--

    En vano el mar fatiga
    La vela _Portuguesa_, que ni _el seno_
    _De Persia_, ni la amiga
    _Malacca_ da arbol bueno,
    Que pueda hacer un animo sereno.

[233] The following is the best half:--

        Quando contemplo el cielo
    de innumerables luces adornado,
    y miro hazia el suelo
    de noche rodeado,
    en sueño y en olvido sepultado;
        El amor y la pena
    despiertan en mi pecho un ansia ardiente,
    despide larga vena
    los ojos hechos fuente,
    Oloarte, y digo al fin con voz doliente:
        Morada de grandeza,
    templo de claridad y hermosura,
    el alma que al tu alteza
    naciò, que desventura
    la tiene en esta carcel baxa escura?
        Que mortal desatino
    de la verdad alexa assi el sentido,
    que de tu bien divino
    olvidado, perdido
    sigue la vana sombra, el bien fingido?


        Quando serà que pueda
    libre desta prision bolar al cielo,
    Felipe, y en la rueda,
    que huye mas del suelo,
    contemplar la verdad pura sin duelo?
        Alli à mi vida junto,
    en luz resplandeciente convertido,
    verè distinto y junto
    lo que es, y lo que ha sido,
    y su principio propio y ascondido.
        Entonces verè como
    la soberana mano echò el cimiento
    tan à nivel y plomo,
    do estable y firme assiento
    possee el pesadissimo elemento.
        Verè las inmortales
    colunas, do la tierra està fondada,
    las lindes y señales
    con que à la mar hinchada
    la providencia tiene aprisionada.

[235] The whole ode, which breathes a spirit of tender piety according
to allegorical Christian ideas, well deserves to be once more

        Alma region luciente,
    prado de bien andança, que ni al hielo,
    ni con el rayo ardiente
    fallece, fertil suelo,
    producidor eterno de consuelo.
        De purpura y de nieve
    florida la cabeça coronado,
    à dulces pastos mueve
    sin honda ni cayado
    el buen pastor en ti su hato amado.
        El va, y en pos dichosas
    le siguen sus ovejas, do las pace
    con inmortales rosas,
    con flor que siempre nace,
    y quanto mas se goza, mas renace.
        Y dentro à la montaña
    del alto bien las guia, ya en la vena
    del gozo fiel las baña,
    y les da mesa llena,
    pastor y pasto el solo y suerte buena.
        Y de su esfera quando
    a cumbre toca altissimo subido
    el Sol, el sesteando,
    de su hato ceñido,
    con dulce son deleyta el santo oido.
        Toca el rabel sonoro,
    y el inmortal dulçor al alma passa,
    con que envilece el oro,
    y ardiendo se traspassa,
    y lança en aquel bien libre de tassa.
        O son, ò voz si quiera
    pequeña parte alguna decendiese
    en mi sentido, y fuera
    de si el alma pusiesse,
    y toda en ti, ò amor, la convirtiese.
        Conoceria donde
    sesteas dulce esposo, y desatada
    desta prision adonde
    padece, à tu manada
    vivirè junta, sin vagar errada.

[236] These poems, by Luis de Leon, which up to a late period
remained unknown, may be found in the fifth volume of the _Parnaso
Español_. They are all on religious subjects. The longest is entitled,
_Renunciacion al mundo, y conversion de un pecador_: and is probably
one of the earliest fruits of the youthful piety of the poet.

[237] This observation occurs in the dedication to Pedro Portocarrero,
already mentioned.

[238] For example, the first eclogue:--

    M. Tu Tityro à la sombra descansando
       desta tendida haya, con la avena
       el verso pastoril vas acordando.
       Nosotros desterrados, tu sin pena
       cantas de tu pastora alegre ocioso,
       y tu pastora el valle y monte suena.

    T. Pastor, este descanso tan dichoso
       Dios me le concediò, que reputado
       serà de mi por Dios aquel piadoso,
           Y bañarà con sangre su sagrado
       altar muy muchas veces el cordero
       tierno, de mis ganados degollado,
           Que por su beneficio soy vaquero,
       y canto como ves pastorilmente
       lo que me da contento, y lo que quiero; &c.

[239] The ode _Integer vitæ scelerisque purus_ commences as follows in
Luis de Leon’s translation:--

        El hombre justo y bueno,
    el que de culpa està y mancilla puro,
    las manos en el seno,
    sin dardo, ni zagaya va seguro,
    y sin llevar cargada
    la aljava de saeta enervolada.
        O vaya por la arena
    ardiente de la Libia ponçoñosa,
    ò vaya por do suena
    de Hidaspes la corriente fabulosa,
    ò por la tierra cruda
    de nieve llena y de piedad desnuda.
        De mi se que al encuentro,
    mientras por la montaña vagueando
    mas de lo justo entro
    sin armas, y de Lalage cantando,
    me vido, y mas ligero
    que rayo huyò un lobo carnicero.


    El agua es bien precioso,
    y entre el rico tesoro,
    como el ardiente fuego en noche escura,
    ansi relumbra el oro.
    Mas, alma, si es sabroso
    cantar de las contiendas la ventura
    ansi como en la altura
    no ay rayo mas luciente
    que el Sol, que Rey del dia
    por todo el yermo cielo se demuestra:
    ansi es mas excelente
    la Olimpica porfia
    de todas las que canta la vos nuestra,
    materia abundante,
    donde todo elegante
    ingenio alça la voz ora cantando
    de Rea y de Saturno el engendrado,
    y juntamente entrando
    al techo de Hieron alto preciado.
        Hieron el que mantiene
    el cetro merecido
    del abundoso cielo Siciliano,
    y dentro en si cogido
    lo bueno y la flor tiene
    de quanto valor cabe en pecho humano:
    y con maestra mano
    discanta señalado
    en la mas dulce parte
    del canto, la que infunde mas contento,
    y en el banquete amado
    mayor dulçor reparte.
    Mas toma ya el laud, si el sentimiento
    con dulces fantasias
    te colma y alegrias
    la gracia de Phernico, el que en Alfeo
    bolando sin espuela en la carrera,
    y venciendo el deseo
    del amo, le cobró la voz primera, &c.

[241] These sermons are highly eulogized by Mayans y Siscar in the
_Oracion en que se exhorta a seguir la verdadera idea de la eloquencia
Española_; if indeed Mayans really be the author of that discourse. It
is contained in the first volume of the _Origenes de la lengua Esp._ p.

[242] There is a copy of the second edition of Luis de Leon’s _Perfecta
Casada_, printed at Salamanca in 1586, in quarto, in the library of the
university of Göttingen.

[243] Velasquez passes him over in silence. The _Parnaso Español_, tom.
ii. contains some specimens of his poetry, together with a notice of
his life.

[244] The commencement of one of his elegies may serve as a specimen.

        A la sazon que se nos muestra llena
    la tierra de cien mil varias colores,
    y comienza su llanto Filomena:
        Quando partido Amor en mil amores
    produce en todo corazon humano
    como en la tierra el tiempo nuevas flores:
        Al pie de un monte, en un florido llano,
    a sombra de una haya en la verdura,
    cataba triste su dolor Silvano:
        Y asegundaba voz en su tristura
    el agua que bajaba con sonido
    de una fuente que nace en el altura:
        Pastor en todo el valle conocido,
    a quien la Musa pastoral ha dado
    un estilo en cantar dulce y subido. &c.

[245] For example:--

        Si Apolo tanta gracia
    en mi rustica citara pusiese
    como en la del de Tracia,
    y quando se moviese,
    desde el un Polo al otra el són se oyese,
        Y a los desiertos frios
    pudiese dar calor, y refrenáse
    el curso de los rios,
    las piedras levantáse,
    y tras el dulce canto las lleváse,
        Jamás le ocuparia
    en claros hechos de la antigua historia,
    mas solo cantarìa
    para inmortal memoria
    el tiempo de mi pena, y de mi gloria. &c.

[246] Some of Gutierre de Cetina’s poems have been printed from
manuscript by Sedano, in his _Parnaso Español_, vols. vii. viii. and
ix. together with a short biographical notice of the author.

[247] The following is an anacreontic song by this author:--

        De tus rubios cabellos,
    Dorida ingrata mia,
    hizo el amor la cuerda
    para el arco homicida.
        A hora veras sí burlas
    de mi poder, decia:
    y tomando un flecha
    quiso a mì dirigirla.
        Yo le dije: muchacho
    arco y harpon retira:
    con esas nuevas armas,
    quién hay que te resista?

[248] The following is one of them:--

        Ojos claros serenos,
    si de dulce mirar sois alabados,
    por qué si me mirais, mirais ayrados?
    Si quanto mas piadosos,
    mas bellos pareceis a quien os mira,
    por qué a mí solo me mirais con ira?
    Ojos claros serenos,
    ya que asi me mirais, miradme al menos.

[249] The following stanza is from a cancione on his mistress’s hair.
The lady’s tresses must have been of a very fiery red.

    En la _esfera del fuego_
    de su calor mas fuerte
    de tus cabellos fue el color sacado,
    _cuya calidad luego
    dió nuevas de mi muerte
    al yelo_ que _en tu pecho_ está encerrado;
    a si será forzado,
    entre contrarios puesto
    que mi vivir se acabe,
    porque en razon no cabe
    sufrir tanta crueldad quien vió tu gesto,
    si hay _fuego y hielo_ entre ellos,
    quién se guardará de ellos?

[250] The fourth volume of the _Parnaso Español_ contains a long
eclogue by Pedro de Padilla.

[251] Bibliographic notices of the works of Padilla, may be found in
Dieze’s Remarks on Velasquez, p. 194.

[252] Cervantes in the condemnation of the library of Don Quixote,
exempts Gil Polo’s _Diana enamorada_, adding, that the book ought to be
as much respected, “as though Apollo himself had written it.”

[253] For instance, in the following:--

    No es ciego Amor, mas yo lo soy, que guio
        mi voluntad camino del tormento:
        no es niño Amor: mas yo que en un momento
        espero y tengo miedo, lloro y rio.
    Nombrar llamas de Amor es desvario,
        su fuego es el ardiente y vivo intento,
        sus alas son mi altivo pensamiento,
        y la esperanza vana en que mi fio.
    No tiene Amor cadenas, ni saëtas,
        para prender y herir libres y sanos,
        que en él no hay mas poder del que le damos.
    Porque es Amor mentira de poetas,
        sueño de locos, idolo de vanos:
        mirad qué negro Dios el que adoramos.

[254] The following stanzas will afford an adequate idea of the
colloquial song to which they belong, and which presents equal beauty

    Mientras el Sol sus rayos muy ardientes
        con tal furia y rigor al mundo envia,
        que de Nymphas la casta compañia
        por los sombrios mora, y por las fuentes:
    Y la cigarra el canto replicando,
        se està quejando,
        pastora canta,
        con gracia tanta,
        que enternescido
        de haverte oído,
        al poderoso cielo de su grado
        fresco liquor envie al seco prado.
    Mientras está el mayor de los planetas
        en medio del oriente y del ocaso,
        y al labrador en descubierto raso
        mas rigurosas tira sus saëtas:
    Al dulce murmurar de la corriente
        de aquesta fuente
        mueve tal canto,
        que cause espanto,
        y de contentos
        los bravos vientos
        el impetu furioso refrenando,
        vengan con manso espiritu soplando.

[255] The following is a specimen of _rimas Franceses_ by Gil Polo:--

    De flores matizadas se vista el verde prado,
        retumbe el hueco bosque de voces deleytosas,
        olor tengan mas fino las coloradas rosas,
        floridos ramos mueva el viento sossegado.
    El rio apressurado
        sus aguas acresciente,
        y pues tan libre queda la fatigada gente
        del congojoso llanto,
        moved, hermosas Nymphas, regocijado canto.

[256] The following is by no means the worst of these enigmas.

    Vide un soto levantado
        sobre los aynes un dia,
        el qual con sangre regado,
        con gran ansia cultivado,
        Muchas hierbas producia.
    De alli un manojo arrancando,
        y solo con él tocando
        una sàbia y cuerda gente,
        la dejé cabe una puente
        sin dolores lamentando.

Who would guess that the object alluded to is a _horse’s tail_?

[257] A new and elegant edition of Gaspar Gil Polo’s _Diana enamorada_,
enriched with a copious Commentary on the _Canto de Turia_, appeared at
Madrid in 1778.

[258] See Dieze’s edition of Velasquez, p. 419. The chapter on the
idyl is totally distinct from that which treats of the eclogues of the

[259] See my History of Italian Literature, vol. ii.

[260] Dieze in his Remarks on Velasquez, p. 381, gives bibliographic
notices of these, and of other epic productions of the Spaniards.

[261] The title is rather curious:--_Del Metamorphoseos de Ovidio,
otava rima, traducido por Felipe Mey, &c. Con otras cosas del mesmo._
Tarragona, 1586, in 8vo.

[262] Further particulars relative to the history of these
translations, may be found in Dieze’s Remarks on Velasquez, p. 198, &c.

[263] Among others Velasquez.

[264] For example:--

    Pues la santa Inquisicion
        suele ser tan diligente,
        en castigar con razon
        qualquier secta y opinion
        levantada nuevamente;
        Resucitese luzero,
        a castigar en España
        una muy nueva y estraña,
        como aquella de Lutero
        en las partes de Alemaña.
    Bien se pueden castigar
        a cuenta de Anabaptistas,
        pues por ley particular
        se tornan a baptizar,
        y se llaman Petrarquistas.
        Han renegado la fè
        de las trobas Castellanas,
        y tras las Italianas
        se pierden, diziendo, que
        son mas ricas y galanas.

[265] On this subject he says:--

    Coplas dulces plazenteras,
        no pecan en liviandad,
        pero pierde autoridad,
        quien las escrive de veras.
        Y entremete,
        el seso por alcahuete,
        en los mysterios de amor
        quanto mas si el trobador,
        passa ya del cavallete.
    Y algunos ay, yo lo se,
        que hazen obras fundadas
        de coplas enamoradas,
        sin tener causa porque.
        Y esto està
        en costumbre tanto ya,
        que muchos escriven penas,
        por remedas las agenas,
        sin saber quien se las da.

[266] The following, which is one of his most successful productions,
must be transcribed at length, since the beauty of any detached passage
would suffer from want of connection.

    Por unas huertas hermosas,
        vagando muy linda Lida
        texio de lyrios y rosas
        blancas, frescas, y olorosas,
        una guirnalda florida.
        Y andando en esta labor,
        viendo a deshora al Amor
        en las rosas escondido,
        con las que ella avia texido,
        le prendio como a traydor.
    El muchacho no domado
        que nunca penso prenderse,
        viendose preso y atado,
        al principio muy ayrado,
        pugnava por defenderse.
        Y en sus alas estrivando
        forcejava peleando,
        y tentava (aunque desnudo,)
        de desatarse del ñudo
        para valerse bolando.
    Pero viendo la blancura
        que sus tetas descubrian,
        como leche fresca y pura,
        que a su madre en hermosura
        ventaja no conocian,
        y su rostro, que encender
        era bastante, y mover
        (con su mucha loçania)
        los mismos Dioses; pedia
        para dexarse vencer.
    Buelto a Venus, a la hora
        hablandole desde alli,
        dixo, madre, Emperadora,
        desde oy mas, busca señora
        un nuevo Amor para ti.
        Y esta nueva, con oylla,
        no te mueva, o de manzilla,
        que aviendo yo de reynar,
        este es el proprio lugar,
        en que se ponga mi silla.

[267] I have before me the same copy of which Dieze in his Remarks on
Velasquez, p. 197, gives a bibliographic description. This copy, which
did not pass the censorship of the Inquisition, is remarkable for a
trick of the bookseller, who has affixed to it a title-page without a
date, and at the end two leaves with a false privilege.

[268] For instance, one to Doña Ana de Xomburg begins thus:--

    Vuestros lindos ojos Ana
        quien me dexasse gozallos,
        y tantas vezes besallos
        quantas me pide la gana,
        con que vivo de mirallos;
        Darles ìa
        cien mil besos cada dia,
        y aunque fuessen un millon,
        mi penado coraçon
        nunca harto se veria.
    O quan bien aventurado
        es aquel que puede estar,
        do os pueda ver y hablar
        sin perderse de turbado,
        como yo suelo quedar.
        Ay de mi,
        que ante vos despues que os ví,
        y quedè de vos herido,
        no ay en mi ningun sentido
        que sepa parte de si.

[269] The song addressed to Ana de Xomburg, quoted above, ends with a
burlesque joke:--

    Si  segun lo que padezco
        pudiendolo yo dezir,
        merced os he de pedir,
        mucho mayor la merezo,
        que la puedo recebir.
        Mas no pido
        pago tan descomedido,
        que es demandar gollorias,
        porquè no dire en mis dias
        lo que esta noche he sufrido.
    No  quiero que hagays nada,
        sino que solo querays;
        que si vos aqui llegays,
        yo doy fin a la jornada
        donde vos la començays.
        Y os espero,
        porque llegando primero
        de vos aveys de llegar,
        vamos despues a la par,
        que es trabajo plazentero.

[270] The following is on the indisposition of a mistress:--

    Ese mal que da tormento
        a vuessa merced señora
        en vos tiene el aposento,
        mas yo soy el que lo siento,
        y mi alma quien lo llora.
        Y de pura compassion
        de veros sin alegria,
        se me quiebra el coraçon,
        vos sentis vuestra passion,
        mas yo la vuestra y la mia.

[271] In the original this Spanish Ranz de Vache is uncommonly simple
and pretty:--

    Guardame las vacas,
    Carillejo, y besarte he;
    Sino, besame tu a mi,
    Que yo te las guardarè.

[272] A predisposition to yield to temptation, is thus attributed to

    _Alle._ Ella fue consentidora,
            y cobrò subitamente
            mal siniestro,
            para mal y daño nuestro:
            y pues fraude entre ellos uvo,
            que se espera de quien tuvo
            al diablo por maestro.

    _Fil._  Si el callara
            ella nunca le buscara.

    _Alle._ Puede ser, mas si el no viera
            primero quien ella era,
            por dicha no la tentara
            para mal.
            Y pues era el principal
            Adam en aquel vergel,
            porque no le tentò a el?
            sino por verle leal
            y constante.

[273] The following lines afford a fair specimen of the style of the
whole dialogue.

    _Fil._  Quando Dios lo criò todo,
            y formò el hombre primero,
            ya veys que como a grossero
            lo hizo de puro lodo.
            Mas a Eva,
            para testimonio y prueva,
            que devemos preferilla,
            sacola de la costilla
            por obra sutil y nueva.
            Y mandò
            que el hombre que assi criò,
            padre y madre dexasse,
            y a la muger se juntasse,
            que por consorte le dio
            mandandosela guardar
            como a su propria persona,
            por espejo y por corona
            en que se deve mirar.

[274] The following passage from a satire on _Court Life_, is tolerably
characteristic of Castillejo’s whole course of thought in works of this

    La quarta gente granada
        que navegan con buen norte,
        a quien es licencia dada
        de la vivienda en la Corte.
        Son aquellos
        que la mandan, y en pos de ellos
        se va la gente goloca,
        y algunos por los cabellos,
        aunque muestran otra cosa.
        Estos son,
        los que en la governacion
        tienen poder, y con ello
        harto cuydado y passion,
        pero al fin, con padecello
        se enriquecen:
        estos son los que parecen
        al mundo cosa divina,
        y les sirven y obedecen,
        con diligencia contina,
        muy crecida.

[275] See page 131.

[276] The only unadulterated source from which all authors have
hitherto derived their information relative to the earliest history
of the Spanish drama, is Cervantes’s well known preface to his _Ocho
Comedias y Entremeses_, an edition of which was published in two vols.
quarto, by Blas Nasarre, at Madrid, in 1749. To this may be added the
preface of the editor, Blas Nasarre, though it is but of secondary
value, and has given occasion to singular mistakes. The article
_Comödie_, in Blankenburg’s appendix to Sulzer’s dictionary, though
rather obscure, communicates some useful facts.

[277] Velasquez, in his History of Spanish Poetry, alludes but very
distantly to the heterogeneous nature of the Spanish dramas; and Dieze
is not more satisfactory in his Remarks. What is contained in Flögel’s
History of Comic Literature, vol. iv. respecting the origin of the
Spanish drama, is copied from Velasquez and other modern writers.
Signorelli has more novelty of information in his _Storia Critica de
Teatri_, vol. iv. but he confounds the notices one with another, and
reasons on the Spanish drama merely as a moral critic.

[278] This translation, which is only remarkable on account of the
reputation of its author, may be found in the _Obras del Maestro Perez
de Oliva_, Cordova, 1586, in 4to.

[279] Velasquez and Dieze, p. 315, give further notices of these

[280] See page 132.

[281] _Tragedia Policiana, en que se tratan los amores--executadas
por la industria de la diabolica Vieja Claudina, &c._ The title is a
sufficient specimen of the work. See Velasquez and Dieze, p. 312.

[282] Dieze in his Remarks on Velasquez, gives a further account of
these works. He also notices a second Cœlestina, (_Segunda Comedia de

[283] These writers are Nicolas Antonio, and Blas Nasarre, the editor
of the comedies of Cervantes.

[284] This collection of the plays and other poems of Naharro is
mentioned by Nicolas Antonio, and also by Dieze. I have never seen it:
and in the numerous collections of Spanish dramas by various authors,
with which I am acquainted, I have sought in vain for the productions
of Naharro. Blankenburg speaks of them as if he had read them; and
Signorelli expressly says, that he has perused them all. Among the
passages quoted by the latter, in order to justify the contemptuous
tone in which he criticises the writings of Naharro, is a line of
corrupt Portuguese. May not this be Galician? The modern comic writers
of Spain occasionally make their clowns converse in the Galician

[285] Cervantes attributes to himself the invention of dividing a drama
into three _jornadas_. How happens this? Cervantes was a vain man,
but not an empty boaster. He seems to have been totally unacquainted
with the dramas of Naharro, but he might have heard of the division of
plays into three _jornadas_, without retaining a distinct recollection
of the fact. In this way his memory may have deceived him, when he
supposed that the division originated with himself. And yet it is
singular enough that in his Galathea, he mentions, among other poets,
the _artificioso Torres Naharro_.

[286] Concerning these collections, see Dieze’s Remarks on Velasquez,
p. 316. I am acquainted with only two:--one is entitled, _Los Coloquios
Pastoriles de muy agraziada y apacible prosa, &c. por el excellente
poeta, y gracioso representante Lope de Rueda, sacados a luz por Juan
Timoneda; Sevilla_ 1576, in small octavo, printed in gothic characters.
The other is entitled: _Las segundas dos Comedias de Rueda_, without
date, but printed in the same type and form as the first mentioned

[287] The following specimen of the dialogue of these comedies is from
a scene in which a clown quarrels with his wife:--

    _Gine._ Aun teneis lengua para hablar, anima de cantaro?

    _Pablo._ Dote al diabro muger, no ternas un poco de miramiento.
    Si quiera por las barbas de la merced que esta delante.

    _Gine._ He callad anima de campana.

    _Pab._ Que es anima de campana, muger?

    _Gine._ Que? badajo como vos.

    _Pab._ Badajo a vuestro marido? deme essegar rote vuessa merced.

    _Gine._ Assi, garrote para mi, al fin no seriades vos hijo de
    Guarniço el enxalmador, cura bestias.

    _Pab._ Y parescete a ti mal, porque sea hijo de bendicion.

    _Camilo._ Ay amarga, y como hijo de bendicion? &c.

[288] The emphatic praises of the publisher of the _Parnaso Español_,
represent Juan de la Cueva as a poet of the first rank. See the
literary notices prefixed to the eighth volume of that collection. The
works of Cueva are there mentioned with the dates of their various
editions. See also Dieze’s Remarks on Velasquez, p. 202.

[289] It may be found in the eighth vol. of the _Parnaso Español_ as it
was first printed.

[290] He thus expresses himself relative to the changes which the drama
has undergone:--

    Este mudanza fue de _hombres prudentes_
    Aplicando a las nuevas condiciones
    Nuevas cosas, que son las convenientes.


    Mas _la invencion, la gracia y traza es propia
    A la ingeniousa fabula de España_,
    No qual dicen sus emulos impropia.
    Scenas y actos suple la _maraña_
    Tan intricada, y la soltera de ella,
    _Inimitable de ningun estraña_.


    A mi me culpan ...
    Que el un acto de cinco le he quitado,
    _Que reduci los actos en jornadas_,
    Qual vemos que _es en nuestro tiempo usado_.

[293] See the preface of Blas Nasarre, the latest editor of the plays
of Cervantes.

[294] This at least is stated by Nasarre.

[295] See the account prefixed to the sixth vol. of the Parnaso
Español, and Dieze’s Remarks on Velasquez, p. 200.

[296] _Primeras tragedias Españoles, de Antonio de Silva_, is the title
of the edition which I have now before me, published at Madrid, in
1577, in 8vo.

[297] This piece of silly adulation, is entitled _Hesperodia_; that is
to say, evening song or morning song. The former, however, appears to
be the more appropriate title, since the author doubtless wrote it in
his old age. It has been drawn from the obscurity in which it ought to
have remained, and printed in the eighth vol. of the Parnaso Español.
Bermudez, in an affected strain of language, and with true Dominican
fanaticism, extols the monstrous barbarity with which the great Duke
of Alba persecuted the heretics of the Netherlands, and made “the cold
northern waters flow the more fiercely from the infusion of warm blood.”

[298] Under these titles they are reprinted in the _Parnaso Español_,
vol. vi.

[299] It commences in the following manner:--

    Otro cielo, otro sol, me parece este,
    del que gozava yo sereno, y claro,
    alla de donde vengo, ay triste cielo,
    como en ti veo el tranze de mis hados.
    Ay que donde no veo aquellos ojos,
    que alumbran estos mios, quanto veo
    me pone horror, y grima, y se me antoja.
    Mas triste que la noche, y mas escuro,
    alla (ay dolor) los dexo alla en Coymbra
    tierra donde parò la hedad dorada,
    ò que no es tierra aquella, parayso
    la llamo de deleytes y frescuras.
    Alli tan claro es todo que aun la noche
    mas dia me parescè que de dia,
    alli es esmalte del florido suelo,
    mas que estrellado cielo representa;
    alli el concento de las avezillas,
    es un reclame dulze de las almas.

[300] A few lines of this scene will serve to shew how Bermudez has
imitated the dialogic antitheses of the Greek tragedy.

    _In._ Adonde huyre porque me dexen?

    _Se._ Huyr auras de ti por tu remedio.

    _In._ Ya no me vale hazer lo que no puedo.

    _Se._ Tu mismo te pusiste en tal flaqueza.

    _In._ No puedo, ni querria arrepentirme.

    _Se._ Con essa voluntad el yerro cresce.

    _In._ Si es yerro como dizes, otros uvo.

    _Se._ Uno, mas toda via fueron yerros.

[301] Here the chorus, like the other characters of the play, speaks in
iambics; for example:--

    _Doña Ines._            Que dizes? Habla!

    _Cho._ No puedo; lloro.

    _Do._                   De que lloras?

    _Cho._ Veo, esse rostro, y sos ojos, esa.

    _D._                                       trista:
         triste de mi que mal, que mal tamaño,
         es ese que me traes.

    _Cho._                       Mal de muerte:

    _D._ Mal grande.

    _C._             todo tuyo.

    _D._                        que me dizes
         es muerto mi Señor, infante mio?

    _Cho._ Los dos morireys presto.

    _D._                            ò nuevas tristes!
         Como, porque razon, que me le matan? &c.

[302] Only the latter part of this scene can conveniently be
transcribed here. Ines speaks:--

    Tapiceria triste,
    yrase donde yo me paseava,
    no me vera, no me hallara en el campo,
    no en el jardin, ni camara; hele muerto.
    Ay veote morir mi bien por mi,
    mi bien ya que yo muero vive tu,
    esto te pido y ruego, vive, vive,
    ampara estos tus hijos tan queridos,
    y esta mi muerte pague los desastres
    que a ellos esperavan. Rey señor,
    pues puedes socorrer a males tantos
    socorreme, perdoname. No puedo,
    no puedo mas dezirte:
    Señor por que me matas?
    en que te lo merezco?
    ay, no me mates, ay!
    Jesus, Maria!

[303] _Libro de caballeria celestial del pie de la rosa fragrante,
&c. por D. Geronymo de Sanpedro. Anvers, 1554, in 8vo._ The Gottingen
university possesses a copy of this book.

[304] This phrase occurs in a preface which Venegas wrote to a moral
allegorical novel by Luis Mexia, which will hereafter be noticed.

[305] I have seen only the _Primera_ parte de las Patrañas de Juan
Timoneda, Sevilla, 1583, in 8vo.

[306] See Nicolas Antonio, article Alfonso de Ulloa.

[307] Nicolas Antonio does not mention the date of either his birth
or death. More precise information respecting him may be found in the
sixth vol. of the _Parnaso Español_.

[308] See p. 280.

[309] This dialogue, with the continuation by Ambrosio de Morales, and
other works of a similar kind, have been elegantly printed under the
general title of _Obras, que Cervantes de Salazar ha hecho, glosado y
traducido_, &c. Madrid, 1772, in 4to.

[310] For example:--

_Aur._ Bien veo, Antonio, que ai essos provechos que dices de la
soledad: pero yo tengo creido, que otra causa mayor ai. _Ant._ Que
causa puede aver mayor? _Aur._ El aborrecimento, que cada hombre tiene
al genero humano, por el qual somos inclinados a apartarnos unos de
otros. _Ant._ Tan aborrecibles te parecen los hombres, que aun ellos
mesmos por huir de sì, busquen la soledad? _Aur._ Pareceme tanto, que
cada vez que me acuerdo, que soi hombre, querria, o no aver sido,
o no tener sentimiento dello. _Ant._ Maravillome, Aurelio, que los
autores excelentes, que acostumbras a leer, i los sabios hombres, que
conversas, no te ayan quitado de esse error.

[311] As for instance in the annexed passage:--

Assi que todos estos i los demas estados de los hombres no son sino
diversos modos de penar, do ningun descanso tienen, ni seguridad en
alguno dellos: porque la fortuna todos los confunde, i los revuelve con
vanas esperanzas i vanos semblantes de honras i riquezas, en las quales
cosas mostrando quan facil es i quan incierta, a todos mete en desseos
de valer, tan desordenados, que no ai lugar tan alto, do los queramos
dejar. Con estos escarnios de fortuna cada uno aborrece su estado con
codicia de los otros; do si llega, no halla aquel reposo que pensaba.
Porque todos los bienes de fortuna al dessear parecen hermosos, i al
gozar llenos de pena.

[312] For example the conclusion of the discourse of Aurelio, who,
it is true, describes rather than censures the dark side of human

Todo esto se va en humo, hasta que tornan los hombres a estar en tanto
olvido, como antes que naciessen: i la misma vanidad se sigue despues,
que primero avia. Hasta aquí, Dinarco, me ha parecido decir del hombre:
agora yo lo dejo él i su fama enterrados en olvido perdurable: i no
sé con que razones tu, Antonio, podrás resucitarlo. Dale vida, si
pudieres, i consuelo contra tantos males, como has oido: que si tu assi
lo hicieres, yo seré vencido de buena gana, pues tu vitoria será gloria
para mi, que me veré constituido en mas excelente estado, que pensava.

[313] Only this treatise of Morales _Sobre la lengua Castellana_, is
reprinted in the collection mentioned in note, page 309.

[314] The following passage from the treatise on the Spanish language,
forms an addition to the history of rhetorical cultivation of prose
rhetoric among the Spaniards in the age of Morales:--

Para que pues era este cuidado? de que servia esta diligencia entre
gente tan prudente i de tanto miramiento, si naturaleza lo suplia, i
avia ella de hazerlo mejor? Veían sin duda, como sin tales exemplos no
se podia perfeccionar el uso della lengua en aquella parte, i que a
faltar lo que proveian, faltaria el bien que deseavan: i lo mismo es
en las formas i maneras particulares de hablar, que llaman _phrasis_,
i en todas las otras partes del lenguage, donde ayudada naturaleza
con el mejor uso, saca mas ventaja i perfeccion. Pues qué los otros,
que todo lo tienen en Castellano por afectado? estos quieren condenar
nuestra lengua a un estraño abatimiento, i como enterrarla viva, donde
miserablemente se corrompa i pierda todo su lustre, su lindeza i
hermosura: o desconfian, que no es para parecer, i esta es ignorancia;
o no la quieren adornar como deven, i esta es maldad. _Yo no digo que
afeites nuestra lengua Castellana, sino que le laves la cara._ No le
pintes el rostro, mas quitale la suciedad: no la vistas de bordados,
recamos, mas no le niegues un buen atavio de vestido, que aderece con

[315] Fourteen of the discourses of Morales, form an appendix to his
edition of the Obras de Perez de Oliva, already mentioned.

[316] This treatise also forms an appendix to the collection

[317] Hence the title: _Obras_ que Francisco Cervantes de Salazar ha
_hecho_, _glosado_, y _traducido_. See note, p. 309.

[318] As a useful moral book, this romance is, perhaps, worthy of being
translated or new modelled. Tasteless morality is, to be sure, no more
commendable in literature than tasteful immorality; and any attempt to
revive the fashion of moral allegories would deserve condemnation. But
a work like the allegorical romance of Mexia, might probably possess
more value than many of our modern tales for youth.

[319] Los cinco libro primeros de la Coronica General de España,
recopilava el Maestro Florian de Ocampo, &c. Alcalà, 1578, in folio.
This is the first, and, perhaps, the only edition of the work.

[320] Mi principal intencion, he says, ha seido, contar la verdad
entera y sencilla, _sin que en ella aya engaño ni cosa que le
adorne_--sin envolver en ella las _rhetoricas y vanidades, que por
otros libros deste nuestro tiempo se ponen_.

[321] This is the Coronica General de España por Don Ambrosio de
Morales; Alcalà de Henàres, 1574, in folio.

[322] See my History of Italian Literature, vol. ii.

[323] _Anales de la corona de Aragon, Caragoça_, 1616, six vols. small
folio. This work was not printed till after the death of Philip II. The
two last volumes contain the history of foreign affairs in the reign of
Ferdinand and Isabella.

[324] He says:--

Esta fue muy acatada entre todas gentes, porque siempre convino tener
presente lo passado, y considerar con quanta constancia se deve
fundar una perpetua paz y concordia civil, pues _no se puede ofrecer
mayor peligro, que la mudança de los estados en la declinacion de
los tiempos_. Teniendo cuenta con esto, siendo todos los sucesos tan
inciertos a todos, y sabiendo quan pequeñas ocasiones suelen ser
causa de grandes mudanças, el conocimiento de _las cosas passadas nos
enseñara, que tengamos por mas dichoso y bienaventurado el estado
presente_: y que estemos siempre con recelo del que està por venir.

[325] The following observations, concerning the conduct of professors
of moral philosophy, may serve as a specimen of Pedro de Oliva’s

Yo en contrario dello no dire de mi lastimas ningunas, porque no lo
acostumbro en tales casos. Pero si la cathedra de philosophia moral
supiesse hablar, que lastimas piensan vuestras mercedes que diria? Ella
por si diria, que miren quan olvidada ha estado, y quan escureceda,
muchas vezes por passiones de los que la han proveydo, y que miren, que
agora la demandan unos llorando, y otros no se en que confiando; y que
unos la quieren, para cumplir sus necessidades, y otros para cumplir
las agenas: no siendo aquesto lo que ella ha menester. Porque ella
demanda hombre, que en las adversidades no gima, ni en los casos de
justicia solicite.

[326] As Philip II. is but little known in the character of a letter
writer, it may not be improper to quote a passage which reflects honour
on him as a man:--

La verdad, i cumplimiento de lo que se dice, i promete, es el
fundamento del credito, i estimacion de los hombres, i sobre que
estriva, i se funda el trato comun, i confianza. Esto se requiere, i es
mucho mas necessario en los mui principales, i que tienen grandes, i
publicos cargos; porque de su verdad, i cumplimiento depende la Fé, i
seguridad publica. Encargoos mucho, que tengais en esto gran cuenta, i
cuidado; i se entienda, i conozca en Vos en todas partes, i ocasiones,
el credito, que pueden, i deven tener de lo que digeredes: que demàs
de lo que toca a las cosas publicas, i de vuestro cargo, importa èsto
mucho a vuestro particular honor i estimacion.

[327] This collection is entitled: _Cartas morales, militares, civiles
y literarias de varios autores Españoles, recogidos, &c. por D.
Gregorio Mayans y Siscar_, 1734, in 8vo. Most of these letters are
productions of the sixteenth century.

[328] See page 265. The title-page of this book, which runs as
follows--_Philosophia Antigua Poetica, del Doctor Alonzo Lopez
Pinciano, Medico Cesareo, dirigida al Conde Joannes Kevenhiler_
(Khevenhüller), &c.--also contains a full detail of the titles of the
Count to whom it is dedicated. It was printed at Madrid, 1596, in

[329] Velasquez and Dieze, p. 505, furnish bibliographic notices of the
works of these authors. See also Blankenburgh on the same subject.

[330] Cervantes spent that portion of his life, during which his name
is particularly conspicuous, among Spanish poets, so remote from
literary society, that at his death sufficient notices did not exist
to form a complete narrative of his life. The well known biography by
Mayans y Siscar, which was not written till the eighteenth century,
deserved to be valued only for want of a better. It is prefixed to many
editions of Don Quixote. The preference, however, must be given to the
more recent life of Cervantes, by Don Vicente de los Rios, which is
prefixed to the splendid edition of Don Quixote, published at Madrid,
1781, in royal quarto.

[331] In his Viage al Parnaso, chap. iv. he says:--

    Yo he compuesto _Romances infinitos_
        Y el de los Zelos es aquel que estimo
        Entre _otros, que los tengo par mal ditos_.
        *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
    _Mi Filena_ *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
        Resonò _por las selvas_, &c.

[332] Don Vicente de los Rios entertains so little doubt of the reality
of the romantic events, recorded in the Captive, that he has interwoven
them in his account of the life of Cervantes.

[333] These dramas must not be confounded with the eight well known
comedies which Cervantes subsequently wrote. His tragedy of Numantia,
and his comedy of Life in Algiers, (_Trato de Argel_) appear to have
been written at an earlier period.

[334] For example, when Don Quixote speaks of the achievements of the
old knights, he always uses the antiquated expression:--Las _fazañas_
que han _fecho_, instead of _hazañas_ que han _hecho_.

[335] In the original Spanish, the term _insula_ is uniformly employed
instead of the common word _isla_. Sancho probably understood what an
_isla_ signified; but an _insula_ was a word which conveyed to his mind
the idea of something magical and extraordinary. He accordingly takes
a great pleasure in emphatically repeating it.

[336] As one specimen out of many, it will be sufficient to quote the
speech of the shepherdess Marcella. It is in the true prose style
of Cicero, and it is altogether a composition which has seldom been
equalled in any modern language:--

Hizome el Cielo, segun vosotros dezis, hermosa, y de tal manera, que
sin ser poderosos à otra cosa, à que me ameys os mueve mi hermosura. Y
por al amor que me mostràys, dezis, y aun quereys que estè yo obligada
à amaros. Yo conozco con el natural entendimiento, que Dios me ha dado,
que todo lo hermoso es amable, mas no alcanço, que por razon de ser
amado, esté obligado lo que es amado por hermoso, à amar à quien le
ama. Y mas que podria acontecer, que el amador de lo hermoso fuèsse
feo; y siendo lo feo digno de ser aborrecido, càe muy mal el dezir:
Quièrote por hermosa, hasme de amar, aunque sea feo. Pero puesto
caso que corran igualmente las hermosuras, no por esso han de correr
iguales los desseos; que no todas las hermosùras enamòran, que algunas
alegran la vista, y no riuden la voluntad: que si todas las bellezas
enamorassèn, y rindiessèn: serià un andar las voluntades confusas, y
descaminadas, sin saber en qual avian de parar; porque siendo infinitos
los Sujetos hermosos, infinitos avian de ser los dessèos: y segun yo he
oydo dezir, el verdadero Amor no se divide, y ha de ser voluntario, y
no forçoso.

[337] From _rincon_ (a corner), and _cortar_ (to shorten or cut). They
are merely two humorous names for pick-pockets or purse-cutters. To
those who wish to become acquainted with the _Novelas Exemplares_, I
would recommend the edition published at Madrid in 1783, by Antonio
Sancha, which as far as I know is the latest.

[338] A new and elegant edition of the Galatea was printed at Madrid in
1784, by Antonio Sancha.

[339] The following is a specimen of Cervantes’s _Versos de Arte

        Salid de lo hondo pecho cuitado
    Palabras sangrientas con muerte mezcladas,
    Y si los suspiros os tienen atadas,
    Abrid y romped el siniestro costado:
    El aire os empide que está ya inflamado
    Del fiero veneno de vuestros acentos,
    Salid, y si quiera os lleven los vientos,
    Que todo mi bien tambien han llevado.

[340] The subjoined extract will shew that Cervantes endeavoured to
combine in his sonnets the old Spanish style with that of Petrarch.

        Ligeras horas del ligero tiempo
    Para mí perezosas y cansadas,
    Si no estais en mi daño conjuradas,
    Parezcaos ya que es de acabarme tiempo.
        Si agora me acabais, hareislo á tiempo
    Que estan mis desventuras mas colmadas,
    Mirad que menguarán, si sois pesadas,
    Que el mal se acaba, si da tiempo al tiempo.
        No os pido que vengais dulces sabrosas,
    Pues no hallareis camino, senda, ó paso
    De reducerme al ser que ya he perdido.
        Horas á qualquier otro venturosas,
    Aquella dulce del mortal traspaso,
    Aquella de mi muerte sola os pido.

[341] It commences with the following sonorous stanzas:--

        Al dulce son de mi templada lira
    Prestad, pastores, el oido atento.
    Oireis como en mi voz y en él respira
    De mis hermanas el sagrado aliento:
    Vereis como os suspende y os admira,
    Y colma vuestras almas de contento,
    Quando os dé relacion aqui en el suelo
    De los ingenios que ya son del cielo.
        Pienso canta de aquellos solamente
    Aquien la parca el hilo aun no ha cortado.
    De aquellos que son dignos justamente
    De en tal lugar tenerle señalado:
    Donde á pesar del tiempo diligente,
    Por el laudable oficio acustumbrado
    Vuestro vivan mil siglos sus renombres,
    Sus claras obras, sus famosos nombres.

[342] For example:--

        O alma venturosa,
    Que del humano velo
    Libre al alta region viva volaste,
    Dexando en tenebrosa
    Carcel de desconsuelo
    Mi vida, aunque contigo la llevaste!
    Sin tí, escura dexaste
    La luz clara del dia,
    Por tierra derribada
    La esperanza fundada
    En al mas firme asiento de alegria:
    En fin con tu partida
    Quedó vivo el dolor, muerta la vida.


        Agora que calla el viento,
    Y el soseogar està en calma,
    No se calle mi tormento,
    Salga con la voz el alma
    Para mayor sentimiento;
    Que para contar mis males,
    Mostrando en parte que son
    Por fuerza, han de dar señales
    El alma, y el corazon
    De vivas ansias mortales.

[344] For example:--

    Con tantas _firmas afirmas_
    El amor que està en tu pecho, &c.

And these antiquated expressions are sometimes combined with
fantastical ideas.

[345] For example:--Mastines _fieles_, guardadores de las _simples_
ovejuelas, que debaxo de su amparo estan seguras de los _carniceros_
dientes de los _hambrientos_ lobos.

[346] Mercury thus accosts him:--

    O Adan de poetas, o Cervantes!
    Que alforjas y que trage es este, o amigo?


    De la quilla à la gavia, ó estraña cosa!
        Toda de versos era fabricada,
        Sin que se entremetiesa alguna prosa,
    Las ballesteras eran de ensalada
        De glosas, todas hechas á la boda
        De la que se llamó Malmaridada.
    Era la chusma de romances toda,
        Gente atrevida, empero necesaria,
        Pues à todas acciones se acomoda.
    La popa de materia extraordinaria,
        Bastarda, y de legitimos sonetos,
        De labor peregrina en todo y varia.
    Eran dos valentisimos tercetos
        Los espaldares de la izquierda y diestra,
        Para dar boga larga muy perfetos.
    Hecha ser la crugia se me muestra
        De una luenga y tristisima elegia,
        Que no en cantar, sino en llorar es diestra.

[348] A portion of this masterly description may be quoted here.

    Bien asi semejaba, que se ofrece
        Entre liquidas perlas y entre rosas
        La aurora que despunta y amanece.
    La rica vestidura, las preciosas
        Joyyas que la adornaban, competian
        Con las que suelen ser mirabillosas.
    Las ninfas que al querer suyo asistian
        En el gallardo brio y bello aspecto,
        Las artes liberales parecian.
    Todas con amoroso y tierno afecto,
        Con las ciencias mas claras y escogidas,
        Le guardaban santisimo respeto.
    Mostraban que en servirla eran servidas,
        Y que por su ocasion de todas gentes
        En mas veneracion eran tenidas.
    Su influjo y su reflujo las corrientes
        Del mar y su profundo le mostraban,
        Y el ser padre de rios y de fuentes.
    Las yerbas su virtud la presentaban,
        Los arboles sus frutos y sus flores,
        Las piedras el valor que en sì encerraban.

[349] The following is a passage from the description of _Vanagloria_.

    En un trono del suelo levantado,
        (Do el arte à la materia se adelanta
        Puesto que de oro y de marfil labrado)
    Una doncella vì desde la planta
        Del pie hasta la cabeza asi adornada,
        Que el verla admira, y el oirla encanta.
    Estaba en él con magestad sentada,
        Giganta al parecer en la estatura,
        Pero aunque grande, bien proporcionada.
    Parecia mayor su hermosura
        Mirada desde lejos, y no tanto
        Si de cerca se ve su compostura, &c.


    Turbóse en esto el liquido elemento,
        De nuevo renovóse la tormenta,
        Sopló mas vivo y mas apriesa el viento.
    La hambrienta mesnada, y no sedienta,
        Se rinde al uracan recien venido,
        Y por mas no penar muere contenta.
    O raro caso y por jamas oido,
        Ni visto! ó nuevas y admirables trazas
        De la gran reina obedecida en Guido!
    En un instante el mar de calabazas
        Se vió quajado, algunas tan potentes,
        Que pasaban de dos, y aun de tres brazas.
    Tambien hinchados odres y valientes,
        Sin deshacer del mar la blanca espuma,
        Nadaban de mil talles diferentes, &c.

[351] These two dramas, the tragedy of Numancia and the comedy of El
Trato de Argel, were first printed in an appendix to the new edition of
the _Viage al Parnaso_, published at Madrid by Don Antonio Sancha, in
the year 1784.

[352] In the supplement to the _Viage al Parnaso_, Cervantes
particularly mentions his nine dramas in terms of the most decided
self-satisfaction. “If they were not my own, (he says) I should declare
that they merit all the praise they have obtained.” He alludes with
particular complacency to his comedy, entitled, _La Confusa_, which
he styles a _good one among the best_. But _La Confusa_, as well as
the others which Cervantes praises, is lost. Among the eight which are
known, _La Gran Sultana_ seems to be that which Cervantes mentions
under the title of _La Gran Turquesca_.

[353] See the first preface to the _Comedias y Entremeses de Miguel de
Cervantes_, published by Blas Nasarre, Madrid, 1749, 2 vols. 4to.

[354] The departed spirit which is conjured back to the dead body,
delivers the following terrific address:--

    Cese la furia del rigor violento,
    Tuyo, Marquino, baste, triste, baste
    La que yo paso en la region escura,
    Sin que tu crezcas mas mi desventura.
    Engañaste, si piensas que recibo
    Contento de volver á esta penosa,
    Misera y corta vida, que aora vivo,
    Que yo 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; &c.

[355] One of the Numantian women, for example, addresses the following
speech to the senators:--

    Basta que la hambre insana
    Os acabe con dolor,
    Sin esperar el rigor
    De la aspereza Romana.
    Decildes que os engendraron
    Libres, y libres nacistes,
    Y que vuestras madres tristes
    Tambien libres os criaron.
    Decildes que pues la suerte
    Nuestra va tan de caida,
    Que como os dieron la vida,
    Ansi mismo os den la muerte.
    O muros desta ciudad,
    Si podeis hablad, decid,
    Y mil veces repetid:
    Numantinos, libertad!

[356] A mother enters with her two starving children. She carries one
at the breast, and the other whom she leads by the hand, thus addresses

    _Hijo._   Madre, por ventura habriar
              nos diese pan por esto?

    _Madre._  Pan, hijo, ni aun otra cosa
              Que semeje de comer!

    _Hijo._   Pues tengo de parecer
              De dura hambre rabiosa?
              Con poco pan que me deis,
              Madre, no os pediré mas.

    _Madre._  Hijo, qué penas me das!

    _Hijo._   Pues qué, madre, no quereis? &c.


    _Morandro._  Ves aqui, Lira, cumplida
                 Mi palabra y mis porfias
                 De que tú no moririas
                 Mientras yo tuviese vida.
                 Y aun podré mejor decir
                 Que presto vendrás á ver
                 Que á ti sobrará el comer,
                 Y á mi faltará el vivir.

    _Lira._      Qué dices, Morandro amado?

    _Morandro._  Lira, que acortes la hambre,
                 Entretanto que la estambre
                 De mi vida corta el hado.
                 Pero mi sangre vertida
                 Y con este pan mezclada,
                 Te ha de dar, mi dulce amada,
                 Triste y amarga comida.

[358] A new and elegant edition of the _Trabajos de Persiles y
Sigismunda_, was published at Madrid in 1781, by Don Antonio de Sancha,
in 2 vols.

[359] The biographer who wishes to compile in a perfect and authentic
way, the life of Lope de Vega, already so often related, must not
neglect the collection of elegies and epitaphs, which have been lately
printed, along with the hitherto scattered works of the great Spanish
dramatist, (_Obras Sueltas de Lope de Vega_; Madrid, 1776, &c. 21 vols.
4to.) Even Nicolas Antonio, whose manner is so jejune, and who usually
dismisses poets with very little ceremony, bestows a long eulogium on
Lope de Vega.

[360] In the prelude to the Auto _El Nombre de Jesus_ (the Name of
Jesus). See the _Obras Sueltas de Lope de Vega_, vol. xviii. The
countrywoman asks:--

    Y que son Autos?

And the husband replies:--

    _Comedias a gloria y honor del pan_
    Que tan devota celebra
    Esta coronada villa.

[361] Lope de Vega, in his dramas, employs the terms _actos_ and
_jornadas_ indiscriminately.

[362] From the very commencement of the scene, it is obvious how well
Lope de Vega understood the art of composing spirited dialogue.

    _D. San._     A mi me cierra la puerta?

    _Ançu._       Tiene muy justo temor.

    _Cid._        Con ser muger se concierta.

    _An._         De que te espantas señor
                  que no te la tenga abierta?
                  Dizen que en el Dios que adoro
                  juraste quitar agora
                  sin guardarles el decoro
                  a doña Urraca a Zamora,
                  y a Elvira su hermana a Toro.
                  Pues si muerto el Rey Fernando,
                  el primero de Castilla
                  que esta en el cielo reynando
                  por eterno cetro y silla,
                  la silla mortal dexando,
                  eres quien has de amparallas,
                  pues otro padre no tienen,
                  y quieres desheredallas.
                  Que mucho si se previenen
                  a defender sus murallas?

    _D. San._     Conde Ançures, si jurè,
                  gusto de mi padre fue,
                  guardè respeto a su muerte, &c.

[363] Ordonez is exhibited in rather a ludicrous light:--

    _Cid._      No os prevengais que no quiero
                reñir con vos.

    _D. Bic._                  Porque no?

    _Cid._      Porque nunca en quien temio
                manchè mi gallardo azero.

    _D. B._     A quien yo he temido, es hombre
                que a vos os hara temblar.

    _Cid._      Si es el Invierno, en lugar
                frio temblar hazer a un hombre.

    _D. B._     No es sino el Cid.

    _Cid._      Pues si vos
                temeys solo al Cid, oyd,
                que a mi me temeys,
                que el Cid soy.

    _D. B._                     El Cid vos?

    _Cid._      Si por Dios.

    _D. B._     Ya que os he dicho en la cara,
                invicto Cid, mi temor,
                sabed, que yo soy señor,
                don Diego Ordoñez de Lara.

[364] He thus apostrophizes his rural retreat in the idyl style:--

    _Vel._    Montes que el Duero vaña,
              y en cadenas de yelo
              os tiene por los verdes pies atados
              desde que nuestra España
              Pelayo (o fuesse el cielo)
              os restauró del barbaro habitados;
              de mis nobles passados,
              vega de Toro hermosa,
              que hazes competencia,
              no solo con Plasencia,
              y a la orilla del Betis generosa,
              de fertiles trofeos,
              mas a los campos celebres Hibleos.
              Aqui donde esta casa
              solar de mis abuelos
              las jambas cubre de despojos Moros,
              por donde alegre passa
              Duero que quiebra yelos,
              y cuyas Ninfas van cantando a coros,
              haziendo que los poros
              de la hermosa ribera,
              broten las altas cañas,
              anchas como espadañas,
              de trigo fertil la mançana y pera;
              y el razimo pessado
              con verdes hilos al sarmiento atado.

[365] What might not this scene have been rendered by a poet of a more
regular imagination! There is, however, a certain degree of dignity
in the commencement, with which the close forms a contrast the more

    _D. S._ Dexa las armas Elvira,
            mira hermana que me corro
            de sacarlas contra ti.

    _Elv._  Pues vete hermano piadoso,
            y dexame en mis almenas.

    _D. S._ Si al assalto me dispongo,
            como no vees, que este muro
            quedarà de sangre rojo?

    _Elv._  Si quedarà, mas serà
            de la vuestra.

    _D. S._                Pues yo rompo
            la obligacion de sangre.

    _Elv._  Y yo la defensa tomò,
            que si fueras el Gigante
            que tuvo el cielo en los ombros,
            no pusieras pie en el muro.

    _D. S.  Mira hermana que eres monstruo_
            porque con tanta hermosura
            _tienes pensamientos locos_.

    _Elv.   El loco, el monstruo, eres tu_,
            pues que tu, hermano alevoso,
            me quieres quitar la herencia.

[366] The following metaphorical sonnet is declaimed by Sancha:--

    El agua que corrio de clara fuente
        por cristalino surco al verdo prado,
        detiene al labrador, porque al sembrado
        acuda con mas prospera corriente.
    No sale el agua, que los muros siente
        del cesped, que por uno, y otro lado
        cercan su arroyo, que en la presa atado
        hazen, que a ser estan que el curso aumente.
    Ansi sucede amor en sus antojos,
        quando el honor del resistirse vale,
        callando penas, y sufriendo enojos.
    Dexale el al almo, que la presa yguale,
        y brota por los cercos de los ojos,
        ò rompe la pared, y junto sale.

[367] Among other things she says:--

            Como he dado en no casarme,
            leo por entretenerme,
            no por Bachillera hazerme
            y de aguda graduarme.
            Que a quien su buena opinion
            encierra en silencio tal,
            no halla en los libros mal,
            gustosa conversacion.
            Es qualquier libro discreto
            que si causa de hablar dexa,
            es amigo que aconseja
            y reprehende en secreto.
            Al fin despues que los leo
            y trato de devocion
            de alguna imaginacion
            voy castigando el desseo.

    _Ju._   Y en que materia leias?

    _Leo._  De oracion.

    _Ju._               Quien no se goza
            de ver que tan bella moça
            tan santas custumbres crias.


    _Leo._  Juzgaras a liviandad
            hallarme con el espejo,
            Que suele ser conocida
            la mucha de una muger
            en yrse, y venirse a ver
            despues de una vez vestida.
            Y yo conforme a mi estado
            hago en esso mas delito.

    _Lu._   A enojo siempre me incito
            con tu melindre estremado.
            Es mucho que una muger
            que ha de estar un dia compuesta,
            vaya a ver si està bien puesta
            la toca o el alfiler?
            Quien se lo dira mejor
            si esta bien, o si està mal
            que esso palmo de cristal?

    _Leo._  Como disculpas mi error.

[369] This sketch is well worth transcribing:--

    No sino venga un mancebo
    destos de aora de alcorça
    con el sombrerito a horza,
    pluma corta, cordon nuevo,
    cuello abierto muy parejo,
    puños a lo Veneciano,
    lo de fuera limpio, y sano,
    lo de dentro suzio y viejo,
    botas justas sin podellas
    descalçar en todo un mes,
    las calças hasta los pies,
    el vigote a las estrellas;
    xabonzillos, y copete,
    cadena falsa que assombre
    guantes de ambar, y grande hombre
    de un soneto, y un villete;
    y con sus manos lavadas
    los tres mil de renta pesque
    con que un poco se refresque
    entre savanas delgadas:
    y passados ocho dias
    se vaya a ver forasteras,
    o en amistades primeras,
    buelva a deshazer las mias.

[370] This whimsical adventure is thus described:--

    Yo que estava en un esquina
    mirandolo desde lexos,
    apresurè luego el passo.
    llevandome el ayre en peso.
    Llegando a la amada puerta
    vi un bulto a mis ojos negro,
    con su capa, y con su espada,
    mirando, y hablando a dentro.
    Llegueme a el, y metime
    hasta la harba el sombrero,
    y dixele: a gentilhombre!
    terciando el corto herreruelo.
    Como no me respondia,
    saco la daga de presto,
    y por el pecho a mi gusto
    hasta la cruz se la meto.
    Diome la sangre en el mio,
    y bueto mi casa huyendo
    miro a una luz la ropilla,
    y olia como un incienso.
    Tomo una linterna, y parto,
    y quando a mirar le buelvo,
    hallo derramado el vino,
    y el cuero midiendo el suelo.

[371] Those who are unacquainted with the Spanish language, must not
suppose that the term _gracioso_, as applied to this kind of character,
is an extraordinary instance of that figure of speech called euphemism.
In Spanish, _gracioso_ more frequently signifies comic and ludicrous,
than graceful.


    _Ju._   La colacion viene.

    _C._                       En vano,
            viene, a fe de gentilhombre
            que no tengo de comer.

    _Leo._  A lo manos el provar
            no lo podeys escusar,
            que soy honrada muger.

    _Cam._  Es lo del veneno?

    _Leo._                    Si,
            por mi vida que proveys.

    _Cam._  Si ese juramento hazeys
            aya mil muertes aqui.
            Quiero tomar el veneno
            que Alexandro del Doctor,
            que donde la fe es mayor,
            no le haze el daño ageno.

    _Urb._  O lo que sabe de historia.

    _Ju._   En verdad que es muy leydo.
    _Urb._  No lo tomeys tan polido,
            que en verdad que es çanahoria
            Entro, y la bevida saco.

[373] St. Nicolas de Tolentino is a saint of modern creation.

[374] The sonnet by which St. Nicolas performs this miracle, is the
most beautiful in this sacred farce.

    Virgen, Paloma candida, que al suelo
        Traxo la verde paz; arco divino,
        Que con las tres colores a dar vino
        Fe del concierto entre la tierra, y cielo;
    Dadme remedio, pues sabeys mi zelo!
        No coma carne yo, porque imagino,
        Que solo he de comer, puesto que indigno
        La de mi dulce amor en blanco velo.
    No me dexeys, Christifera Maria,
        Y vos mi Padre amado, Agustin Santo,
        Y mas si llega de mi muerte el dia.
    Dadme los dos favor, pues podeys tanto,
        Si mereciere la esperança mia,
        Que del Sol que pisays pase mi llanto.

[375] The following is the edifying scene. _Dem._ is a contraction for
Demonio, the devil. _Rup._ stands for Ruperto, the monk, who attacks
and subdues him with the broom. _Pri._ signifies prior.

    _Rup._  Aqui Padres aqui, mueran los perros.

    _Pri._  Que visiones estrañas?

    _Rup._                         Sombras vanas,
            Ruperto soy: figuras Antonianas,
            dexad mi Santo.

    _Dem._                  Infame tu te pones
            con nosotros a manos, y razones?

    _Rup._  Fuera digo, bellacos.

    _Dem._                        Pues infame
            concorrion assi te atreves?

    _Rup._                              Bestia,
            sal de la celda.

    _Dem._                   O vil espuma ollas.

    _Rup._  Hago muy bien, vos espumays calderas.
            Llegue Padre Prior.

    _Pri._                      Aqui a este lado
            digo los exorcismos de la Iglesia.

    _Dem._  O perro motilon.

    _Rup._                   A fuera.

    _Dem._                            O pesia.

[376] Care announces Man.

    _Cuidad._     El Hombre está aqui.

    _Homb._       Dame essos pies.

    _Principe._                    Ya te doy
                  el corazon.

    _Homb._                   Luz mas pura
                  que el sol, imagen divina
                  de tu Padre; que diré
                  de tu piedad? que daré
                  a tu amor!

    _Principe._              La vista inclina
                  al supremo tribunal:
                  sabe conmigo y haremos
                  esta escritura.

    _Homb._                       Qué extremos
                  de amor, piedad celestial!

    _Principe._   Sube tú como deudor
                  a los estrados que ves,
                  amigo, que yo despues
                  bajaré como fiador.

[377] Reflection disputes with the devil on this point.

    _Demon._    Mienten, que un hora segura
                aun no logré mi ventura,
                pues de qué logrero soy,
                si ha tantos años que estoy
                sin Dios en carcel tan dura?
                Qué es lo que estan escribiendo?

    _Cuidad._   La fianza.

    _Demon._               Quién le fia?

    _Cuidad._   Dios, que Dios solo podia.

    _Demon._    Dios fia?

    _Cuidad._             Ya están leyendo.

    _Justic._   Oid.

    _Princ._         Ya estoy oyendo.

    _Justic._   Que os obligais, gran Señor,
                como principal deudor
                a padecerlo y servir.

    _Demon._    Ha se visto tanto amor!

[378] A list of the dramas contained in these twenty-five volumes
is given by Nicolas Antonio, who likewise communicates information
concerning Lope’s other works. A gleaning of some pieces may be found
in the _Obras Sueltas_; see note, p. 363. I have never yet seen all
the twenty-five volumes together. Even in Spain a complete collection
is but rarely to be met with. Single dramas by Lope are to be found
in most of the numerous collections of Spanish comedies by various
authors. La Huerta in his collection has not included a single play of
Lope de Vega, doubtless for reasons which will hereafter be noticed.

[379] The twelve collected by Ortiz de Villena, together with the Loas
and Entremeses belonging to them, are newly printed in the _Obras
Sueltas_, vol. xviii.

[380] For example, _El Castigo sin Venganza_, (The Punishment without
Revenge) in the _Obras Sueltas_, vol. viii.

[381] The _Obras Sueltas_ contain abundant materials for such a work.

[382] See the _Obras Sueltas_, vols. xv. and xvi.

[383] Vol. ii.

[384] See the _Obras Sueltas_, vol iv.

[385] Vol. iii.

[386] Vol. vi.

[387] Vol. iv.

[388] Vol. xvii.

[389] Vol. i. and the succeeding volumes.

[390] Vol. i.

[391] Vol. xix. and likewise in the _Parnaso Español_.

[392] See the _Obras Sueltas_, vol. xix.

[393] Vols. v. & vi.

[394] Vol. vii.

[395] Vol. viii.--It is presumed that these bibliographic notices
will not be unacceptable to those who wish to become acquainted with
individual works of Lope de Vega.

[396] An account of the life of these brothers is prefixed to their
works in the _Parnaso Español_, vols. iii. and vi.; and also to the
new edition of their _Rimas_, by Don Ramon Fernandez, Madrid, 1786, 3
volumes 8vo.

[397] They are printed in the sixth volume of the _Parnaso Español_.

[398] The king shews to his faithless consort, Alexandra, the body of
her murdered lover.

    Cómo, Alejandra, no miras
    este noble corazon,
    dó se forjó la traycion,
    cubierto de mil mentiras?
    Y pues el tuyo, cruel,
    te bolvió conmigo dura,
    miralo, que por ventura
    está tu retrato en él.
    Esos son aquellos brazos,
    por los quales me aborreces,
    que ciñeron tantas veces
    tu cuello con torpes lazos.
    Estos son contra mi honra
    aquellos brazos valientes,
    y estos los pies diligentes
    en procurar mi deshonra.
    Mira tambien la cabeza,
    la boca, los claros ojos:
    huelga con tales despojos:
    miralos pieza por pieza;
    que por quererlos tú tanto,
    los he mandado guardar.
    Piensasle resuscitar
    aora con ese llanto?

After a pause of horror and grief, Alexandra breaks forth in the
following monologue:--

    No puedo triste vengarme.
    O vosotros, soberranos!
    ya que me faltan las manos,
    dadme voz para quejarme.
    Cielos, justicia venganza!
    No os atapeis los oidos
    dioses sordos adormidos,
    si algo con ruegos se alcanza.
    Y pues que los celestiales
    niegan tambien su favor,
    salid del eterno horror,
    negros dioses infernales.
    Por qué no temblaste, suelo?
    por qué las piedras no saltan?
    Qué es esto, que todos faltan,
    y no llueve sangre el cielo?

[399] For example, the following:--

        Bramando el mar hinchado
    Con las nubes procura
    Mezclar sus olas, y apagar la lumbre
    Del concavo estrellado,
    Y de la horrible hondura
    Trasladar sus arenas à la cumbre;
    Pero con la costumbre
    De estos trabajos graves,
    El hijo de Laertes
    Rompe con brazos fuertes,
    Lo que apénas pudieran altas naves
    Con las proas ferradas,
    Por otro Palinuro gobernadas.
        Mas Ino, inmortal Diosa,
    Viendo al prudente Griego
    En tan grande peligro de la vida,
    Benigna y amorosa
    Buscó remedio luego
    Para facilitalle la salida;
    Y de piedad movida
    Le dió el divino velo,
    Con que cubrir solia
    El cabello, que hacia
    Escurecer al Dios nacido en Delo;
    Y en virtud de esta toca
    El mar se allana, y el la tierra toca.

[400] As in the following:--

        Imagen espantosa de la muerte,
    Sueño cruel, no turbes mas mi pecho,
    Mostrándome cortado el nudo estrecho,
    Consuelo solo de mi adversa suerte.
        Busca de algun tirano el muro fuerte,
    De jaspe paredes, de oro el techo;
    O el rico avara en el angosto lecho
    Haz que temblando con sudor despierte,
        El uno vea el popular tumulto
    Romper con furia las herredas puertas,
    O al sobornado siervo el hierro oculto.
        El otro sus riquezas descubiertas
    Con llave falsa, o con violento insulto;
    Y dexale al amor sus glorias ciertas.

[401] The following satirical passage occurs in his longest epistle,
which is addressed to a friend, and in which he has developed his whole
turn of temper and thought:--

        Aunque el pintado pabo y la gallina
    De l’Africa jamás como á los Grandes,
    Ni un Mase Jaques honre mi cocina:
        Ni lo traiga pagado desde Flandes,
    Porque sabe á la hambre hacer cosquillas,
    Y entretenerla todo lo que mandes.
        Ni me alegren los ojos las boxillas,
    Que lo ménos que tengan sea el ser oro,
    Tanto el Arte estremo sus maravillas.
        Que si en mi casa, como digo, móro,
    No trocaré mi vida con sosiego
    Por el Romano, ni el Imperio Moro.
        Ni Mercurio jamas oirà mi ruego
    Un Cielo mas arriba de la Luna,
    Ni en su Altar por mis manos verá fuego.
        Ni yo diré mas mal de la fortuna
    Que de una viuda santa y recogida,
    (Si santa y recogida se halla alguna).

[402] The irony might be more delicate; but it is, nevertheless, well

        Escríbate pues sátiras quien quiera,
    Que yo al banzas solas quiero darte,
    Hasta que tú te canses, ó yo muera.
        Ya, ya me tienes, Flora, de tu parte,
    Que, como tus costumbres amo tanto,
    Mudable soy tambien por imitarte.
        Quiero dexar la pluma, que me espanto
    De ver ese furor tras ordinario,
    Y dar de contricion señal con llanto.
        Pero tengo conmigo un tu contrario,
    Que tiene prometido defenderme
    Contra el poder de Xerxes, y de Dario:
        Y no me dá lugar de recogerme,
    Antes con amenazas me provoca:
    Dios sabe si ofenderte es ofenderme.

[403] For example:--

        Ni à Italia has de pasar por Beneficios,
    Para darles asalto con la capa
    De que son subrepticios, ó obrepticios.
        Para engañarlo no verás al Papa,
    Aunque te llame el golfo de Narbona
    Tan pacífico en sí, como en el mapa:
        Que si Micer Pandolfo trae corona,
    Y prebendado ha vuelto ya, Dios sabe
    Quál Simon le ayudo, Mago, ó Barjona.
        Ya ni en sí mismo, ni en su Patria cabe,
    Ni de su loba pródiga las baras
    De gorgarán en su espaciosa nave.
        Si tú por estos términos medráras,
    Qué bascas, qué visages y figuras
    De puro escrupoloso nos mostráras!

[404] The following passage occurs in an epistle to a friend who wished
to send his son to court while very young, in order that he might
become early acquainted with the great world:--

        Mirando estoy, que te santiguas desto,
    Y que enojado quedas, ó risueño,
    Llamándome Filósofo molesto.
        Pues enfrena la risa, ò templa el ceño,
    Y en mi defensa escuchame entretanto,
    Que estas proposiciones desempeño.
        Si está en verdad, que no nos mueve tanto
    Docta declamacion, Griega, ó Latina,
    Como el exemplo vivo, ó torpe, ó santo:
        Del padre, que á sus hijas disciplina
    Con mal exemplo, quién dirá que es prueba
    De la águila, que al sol los exâmina
        Pues dar rienda á la edad ferviente y nueva,
    No es culpa de indiscreto amor paterno,
    Que á manifiesta perdicion la lleva?
        El diestro agricultor al arbol tierno,
    De recientes raices, no lo expone
    Luego á las inclemencias del inbierno.

[405] The following sonnet, addressed to an old coquette, may serve as
an example:--

        Pon, Lice, tus cabellos con legias
    De venerables, si no rubios, rojos,
    Que el tiempo vengador busca despojos,
    Y no para volver huyen los dias.
        Ya las mexillas, que avultar porfias,
    Cierra en perfiles lánguidos, y flojos:
    Su hermosa atrocidad nobó á los ojos,
    Y apriesa te desarma las encías.
        Pero tú acude por socorro al arte,
    Que, aun con sus fraudes, quiero que defiendas
    Al desengaño descortés la entrada.
        Con pacto (y por tu bien) que no pretendas
    Reducida á ruïnas, ser amada,
    Sino es de tí, si puedes engañarte.

[406] For example, the first stanzas of an ode on the immaculate
conception of the holy virgin:--

        A todos los espíritus amantes,
    Que en círculo de luz inaccesible
    Forman amphiteatros celestiales,
    Dixo el Padre comun, ya no terrible
    Bibrando rayos vengativos, antes
    Con manso aspecto, grato á los mortales:
    Ya es tiempo de admitir á los umbrales
    Del Reyno eterno los del baxo mundo,
    Que su gemido, y su miseria vence.
    Y porque la gran obra se comience,
    Muestre la idea del saber profundo
    Su concepto fecundo,
    La preservada esposa: que en saliendo,
    El pacífico cetro de oro estiendo.

[407] On one occasion Argensola thus apostrophizes Mary Magdalen:--

        O tu siempre dichosa pecadora,
    La que fuiste por tal con grande espanto
    Del vulgo con el dedo señalada!
    Tus lagrimas con Christo pueden tanto,
    Que la menor lo enciende y enamora,
    Y á la culpa mayor dexa anegada.
    Tu quedas en Apostol transformada,
    Y de ignorante y mala, santa y sabia.
    No es mucho que la zarza en flor se mude,
    Y que el álamo sude
    En competencia de la mirra Arabia;
    Y que quando de yerba al campo priva,
    La mies en abundancia se recoja.
    Venid á ver de rosas y azucenas
    Las montañas estériles mas llenas,
    Y un arbol seco revestido de hoja.
    La planta antes inutil Dios cultiva:
    Regada en su jardin con agua viva,
    Es fructífera ya, y sus ramas bellas
    Tocan continuamente en las estrellas.

[408] _Conquista de las Islas Molucas, al Rey Felipe III. &c._ (written
at an earlier period than the Annals of Arragon), _por el Licenciado
Bartholemè Leonardo de Argensola._ Madrid, 1609, in folio. The library
of the University of Gottingen contains this work, and also that next

[409] _Primera parte_, (a second part was intended to follow), _de los
Anales de Aragon que prosigue los de G. Zurita_, &c. por el Dr. Barth.
Leon. de Argensola. Zaragoza, 1630, one vol. thick fol.

[410] The poetical registers in Lope de Vega’s _Laurel de Apolo_, in
Cervantes’s _Viage al Parnaso_, and in other laudatory or ironical
poems, are in no way available either for the historian or the critic.
Accident and caprice has introduced many obscure names into these
poems, and many of poetic merit are not mentioned.

[411] The poetic narrative extends to thirty-seven cantos.

[412] This description of the garden and palace of a magician in the
wilds of America, oversteps the bounds of consistency as well as
probability. The description of the magic palace deserves, however, to
be quoted:--

        Tenia el suelo por orden ladrillado
    de cristalinas losas trasparentes,
    que el color contrapuesto y variado
    hacía labor y visos diferentes:
    el cielo alto diáfano estrellado
    de inumerables piedras relucientes,
    que toda la gran cámara alegraba
    la vária luz que dellas revocaba.
        Sobre colunas de oro sustentadas
    cien figuras de bulto entórno estaban,
    por arte tan al vivo trasladadas,
    que un sordo bien pensára que hablaban:
    y dellas las hazañas figuradas
    por las anchas paredes se mostraban,
    donde se vía el extremo y excelencia
    de armas, letras, virtud, y continencia.
        En medio desta cámara espaciosa,
    que media milla en quadro contenia,
    estaba una gran ponia milagrosa,
    que una luciente esfera la ceñia,
    que por arte y labor maravillosa
    en el ayre por sí se sostenia
    que el gran círculo y máquina de dentro
    parece que estrivaban en su centro.

[413] Glaura thus speaks of the dangers to which her virtue was exposed
through the ardour of her lover’s tenderness:--

        Visto yo que por muestras y rodeo
    muchas veces su pena descubria,
    conocé que su intento y mal deseo
    de los honestos limites salia:
    mas ay! que en lo que yo padezco veo
    lo que el misero entonces padecia,
    que a término he llegado al pie del palo,
    que aun no puedo decir mal de lo malo.
        Hallábale mil veces suspirando
    en mí los engañados ojos puestos,
    otros andaba tímido tentando
    entrada a sus osados presupuestos:
    yo la ocasion dañosa desviando,
    con gravedad y términos honestos
    (que es lo que mas refrena la osadia)
    sus erradas quimeras deshacia.
        Estando sola en mi aposento un dia
    temerosa de algun atrevimiento,
    ante mí de rodillas se ponia
    con grande turbacion, y desatiento:
    diciendome temblando: o Glaura mia,
    ya no basta razon, ni sufrimiento,
    ni de fuerza una mínima me queda,
    que a la del fuerte amor resistir pueda. &c.

[414] Even Voltaire bears testimony to the excellence of this speech;
and Voltaire was certainly a judge of rhetorical excellence, though not
of poetical. The address commences thus:--

        Caciques del Estado defendores,
    codicia del mandar no me convida
    a pesarme de versos pretensores
    de cosa que a mí tanto era debida;
    porque segun mi edad, yá veis, señores,
    que estoy al otro mundo de partida;
    mas el amor que siempre os he mostrado,
    a bien aconsejaros me ha incitado.
        Por qué cargos honrosos pretendemos,
    Y ser en opinion grande tenidos,
    pues que negar al mundo no podemos
    haber sido sujetos y vencidos?
    y en esto averiguarnos no queremos
    estando aun de Españoles oprimidos:
    mejor fuera esta furia egecutalla
    contra el fiero enemigo en la batalla, &c.

[415] Velasquez and Dieze, p. 383, give numerous bibliographical
notices of these works.

[416] For example, in the following description of rural tranquillity:--

        Ay apacible y sosegada vida,
    de vulgar sujecion libre y esenta,
    dó el alma se sustenta
    con blanda soledad entretenida;
    dó nunca tuvo la malicia entrada,
      ni desagrada
      mansa pobreza:
      todo es llaneza
      sincéra y pura
      dó nunca dura
    el fingido doblez qué al alma gasta;
    ni al humílde espíritu contrasta!
        Aqui sustenta el mísero villano,
    sin artificio ó cautelosa mañana,
    la bellota ó castaña,
    apedreada de la simple mano.
    Dale del agua pura y trasparente
      la clara fuente
      no le molesta
      calor de siesta;
      y si le ofende
      luego se tiende
    bajo de un estendido sauce ó robre,
    contento, sin mirar si es rico ó pobre, &c.

[417] Several of Espinel’s prose works are inserted in the third volume
of the _Parnaso Español_; and the translation of the Epistle to the
Pisones, forms the commencement of the first volume of that collection.

[418] For example, the following. The prevailing idea is not new; but
it is followed up in the genuine spirit of sonnet composition.

    Jamas el cielo vio llegar Piloto
      Al desseado puerto tan contento
      De las furiosas olas y del viento
      La nave sin timon, y el arbol roto,
    Y tomando la tierra tan devoto
      Correr al templo con piadoso intento,
      Y en el por verse puesto en salvamento
      Colgar las ropas, y cumplir el voto:
    Qual yo escape del mar del llanto mio,
      Passada la borrasca de mi pena,
      Y en el puerto surgi del desengaño,
    Cuyo templo adorne de mi navio,
      Colge mis esperanças y cadena,
      Por ser mi bien el fruto de mi daño.

[419] The following is the first stanza of his cancion on the ascension
of the Holy Virgin:--

    Angelicas esquadras que en las salas
      Llenas de olor de gloria, con inmenso
      Gozo, de que llenays el claro Cielo,
      Andays batiendo las doradas alas,
      Y al eterno Regente days encienso,
      Que olor espira de inmortal consuelo,
      Torced el blando buelo,
      Y recebid en vuestras bellas plumas
      A la que encierra en si las gracias sumas,
      Pues que rompiendo la fulgente massa
      Del Cielo cristalina
      Que a la tierra e sirve de cortina,
      Veys que el un firmamento y otro passa
      Hasta llegar al trono do reside
      El que del Cielo el movimiento mide.

[420] His epistles in the satirical style are, however, so full of
allusions to particular circumstances which occurred during the life of
the author, that they are not easily understood. The following passage
is from an epistle on the Spanish comedy.

        Si quando Rey, como Señor se sienta
    si cobra quando Cid tantos aceros,
    que al parecer emprenderá a cinquenta,
        Es a dicha Morales, o Cisneros?
    o es la triste Belerma Mariflores,
    quando a llanto y pasion puede moveros?
        Claro es que no son ellos pues, Señores,
    qué importa a la Comedia que sean malos,
    si para recitar son los mejores?
        Los palos, que se dán alli son palos
    a los que como simples los reciben.
    El entremés fingido afrentarálos?
        A dicha los que mueren no reviven?
    y si es que lo requiere la maraña,
    los que lo fingen paren, o conciben?
        Sola la vista y opinion se engaña,
    y asi el vicio y virtud de ellos no ofende,
    ni a la Comedia en un cabello daña.

[421] The following colloquial sonnet may serve as an example:--

    _A._  Quién vive aqui?

    _C._                   Un pobre peregrino.

    _A._  Pues peregrino con hogar y casa?

    _C._  No la veis toda ya desierta y rasa,
          que solo este sobrado quedó en pino?

    _A._  Quién os retrajo a tal lugar?

    _C._                                Mi sino.

    _A._  Quién sois?

    _C._              Soy viento que no vuelve, y pasa:
          tuve favor del mundo, fuí del asa;
          pasó el buen tiempo, y el adverso vino.

    _A._  Qué haceis aqui?

    _C._                   Un cesto, una canasta,
          tal vez de mimbre, tal de seco esparto,
          con que gano el sustento que me basta.
          Y no me vi (os prometo) jamás harto
          de pretensiones militares hasta
          que el desengaño me alquiló este cuarto.

[422] For example:--

    Quién se fuera a la Zono inhabitable
        por no perder del todo la paciencia,
        que quieren que lo sufra, y que no hable!
    Tubieron Persio y Juvenal licencia
        de corregir las faltas del Imperio;
        y no he de hacer yo escrúpulo y conciencia,
    Viendo en una ventana una Glicerio,
        una segunda Venus, que la ocupa,
        donde pensaste que era un Monasterio,
    Y que a la mar se arroje la chalupa,
        como la galeaza, y tienda velas,
        y tanto aquesta, como aquella chupa?
    Mas quién no ha de calzarsa las espuelas,
        por no ver afeitada, como guinda,
        la que ha perdido en navegar las muelas?

[423] One of these compositions commences in the following way:--

        Qual llena de rocio
    suele salir, los campos alegrando,
    la clara Aurora con el rostro helado,
    sutil aura soplando,
    tal por el verde prado
    salío mi pastorcilla al llanto mio,
    dejando alegre el suelo,
    y de sus gracias embidioso el cielo.
        Esparcese sin arte
    sobre la nieve del marmoreo cuello,
    tirada en hebras larga vena de oro;
    y para euriquecello
    en dos madejas varias se reparte,
    con bien mayor tesoro,
    descubriendo la cara
    mas que la luna y las estrellas clara.
        La tierna yerva crece,
    donde la planta sienta, y eria olores,
    y el arbol que desgaja con su mano
    pimpollos brota y flores,
    y el ayre fresco y vano,
    hablando con olores lo enriquece,
    y lleno de alegria
    promete al mundo venturoso dia.

[424] The curate in Don Quixote, during the examination of the knight’s
library, says, that if these Tears had been doomed to be burnt, he
himself should have shed tears. I have not seen the book in any

[425] For example:--

        Ya en sus troncos nativos
    temerosa la sombra se recoge,
    y deja la floresta
    por bien pasar la fatigada siesta:
    ya el zefiro ligero, que despliega
    sus alas al nacer del Sol dorado,
    con arrullos lascivos
    al vendor de los hojas las entrega,
    y al blanco lirio en el sediento prado
    sobre los hombros de la flor vecina
    el cuello enfermo del calor inclina:
    Marcelo, al Olmo erguido, si te place,
    los pasos encamina,
    que al baño de las Náyades cortina
    entretegido con la yedra hace:
    sonará tu zampoña dulcemente,
    suave tu zampoña,
    con quien las duras sierpes su ponzoña,
    los vientos su braveza,
    y las fieras suspenden su aspereza.

[426] One of Martin’s most charming madrigals may be transcribed here:--

    Iba cogiendo flores,
        y guardando en la falda
        mi Ninfa, para hacer una guirlanda;
        mas primero las toca
        a las rosados labio de su boca,
        y les dá de su aliento los olores;
        y estaba (por su bien) entre una rosa
        una abeja éscondida,
        su dulce humor hurtando;
        y como en la hermosa
        flor de los labios se halló, atrevida,
        la picó, sacó miel, fuese volando.

[427] The following seems to have been vastly admired by some critics,
since it has found its way into various collections:--

    Revelome ayer Luysa
        Un caso bien de reyr,
            Quierotelo, Ines, dezir,
        Porque de caygas de risa.
    Has de saber que su tia,
        No puedo de risa, Ynes
            Quiero reyrme, y despues
        Lo dire quando no ria.

[428] For example, the following trifle:--

    Madalena me picò
        Con un alfiler el dedo,
        Dixele: Picado quedo,
        Pero ya lo estava yo.
    Riose, y con su cordura
        Acudio al remedio presto,
        Chupòme el dedo, y con esto
        Sanè de la picadura.

[429] For example:--

    Suelta la venda, sucio y asqueroso:
    laba los ojos llenos de legañas:
    cubre las carnes y lugares feos,
        hijo de Venus.
    Deja las alas, las doradas flechas,
    arco, y aljaba, y el ardiente fuego,
    para que en falta tuya lo gobierne
        hombre de seso.

[430] See page 37.

[431] One of his canciones addressed to his country, commences in the
following manner:--

        Levante noble España
    tu coronada frente,
    y alégrate de verre renascida
    por todo quanto baña
    en torno la corriente
    del uno y otro mar con mejor vida,
    qual Fenix encendida
    en gloriosa llama
    de ingenio soberano
    muy alto y muy humano,
    que á tí y á sí dió vida y inmortal fama,
    que durará en el suelo
    quanto la inmortal obra de Marcelo.
        Dejaron muy escura
    las importunas guerras
    de Vándalos y Godos generosos
    la antigua hermosura
    de tus felices tierras
    y sitios de tus pueblos glorïosos:
    y al fin mas invidiosos
    dé tu belleza ilustre
    los fieros Africanos
    con muy profanas manos
    estragaron del todo el sacro lustre
    del terreno mas lindo
    que hay desde el mar Atlantico hasta el Indo.

[432] For instance, the following sonnet:--

        Yace tendido en la desierta arena,
    Que quasi siempre el mar baña y esconde,
    De Tirsi el cuerpo; el alma alverga donde
    Sembrò Amor la simiente de su pena:
        Alli miéntras su llanto amargo suena
    Entre las peñas, Eco le responde:
    Tirsi cuitado, donde estas? Por donde
    Saldràs á ver tu luz pura e serena?
        Aqui el cielo nubloso, el viento ayrado
    Mantienen con el mar perpetua guerra,
    Y él con estas montañas que rodea.
        Ay de ti, Tirsi, de dolor cercado,
    Mas que de mar, quando será que lea
    Fili en tu frente lo que el pecho encierra.

[433] A new edition of the best poems of Francisco de Figueroa was
published by Ramon Fernandez at Madrid, in 1785, in 8vo.

[434] One of his Endechas commences thus:--

        Bella Zagleja
    del color moreno,
    blanco milagroso
    de mi pensamiento:
        Gallarda trigueña,
    de belleza extremo,
    ardor de las almas,
    y de amor troféo:
        Suave Sirena,
    que con tus acentos
    detienes el curso
    de los pasageros:
        Desde que te ví
    tal estoy que siento
    preso el alvedrío,
    y abrasado el pecho.

[435] For example:--

        De las Damas fantásticas,
    mas que la caña móviles,
    presos de amor en esta red amplífica,
    seglares y monásticas
    de baja suerte ignóbiles,
    de muy oscura fama y muy clarífica,
    que lengua tan manífica
    dirá los echos frívolos,
    vanidades gentílicas,
    pues templos y Basílicas
    pretenden como dioses estos ídolos,
    Lucrecias y Cleópatras,
    que hacen á los necios ser idólatras?

[436] The following is one of his sonnets:--

    Si pudo de Anfion el dulce canto
        Juntar las piedras del Troyano muro,
        Si con suave lira, oso seguro
        Baxar el Tracio al Reyno del espanto;
    Si la voz regalada pudo tanto,
        Que abrio las puertas de diamante duro,
        Y un rato suspendio de aquel escuro
        Lugar la pena y miserable llanto;
    Y si del canto la admirable fuerça
        Domestica los fieros animales,
        Y enfrena la corriente de los rios.
    Que nueva pena en mi pesar se esfuerza,
        Pues con lo que descrecen otros males,
        Se van acrecentando mas los mios.

[437] The collection is entitled--_Flores de Poetas ilustres de España,
&c. ordenada por Pedro Espinosa_. _Valladolid_, 1605, in quarto. From
this anthology has been partly selected the specimens of the works of
those poets who have just been noticed. The rest of the examples are
scattered through the _Parnaso Español_.

[438] His Castilian and Portuguese poems are published under the
title:--_Fuente de Aganippe, o Rimas varias de Manuel de Faria y
Sousa_, &c. Madrid 1656, 4 vols. octavo. They are also included in his
_Divinas y Humanas Flores_, Madrid 1624, in octavo.

[439] This absurdity occurs in a gloss on an old couplet.

        Ojos, en cuya hermosura
    cifrò mi suerte el Amor,
    grandes como mi dolor,
    negros como mi ventura.
        En una hermosura de ojos
    dixo Amor que me daria
    a padecer sus enojos,
    donde el Alma dexaria,
    de su incendio, por despojos.
        Pues si en la belleza pura
    de ojos, mi muerte procura;
    si en vos mis ojos no fue,
    que soys de Albania, no se,
    ojos, en cuya hermosura.
        Quiso amor mostrarme ardiente
    mi suerte en cifras algunas,
    y vio de negro luziente
    rayadas _dos medias lunas
    en el papel de la frente_:
    Y abaxo visto el valor,
    ojos, de vuestro esplendor,
    por ceros vino a teneros,
    que en dos animados zeros
    cifró mi suerte el Amor.

[440] In the original this odd conceit runs in the following way:--

        Flechando de sus manos peregrinas,
    de cristal diez luzientes passadores,
    _de rubi_ fue _el efeto_ en mis dolores,
    si de Albania las _causas cristalinas_.
        Mas ya que, _humanas, quando no divinas_,
    en _sangrienta ofension_ forman amores,
    de tantos _deificados esplendores_
    desmentidos en nieve, y clavellinas.
        Amor en mis heridas reparando,
    _de flechas con dulcissimo decoro_,
    a mi noble aficion la vá inclinando.
        Yo de nuevo, aunque herido, me enamoro
    de verle hermosamente estar flechando
    _en blancos de diamante empleos deoro_.

[441] His _Europa Portuguesa_, (a bombastic title for _Portugal
Europeano_) is a work which contains considerable information on the
statistics of Portugal.

[442] The following, which is a description of Life in Madrid, may
serve as a specimen of these satirical sonnets:--

        Una vida bestial de encantamiento,
    Harpias contra bolsas conjuradas,
    Mil vanas pretensiones engañadas,
    Por hablar un oidor, mover el viento;
        Carrozas y lacayos, pages ciento,
    Hábitos mil con virgenes espadas,
    Damas parleras, cambios, embaxadas,
    Caras posadas, trato fraudulento;
        Mentiras arbitreras, Abogados,
    Clerigos sobre mulas, como mulos,
    Embustes, calles sucias, lodo eterno;
        Hombres de guerra medio estropeados,
    Titulos y lisonjas, disimulos,
    Esto es Madrid, mejor dixera Infierno.

[443] The following _Letrilla_ may be taken as a specimen of Gongora’s
artificial style:--

        Da bienes fortuna
    Que no están escritos,
    Quando pitos flautas,
    Quando flautas pitos.
        Quan diversas sendas
    Se suelen seguir
    En el repartir
    Las honras y haciendas.
        A unos dá encomiendas,
    A otros sambenitos,
    Quando pitos: &c.
        A veces despoja
    De choza y apero
    Al mayor cabrero,
    Y á quien se le antoja,
    La cabra mas coja
    Parió dos cabritos,
    Quando pitos, &c.
        Porque en una aldea
    Un pobre mancebo
    Hurtó solo un huebo,
    A sol bambonea,
    Y otro se pasea
    Con cien mil delitos,
    Quando, &c.

[444] A charming little song by Gongora commences in the following

        Las flores del romero,
    Niña Isabel,
    Hoy son flores azules,
    Mañana serán miel.
        Zelosa estás la niña,
    Zelosa estás de aquel,
    Dichoso pues lo buscas,
    Ciego, pues no te vé.
        Ingrato pues te enoja,
    Y confiado, pues
    No se disculpa hoy
    De lo que hizo ayer.
        Enjugen esperanzas
    Lo que lloras por él,
    Que zelos entre aquellos
    Que se han querido bien,
    Hoy son flores azules, &c.

[445] The poem commences as follows:--

        Era del Año la Estacion florida,
    En que el mentido Robador de Europa
    (Media Luna las Armas de su Frente,
    Y el Sol todos los Rayos de su Pelo)
    Luciente honor del Cielo
    En campos de Zafiro pace Estrellas
    Quando el que ministrar podia la Copa
    A Jupiter mejor, que el Garçon de Ida
    Naufragò, y desdeñado sobre ausente,
    Lagrimosas de Amor, dulzes Querellas
    Dá al Mar, que condolido
    Fue à las Hondas, que al Viento
    El misero Gemido,
    Segundo, de Arion, dulze Instrumento, &c.

The above is only about the half of the first period.

[446] The singularity of the language must be perceptible even to
those who possess only a slight knowledge of Spanish. The dedication
commences as follows:--

        Passos de un Peregrino, son, errante,
    Quantos me dictó Versos, dulze Musa,
    En Soledad confusa,
    Perdidos unos y otros Inspirados,
    O tu, que de venablos impedido,
    Muros de Abeto, Almenas de Diamante,
    Bates los Montes, que de Nieve armados
    Gigantes de Cristal los teme el Cielo,
    Donde el Cuerno del Eco repetido,
    Fieras te expone, que al teñido Suelo
    Muertas pidiendo Terminos disformes;
    Espumoso Coral le dan al Tormes.

[447] The two concluding stanzas of Gongora’s _Polyphemus_ are worthy
to be transcribed as literary curiosities:--

        Con Violencia desgajo infinita
    La maior Punta de la excelsa Roca,
    Que al Joven, sobre quien la precipita,
    Urna es mucho, Piramide no poca:
    Con lagrimas la Ninfa solicita
    Las Diedades del Mar, que Acis invoca,
    Concurren todas, y el Peñasco duro,
    La Sangre que exprimiò Cristal fue puro.
        Sus Miembros lastimosamente opresos,
    Del Escollo fatal fueron apenas,
    Que los Pies de los Arboles mas gruessos
    Calçò el liquido Aljofar de sus Venas:
    Corriente Plata al fin sus blancos Huesos,
    Lamiendo Flores, y argentando Arenas,
    A Doris llega, que con Llanto pio
    Yerno lo saludò lo aclamò Rio.

[448] Notices concerning the various editions of the works of Gongora,
may be found in Dieze’s Remarks on Velasquez, p. 251. A selection from
the works of this unsuccessful genius, whose real merit some critics
have attempted to deny, was published by Don Ramon Fernandez, under the
title of _Poesias de D. Luis Gongora_, Madrid 1787. The selection forms
a small octavo volume.

[449] Dieze calls the _estilo culto_ the Spanish ornamental style; but
this term is incorrect when employed to designate the particular style
of Gongora’s school.

[450] Among these illustrative works, are Salcedo Coronel’s diffuse
Commentaries on Gongora’s _Polyphemus y Soledades_, printed in 1629 and
1636; and also the _Lecciones solennes a las Obras de Luis de Gongora_,
by Joseph Pellicer de Salas, which appeared in 1630. See also Dieze’s

[451] The fifth volume of the _Parnaso Español_ is disfigured by a
considerable number of Ladesma’s poems.

[452] How pompously this poem commences in the original!--And yet how
much in the romance style!

        Sale la estrella de Oriente
    al tiempo que Dios dispone
    que el enemigo del dia
    pierda la presa que coge,
        Y con ella la esperanza
    de sus falsas pretensiones,
    tomando Dios carne humana,
    para que el hombre le goce:
        Por donde Santa Maria
    recibe el famoso nombre
    de ser Madre, siendo virgen,
    de quien siendo Dios, es hombre.
        Muy pobremente camina
    con ser tan rico y tan noble,
    que amores de cierta Dama
    le traen en hábito de pobre; &c.

[453] This rhapsody cannot be read without exciting astonishment.

    Los _milagros de Amarilis_,
        aquel _Angel superior_,
        a quien dan nombre de _Fenix,
        la verdad, y la passion_.
    Mirava a su puerta un dia,
        en la Corte un labrador,
        que _si adorar no merece,
        padecer si, mereciò.
    Una tarde, que es mañana_,
        pues _el Alva se riò_,
        y entre carmin encendido,
        candidas perlas mostró.
    Divirtiose en abrasar
        a los mismos que alumbrò,
        y _del cielo de si misma
        el Angel bello cayò, &c._

[454] The _Gridonia_ is included in the _Obras Posthumas Divinas y
Humanas de Don Felix de Arteaga_, Madrid 1641, 1 vol. octavo.

[455] The collection which I have now before me, and which is entitled
_Varios y Honestos Entretenimientos_, by Castillo Solorzano, (Mexico,
1625, in octavo), was, apparently, not the only publication of the kind
which appeared in Mexico.

[456] Velasquez has occasioned no small degree of confusion in this
portion of the history of Spanish poetry. He first, according to the
principles of French criticism, confounds all the dramatic writers of
Spain in one class, and afterwards draws wide distinctions between them.

[457] _Obras Tragicas y Lyricas del Capitan Christoval de Virues_,
Madrid 1609, in octavo. It does not appear that they have ever been

[458] The following monologue, in which Semiramis wavers between the
conflicting passions of love and ambition, will afford a specimen of
the tragic style of Virues:--

        Pero mis pensamientos amorosos
    dexadme aora en paz, mientras la guerra
    di mis altos desseos valerosos
    hace temblar y estremecer la tierra.
    Los filos azerados rigurosos
    que en la baina mil años á que encierra
    mi coraçon, dexad que aora corten,
    que tiempo avra despues que se reporten.
        Tiempo despues avra para gozarme
    no con un Nino torpe i asqueroso,
    tiempo tendre despues para emplearme
    en un Zopiro dulce i amoroso,
    tiempo tendre para desencerrarme
    de un cautiverio infame i afrentoso
    que à ya diez i seis años que en mi Reina
    con titulo de Reina sin ser Reina.
        Aora lo sere, no ai duda en ello,
    aunque la tierra se rebuelva i hunda,
    avra sacare del yugo el cuello
    aunque Amon con sus rayos me confunda,
    avra a mis desseos pondre el sello,
    destas traças mi gozo i bien redunda,
    de aqui sucederá, i sino sucede
    cosa no avra que no intentada quede.

[459] He says in his prologue:--

        Yo creo que el mas alto i cierto amparo
    que en todo el suelo tiene, está sin duda
    aquí donde oi se aguarda la Tragedia
    de la cruel Casandra, ya famosa
    la cual tambien cortada a la medida
    de exemplos de virtud (aunque mostrados
    tal vez por su contrario el vicio) viene
    acompañada con el dulce gusto,
    _siguiendo en esto la mayor fineza
    del arte antigo i del moderno uso_,
    que jamas en Teatros Españoles
    visto se aya, sin que a nadie agravie.

[460] For example in the following scene. The prince is surprised by
his beloved Fulgencia, against whom he has been prepossessed by the
treacherous hypocrisy of Casandra:--

    _Fulgenc._    La que sin ti Señor no quiere vida,
                  no es mucha que no huya de la muerte
                  que tu saña le tiene prometida
                  osando, como ves, bolver a verte.
                  Aqui me tienes a tus pies rendida.
                  Si verme en tu presencia es ofenderte
                  tanto que en mi executes lo jurado
                  é aqui mi cuello al hierro aparejado.

    _Princip._    Es ilusion, es sueño lo que veo
                  i lo que oyo? que dezis Fulgencia?
                  que novedad es esta a devaneo?
                  tentaisme por ventura de paciencia?
                  de vuestra muerte tengo yo desseo?

    _Casand._     i a mi me à de ofender vuestra presencia?
                  i yo é jurado cosa en vuestro daño?
                  venis dezi con algun nuevo engaño?
                      Basta pues el passado con que el Conde
                  quisistes poner mal comigo tanto,
                  la verdad es un Sol que no de esconde.
                  De vuestro aviso y discrecion me espanto, &c.

[461] _Para Todos, Exemplos morales, humanos y divinos, en que se
tratan diversas Ciencias, &c. por el Doctor Juan Perez de Montalvan_,
in quarto. In the copy which I have seen, the date of the year on the
title-page is obliterated.

[462] The historical drama, in which Montalvan has drawn the character
of Philip II. bears the affected title of _El segundo Seneca de
España_. The second Seneca, here alluded to, is no other than Philip
himself. Montalvan has, on the contrary, described the Infant Don
Carlos as a noisy blusterer. Philip summons Carlos to his presence in
order to correct him:--

    _Rey._  Yo tengo pocas razones,
            pero tengo muchos manos,
            y al passo que sé quereros
            sabre tambien castigaros.
            Vuestras locas travesuras
            me secaron de mi passo,
            que aun una cuerda torcida,
            si la tiran mucho al arco,
            parece que se querella,
            y se buelve contra el braço.

    _Pr._                Si Señor.

    _R._    Pues procurad de enmendaros,
            que os pesarâ de no hazerlo,
            si, por la vida de entrambos.

(_Levantase furioso, y quierese ir._)

    _Pr._   Fuego por los ojos echa.
            Vive Dios que le he temblado,
            pero no importa. Señor!

    _Rey._  Que quereis?

    _Pr._   A no enojaros
            el escucharme, yo os diera
            por mi parte tal descargo,
            que con vos quedara bien,
            puesto que estais enojado.

    _R._    Antes me hareis un gran gusto,
            por disculparme en amaros.

Philip then continues to admonish Don Carlos in a pompous tone of
suppressed ill humour.

[463] The comedy in which the character of Henry IV. appears, is
entitled _El Mariscalo de Viron_. Henry and Marshal de Biron are
rivals in a love affair. The Marshal, with the frankness of a soldier,
confesses his attachment for the lady, and Henry relinquishes his suit.
“And did this give you so much concern?” says Henry to the Marshal.

    _Marisc._    Esta es mi confusion.

    _Rey._       Y esso os tenia afligido?

    _Mar._       Claro esta porque naci
                 inferior y vos aqui
                 sois mi Rey.

    _Rey._                    Vos los aveis sido
                 para mi en mí voluntad,
                 como aora lo vereis:
                 ya, Blanca, dueño teneis.

    _Blan._      De que manera?

    _Rey._                      Escuchad
                 Carlos, quanto a lo primero
                 os aviso, que no es ley,
                 que un vasallo con su Rey
                 hable nunca tan entero.
                 Porque se deve advertir,
                 que el Rey se puede enojar,
                 y enojada, hazer baxar
                 al mismo que hizo subir.
                 Vos aqui me aveis hablado
                 con alguna sequedad:
                 pero mi gran voluntad
                 el yerro os ha perdonado.
                 Que nunca para consigo
                 amigo se ha de dezir
                 al que no sabe sufrir
                 alguna falta a su amigo:
                 yo lo soy vuestro, y ansi
                 (aunque à Blanca amando estoy)
                 licencia de amarla os doy,
                 y servirla desde aqui.

[464] But these autos are included in the _Para Todos_. See note, page

[465] _Relaciones de la vida del escudero Marcos de Obregon, &c. por el
Maestro Vicente Espinel_; Barcelona, 1618, in octavo.

[466] See page 414.

[467] _Primera parte de la vida del Picaro Guzman de Alfarache,
compuesta por Mattheo Aleman. Brussel._ 1604, in 8vo. is the title of
the oldest edition that I have seen. The words _Primera parte_ have
reference to the Continuation, which is the production of another

[468] Besides those which are included in his _Para todas_, a separate
collection was published under the title of _Succesos y prodigios
de Amor, en ocho novelas exemplares, por el Doctor Juan Perez de
Montalvan_. The sixth edition (that with which I am acquainted), was
published at Seville in 1633, in 4to.

[469] Those who wish to find a catalogue of Spanish novels and romances
of middling and inferior merit, must turn to Blankenburg, who, in
his appendix to Sulzer’s article _Erzählung_, enumerates them at
considerable length. The list might be augmented by an examination of
the collection of novels and romances in the library of the University
of Göttingen.

[470] A new edition of the _Novelas entretenidas, compuestas por Doña
Mariana de Caravajal y Saavedra_, was published at Madrid so late as
the year 1728.

[471] In Spanish this phrase has a comical effect:--_Entretenimientos
en que divertas las perezosas noches del erizado invierno_.

[472] She says:--Admitas mi voluntad, perdonando los defectos de
una _tan mal cortada pluma_, en la qual hallaras mayores _deseos de
servirte con doze comedias_, en que _conoscas lo affectuoso de mi

[473] Mariana wrote as early as the reign of Charles V. and he died in
the year 1623, in the ninetieth year of his age.

[474] The title is:--_Joannis Marianæ Historiæ, de rebus Hispaniæ,
libri triginta_. It has been frequently printed; and there is one very
elegant edition in large folio, _Hagae Comitum_ 1731. The Spanish
names of persons and places are, however, latinized in a manner so
artificial, as to render them no less unintelligible than the names in
Cardinal Bembo’s History.

[475] There is a beautiful edition of this historical work, published
by patriotic subscription, in a series of small folio volumes, under
the following title:--_Historia general de España, que escribiò el P.
Juan de Mariana, &c._ Valencia, 1785.

[476] The subjoined extract, which affords a specimen of Mariana’s
historical style, is the commencement of his description of the battle,
which was lost by King Roderick in conflict with the Arabs, and which
was followed by the overthrow of the gothic monarchy:--

El movido del peligro y daño, y encendido en deseo de tomar emienda
de lo pasado y de vengarse, apellidó todo el reyno. Mandó que todos
los que fuesen de edad, acudiesen á las banderas. Amenazó con graves
castigos á los que lo contrario hiciesen. Juntóse á este llamamiento
gran número de gente: los que menos cuentan, dicen fueron pasados
de cien mil combatientes. Pero con la larga paz, como acontece,
mostrábanse ellos alegres y bravos, blasonaban y aun renegaban;
mas eran cobardes á maravilla, sin esfuerzo y aun sin fuerzas para
sufrir los trabajos y incomodidades de la guerra. La mayor parte iban
desarmados, con hondas solamente ó bastones. Este fue el exército con
que el Rey marchó la vuelta del Andalucía. Llegó por sus jornadas
cerca de Xerez, donde el enemigo estaba alojado. Asentó sus reales y
fortificólos en un llano por la parte que pasa el rio Guadalete. Los
unos y los otros deseaban grandemente venir á las manos; los Moros
orgullosos con la victoria; los Godos por vengarse, por su patria,
hijos, mugeres y libertad no dudaban poner á riesgo las vidas, sin
embargo que gran parte dellos sentian en sus corazones una tristeza
extraordinaria, y un silencio qual suele caer á las veces como presagio
del mal que ha de venir sobre algunos. _Lib._ vi. _cap._ 23.

[477] The surname Villegas has given rise to many blunders respecting
Quevedo and the celebrated Estèban Manuel de Villegas. A good abstract
of the various biographical notices of Quevedo is prefixed to the
fourth volume of the _Parnaso Español_.


    Verdades diré en camisa,
    Poco menos que desnudas.

[479] These canciones and romances are contained in the great
collection of the poems of Quevedo, published by the Gongorist Gonzales
de Salas, under the Gongoristic title of _El Parnaso Español, Monte en
dos cumbres dividido_, (that is to say, in two volumes.) A new, but
very far from elegant, edition of this collection of Quevedo’s poems
appeared at Madrid, in 1729, in quarto. It is divided into books, each
of which bears the name of one of the muses.

[480] For example, in the following song to a linnet, which is
described as a singing and flying flower:--

    _Flor que cantas, flor que buelas_
        Y tienes por _facistol_
        _El laurel_, para que al Sol,
        Con tan _sonoras cautelas_,
        Le madrugas, y desuelas,
        Digas mè,
        Dulce Gilguero, por què?
    Dime, _Cantor Ramillete,
        Lyra de pluma volante,
        Silvo alado_, y elegante,
        Que en el rizado copete
        Luces flor, suenas falsete,
        Porque _cantas_ con porfia
        _Embidias, que llora el dia_,
        Con lagrimas de la Aurora
        Si en la risa de Lidora
        Su amanecer desconsuelas,
        Flor que cantas, flor que buelas, &c.

[481] For example, in the following song, which passes from one style
to another:--

    Pero siendo tu en la Villa
        Dama, de demanda, y trote,
        Bien puede ser que del mote,
        No ayas visto la cartilla.
        Vá de el estilo que brilla
        _En la Culterana Prosa,
        Grecizante, y Latinosa_:
        Mucho serà si me entiendes,
        Yo vacio pyras, y asciendes,
        Culto và Señora hermosa.
    Si bien _el palor ligustre
        Desfallece los candores_,
        Quando muchos esplendores
        Conduce à poco _palustre,
        Construye al aroma ilustre_
        Victima de tanto culto,
        Presentiendo de tu vulto,
        Que rayos fulmina horrendo;
        _Ni me entiendes, ni te entiendo,
        Pues catate, que soy culto_.

[482] A specimen of this gypsey gibberish may be curious to those who
are not acquainted with it:--

    Ya està guardando en la trena
        Tu querido Escarraman,
        Que unos alfileres vivos,
        Me prendieron sin pensar.
    Andaba à caza de gangas,
        Y grillos vine à cazar,
        Que en mi cantan como enhaza,
        Las noches de por San Juan.
    Entrandome en la bayuca,
        Llegandome à remojar
        Cierta pendencia mosquito,
        Que se ahogò en vino, y pan.

[483] A new collection of this kind of gypsey romances, was published
at Madrid in 1779, in octavo, under the title of Romances de
_Germania_. _Germania_ is the Spanish name for the gypsey race.

[484] For example, one in which a young married man, on the third day
after his nuptials, asks his spouse, how many years a man daily grows
older in the matrimonial state?

    Antiyer nos casamos, oy querria,
        Doña Perez, saber ciertas verdades;
        Decidme, quanto numero de edades
        Enfunda el matrimonio en solo un dia?
    Un antiyer soltero ser solia,
        Y oy casado un sin fin de Navidades
        Han puesto dos marchitas voluntaries
        Y mas de mil antaños en la mia.
    Esto de ser marido un año arreo,
        Aun à los azacanes empalaga;
        Todo lo cotidiano es mucho, y feo.

[485] See the collection of Salas, Musa II. &c.

[486] This appears in the commencement of the following extract.

    No he de callar, por mas que con el dedo,
        Yà tocando la boca, ò y á la frente,
        Silencio, avises, ò amenaces miedo.
    No ha de aver un espiritu valiente?
        Siempre se ha de sentir, lo que se dice?
        Nunca se ha de decir, lo que se siente?
    Oy sin miedo, que libre escandalice,
        Puede hablar al ingenio, assegurado
        De que mayor poder le atemorice.
    En otros siglos pudo ser pecado
        Severo estudio, y la verdad desnuda,
        Y romper el silencio el bien hablado.
    Pues sepa quien lo niega, y quien lo duda,
        Que es lengua la Verdad de Dios severo,
        Y la lengua de Dios nunca fue muda.
    Son la verdad, y Dios, Dios verdadero.
        Ni eternidad divina los separa,
        Ni de los dos alguno fue primero.
    Si Dios à la verdad se adelantàra,
        Siendo verdad, implicacion huviera
        En ser, y en que verdad de ser dexàra.

[487] He earnestly condemns the Spanish imitation of the Arabian
tournaments with pointed canes.

    Quexosa es vèr un Infazon de España,
        Abreviado en la silla à la gineta,
        Y gastar un cavallo en una caña?
    Que la niñez al gollo le acometa
        Con semejante municion, apruebo;
        Mas no la edad madura, la perfeta.
    Exercite sus fuercas el mancebo
        Enfrentes de esquadrones; no en la frente
        De el util bruto el hasta de el acebo.
    El trompete le llama diligente,
        Dando fuerza de ley el viento vano,
        Y al son estè el exercito obediente.
    Con quanta magestad llena la mano
        La pica, y el mosquete carga el ombro,
        De el que se atreve á ser buen Castellano.

[488] Quevedo’s _Sueños_, or Visions, which are now translated into
almost every cultivated language in Europe, were shortly after their
appearance, introduced into German literature by Moscherosch von
Wilstedt, under the title of _Gesichte Philanders von Sittewald_. The
romance of the Great Tacaño has also been translated into various

[489] Pero lo que mas me espantò, fue de ver los cuerpos de dos o tres
mercadores, que se havian vestido las almas de revès, y tenian todos
los cinco sentidos en las uñas de la mana derecha. _Sueño del Juizio
final, o de las Calaveras._

[490] An elegant edition of these poems was published by Luis Joseph
Velasquez, the author of the History of Spanish Poetry, under the title
of--_Poesias que publicò Dr. Francisco de Quevedo Villegas con el
nombre de Bachiller Franc. de la Torre_, &c. Madrid, 1753, in quarto.
Velasquez has proved Quevedo to be the author of these compositions.

[491] For example:--

        Bella es mi Ninfa, si los lazos de oro
    al apacible viento desordena:
    bella si de sus ojos enagena
    el altivo desdèn que siempre lloro.
        Bella, si con la luz que sola adoro
    la tempestad del viento, y mar serena:
    bella, si à la dureza de mi pena
    buelve las gracias del celeste Coro.
        Bella, si mansa, bella si terrible,
    bella si cruda, bella esquiva, y bella
    si buelve grave aquella luz del Cielo.
        Cuya beldad humana, y apacible,
    ni se puede saber lo que es sin vella,
    ni vista entenderà la que es el suelo.

[492] The commencement of one of these Endechas may be transcribed as
a specimen:--

        Corona del Cielo,
    Ariadna bella,
    conocida estrella
    del nocturno velo,
    Tù sola del coro
    de las lumbres bellas,
    oye mis querellas,
    pues tus males lloro.
    Tù fuiste querida,
    y olvidada fuiste,
    yo querido, y triste,
    quien me amò, me olvida.

[493] The style of the following appears unobjectionable:--

    Esta por ser, ò Lisi, la primera
        Flor, que ha ossado fiar de los calores,
        Recien nacïdas joyas, y colores,
        Aventurando el precio à la ribera:
    Esta, que estudio fue à la Primavera,
        Y en quien se anticiparon esplendores.
        De el Sol, será primicia de las flores,
        Y culto, con que la alma te venera.
    A corta vida nace destinada,
        Sus edades son horas: en un dia
        Su parto, y muerte el Cielo rie, y llora.
    Logrese en tu cabello respetada
        De el año, no malogre lo que cria,
        Aqueta en larga vida, eterna Aurora.

[494] The following is on modern Rome:--

    Buscas en Roma à Roma, ó Peregrino,
        Y en Roma misma à Roma no la hallas.
        Cadaver son, las que ostentò murallas,
        Y Tumba de sì proprio el Aventino.
    Yaze donde reynaba el Palatino,
        Y limadas del tiempo las medallas,
        Mas se muestran destrozo á las batallas
        De las edades, que Blason Latino.
    Solo el Tiber quedò, cuya corriente,
        Si ciudad la regò, yà sepoltura
        La llora con funesto son doliente.
    O Roma, en tu grandeza, en tu hermosura
        Huyò lo que era firme, y solamente
        Lo fugitive permanece, y dura.

[495] For example, the following, which is addressed to Astræa:--

    Arroja las balanzas, sacra Astrea,
        Pues que tienen tu mano embarazada;
        Y si se mueven, tiemblan de tu espada,
        Que el peso, y la igualdad no las menea.
    No estàs justificada, sino fea;
        Y en vez de estàr igual, estàs armada;
        Feroz te vé la gente, no ajustada;
        Quieres que el tribunal batalla sea?
    Yà militan las Leyes, y el Derecho,
        Y te sirven de textos las heridas,
        Que escrive nuestra sangre en nuestro pecho.
    La parca eres fatal para las vidas,
        Pues lo que hilaron otras, has deshecho,
        Y has buelto las balanzas homicidas.

[496] This may probably account for its insertion in the second volume
of the _Parnaso Español_.

[497] The third book of the first division of these poems, is dedicated
to Fernandez de Velasco, the constable of Castile. In the dedicatory
verses Villegas says:--

    Mis dulces cantilenas,
    Mis suaves delicias,
    _A los viente limadas,
    A los cotorce escritas, &c._

[498] The edition which I have seen, is entitled, _Amatorias de D.
Esteban Manuel de Villegas_. It is printed at Naxera, and on the
title-page bears the date of 1620, and on the final page 1617.


    Assi las hebras, que en el alma adoro,
    Del Zefiro movidas,
    Daran mil muertes, venceran mil vidas.


    Ni el mismo Sol resplandecer pudiera,
    Si de tu roja frente
    No hurtara rayos, para darle al Oriente.

[501] In this ode Villegas says:--

        No aspiro a mas laureles que a mi llama:
    que offende a sus deseos, quien bien ama:
    siga el joven valiente
    en polverosa meta carro ardiente,
    i el, de todos servido,
    feliz privado, a rei agradecido;
    siga de noche, i dia
    por la campaña umbria
    el caçador ligero
    al xavalì cerdoso,
    ya siendo monteado, ya montero.
    Siga por mar i tierra el belicoso
    varon, la dura guerra,
    i en mar sea delfin, i tigre en tierra.
        Que yo, de alagos tiernos persuadido,
    seguir tengo las llamas de Cupido,
    seguir tengo los fuegos,
    adestrado de locos, i de ciegos.

[502] For example, the following stanzas:--

        O quan dulce, i suave
    es ver al campo, quando mas recrea:
    en el se quexa el ave,
    el viento el spira, agua lisongea,
    i las pintadas flores
    crian mil vìsos, paren mil olores.
        El alamo, i el pino
    sirven de estorbos a la luz de Febo.
    Brinda el baso contino
    del claro arroyo con aljofar nuevo,
    i la tendida grama
    mesa a la gula es, i al sueño cama.
        Tu solamente bella
    nos haces falta, Tyndarias graciosa,
    i si tu blanca hicella
    no te nos presta como el alva hermosa,
    lo dulce i lo suave
    quan amargo sera, quan duro, i grave, &c.

[503] One of these odes commences in the following comic style:--

        Entanto pues, hermosa casadilla,
    que los dos al pavon i tortolilla
    imitamos fielmente,
    tu con belleça, i yo con voz doliente:
    mi voz de tu belleça
    cante, qual cisne en su mayor tristeça:
    pues por ti mi deseo
    es musico suave mas que Orfeo.
        Cante el heroico al son de la trompeta
    el subito rumor de la escopeta,
    i el tragico celêbre
    calçado de Cothurno, accion funêbre:
    que yo de ti, casada,
    lyrico siendo, en cythara templada
    cantarê solamente
    tu voca, i ojos, tu mexilla, i frente, &c.

[504] For example in the song (for an ode it is not) in which the
concluding line of each stanza is repeated as a burthen.

        Jurò, que me seria
    en amarme tan firme como roca,
    o como robre essento:
    i que atras volveria
    este arroyuelo, que estas hayas toca,
    antes que el juramento:
    pero ya la perjura
    cortar el arbol de mi fè procura.
    Este diran los vientos,
    que dieron a su jura las orejas:
    esto diran los rios,
    que por estar atentos
    el susurro enfrenaron a sus quexas:
    pero los llantos mios
    diran, que la perjura
    cortar el arbol de mi fè procura.

[505] One commences thus:--

        Luego que por oriente
    muestra su blanca frente
    el alba, que aporfia
    sano nos muestra el dia,
    i a la tarde doliente:
    veras salir las aves,
    ya ligeras, ya graves,
    i ya libres del sueño
    esclavas a su dueño
    dar canticos suaves:
    las Auras distraìdas,
    que soplan esparcìdas
    por selvas no plantadas,
    o se mueven paradas,
    o se paran movìdas, &c.

[506] The following contains an exquisite picture of the grief of a
bird for the loss of her young:--

        Yo vi sobre un tomillo
    quexarse un paxarillo
    viendo su nido amado,
    de quien era caudillo,
    de un labrador robado.
    Vìle tan congojado
    por tal atrevimiento
    dar mil quexas al viento
    para que al cielo santo
    lleve su tierno llanto,
    lleve su triste acento,
    yà con triste harmonia
    esforçando al intento
    mil quexas repitia:
    ya cansando callava:
    y al nuevo sentimiento
    ya sonòro volvia.
    Ya circular volaba:
    ya rastrero corria:
    ya pues de rama en rama
    al rùstico seguia,
    i saltando en la grama,
    parece que decia:
    dame, rùstico fiero,
    mi dulce compañìa!
    Yoì qué respondia
    el rùstico: _No quiero_.

[507] The subjoined passage presents a specimen of the affectation of
the Estilo Culto:--

      Los ciento, que dio passòs, bella dama,
    los mil, que dio suspiros, tierno rio,
    siendo ella esquiva, mas que al Sol su rama,
    i el, mas que el Sol, amante a su desvio:
    yo cantarè, que amor mi pecho inflama,
    i no de Marte el plomo, cuyo brio
    en el vaciado bronce, resonante
    vengança es ya de Jupiter tonante.

[508] See the first volume of the History of Italian Poetry and
Eloquence, p. 50.

[509] Villegas has thus translated one of Virgil’s idyls into Spanish

        Lycidas, Corydon, i Corydon el amante de Philis,
    Pastor el uno de cabras, el otro de blancas ovejas,
    ambos a dos tiernos, moços ambos, Arcades ambos,
    viendo que los rayos del sol fatigaban el orbe,
    i que bibrando fuego feroz la canicula ladra,
    al puro christal, que cria la fuente sonóra,
    llevados del son alegre de su blando susurro,
    las plantas veloces mueven, los passos animan,
    i al tronce de un verde enebro se sientan amigos, &c.

[510] The following are intended for hexameters and pentameters:--

    Como el monte sigues a Diana, dixo Cytherea,
        Dictyna hermosa, siendo la caça fea?
    No me la desprecias Cyprida, responde Diana,
        Tu tambien fuiste caça, la red lo diga.

[511] It is an ode to Zephyr:--

    Dulce vecino de la verde selva,
    huesped eterno del Abril florido,
    vital aliento de la madre Venus,
        Zephyro blando,
    Si de mis ansias el amor supiste,
    tù, que las quejas de mi voz llevaste,
    oye, no temas, i a mi Nympha dile,
        dile que muero.
    Philis un tiempo mi dolor sabia,
    Philis un tiempo mi dolor lloraba,
    quisome un tiempo, mas agora temo,
        temo sus iras; &c.

[512] The stanzas, in which the arrival of Orpheus at the Acheron
is related, may serve as a specimen of Jauregui’s talent for poetic

        Llega á Aqueronte, y en su orilla espera,
    Las cuerdas requiriendo y consultando:
    Vè la grosera barca, à la ribera
    Opuesta conducir copioso bando:
    Del instrumento, y de la voz esmera
    De nuevo entonces el acento blando;
    Gime la cuerda al rebatir del arco,
    Y su gemido es remora del barco.
        Resonò en la ribera tiempo escaso
    El canto que humanar las piedras suele;
    Quando atrás vuelve, y obedece el vaso
    Mas á la voz, que al remo que le impele;
    La conducida turba, al nuevo caso,
    Se admira, se regala, se conduele,
    Y las réprobas almas, con aliento,
    Se juzgan revocadas del tormento.

    _Orfeo_, Cant. II.

[513] The following is a sonnet of Jauregui addressed to the rising

    Rubio Planeta, cuya lumbre pura
        del tiempo mide cada punto, i ora,
        si el bello objeto, que mi pecho adora
        solo le gozo entre la noche oscura;
    Por què ya se adelanta, i se apresura
        tu luz injusta, i el Oriente dora?
        las sonbras alexando de la Aurora,
        i con las sonbras mi feliz ventura?
    Diràs que el dulce espacio defraudado
        ya de la noche, me daràs el dia,
        tal que de vida un punto no me devas.
    Sì deves (causa del ausencia mia)
        que es vida solo el tiempo que me llevas;
        i el que me ofreces un mortal cuidado.

[514] Jauregui’s translation of Lucan was published, together with his
_Orfeo_, under the title of _Pharsalia de D. Juan de Jauregui, por D.
Ramon Fernandez, Madrid_, 1789, in 2 vols. 8vo. The other poetic works
of this author, including his translation of the Amynta, are collected
in the _Rimas de D. Juan de Jauregui, Sevilla, 1618, in quarto_.

[515] The name of this poet is of Italian origin. He was descended from
a branch of the Italian house of _Borgia_, and married the heiress of
the principality of _Squillace_ in Naples. Both names were, according
to Spanish custom, hispanized, first in the pronunciation, and
subsequently in the orthography.

[516] I have seen only the second edition of the _Obras in verso de D.
Francisco de Borja, Principe de Esquillache, Amberes_, 1654, 692 pages,
quarto. Some of his poems are contained in the _Parnaso Español_.

[517] He thus addresses his poems:--

        A manos de muchos vais,
    Versos mios, sin defensa,
    Y sujetos a la ofensa
    De quien menos la esperais.
    Y si en tal peligro estais,
    Injustamente me animan
    Los que piden que os impriman;
    _Pues quando luzir pretenden,
    Si oscuros son, no se entienden,
    Y si claros, no se estiman_.
    El que sabe, estimarà,
    Si algun estudio teneis:
    A mas gloria no aspireis;
    Ni mas el tiempo os darà.
    _Quien defenderos podrà,
    Serà quando mas, alguno;
    Y si es Platon, basta èl uno._
    Que en las frases y en los modos
    Querer contentar a todos,
    Es no agradar a ninguno.

[518] He characterizes his own style as follows:--

        _Sigo un medio en la jornada,
    Y de mis versos despido,
    O palabras de ruido,
    O llaneza demasiada;
    Y oscuridad afectada._
    Es camino de atajar
    No saberse declarar;
    Ya quien se deve admitir,
    Estudie para escrivir,
    No escrive para estudiar.

[519] For example, the following, which may be styled the
Disenchantment, (_Desengaño_.)

    Dichosa soledad, mudo silencio,
        Secretos passos de dormidas fuentes,
        Que por el verde prado sus corrientes,
        Jamas, si van ò vienen diferencio:
    Vuestra quietud estimo, y reverencio
        Con ojos, y deseos diferentes;
        Pues ya, ni el ciego aplauso de las gentes
        Con ambiciosa pluma diligencio.
    Desde la luz, que viste la mañana,
        Los passos cuento al trabajado dia,
        Hasta que pisa el Sol la espuma cana.
    De quanto fue mi engaño, y compañia,
        De quanto amè, con ignorancia vana,
        En vuestra soledad perdì la mia.

[520] Even the commencement of this poem, except in so far as regards
the diction, encourages no favourable expectation:--

    Canto a Jacob, y de su Esposa canto
        La peregrina angelica hermosura:
        Siete años de fineza, amor y llanto,
        Sin premio, sin verdad, y sin ventura:
        El engañoso Suegro, que entretanto
        Con fingida esperanza le assegura,
        Y al burlado pastor, que le servia,
        Promesas de Raquel cumple con Lia.
    Tu, Musa celestial, que en las estrellas
        Segura pones invisibles plantas,
        Y en dulce paz de sus legiones bellas,
        Sobre las altas fuentes te lebantas:
        Si es tuyo el mando, si obedecen ellas
        De essas puras esquadras sacrosantas,
        Presto descienda de su rayo ardiente
        Fuego, que el pecho y su temor aliente.

[521] Part of one of these poems may be transcribed here:--

        Llamavan los pajarillos
    Con dulces voces al Sol,
    Que por aver quien le llama,
    Mal dormido recordò.
        Escuchava entre las aves
    De un arroyuelo la voz,
    Que agradecido a su lumbre,
    La bien venida le diò.
        Entre las ramas de un olmo
    Le acompaña un ruiseñor,
    Enamorado testigo
    De quantas vezes saliò.
        _Yo sola triste al son
    De todos lloro soledad, y amor._
        En el valle de mi aldea
    Zelosa aguardando estoy,
    Que salga un Sol a mis ojos,
    Que en otros braços dormiò.
        Montes dezidle, que siento
    De los males el mayor,
    Si como al padra del dia
    Le veis primero que yo; &c.

[522] It is only necessary to refer to Velasquez and Dieze.

[523] It is not now necessary to refer to the old and desultory
collections of the works of Count Rebolledo. They may be found
collected altogether under their respective titles in the edition of
the _Obras Poeticas de Conde Bernardino de Rebolledo, Madrid_, 1778,
in 4 vols. octavo. In this collection the interesting letter in prose,
(Part I. in the _Ocios_ p. 261), in which Rebolledo gives a detailed
account of his residence in Copenhagen, is deserving of particular

[524] The three following afford fair specimens of his talent in this
species of composition:--


    Dichoso quien te mira
      y mas dichoso quien por tì suspira,
      y en extremo dichoso,
      quien un suspiro te debió amoroso.


    Lisi, yo te vì en sueños tan piadosa,
      como despierta el alma le desea,
      pero menos hermosa.
      Quién habrá que tal crea?
      dos imposibles me fingió la idéa,
      y con ser su ilusion tan engañosa
      la temo misteriosa,
      y que inmortal en mì el tormento sea,
      si no has de ser piadosa hasta ser fea.


    Lisis, este diamante
      de mi firmeza simbolo brillante
      en que quiso incluir naturaleza
      un rayo de la luz de tu belleza,
      bien constante, y helado,
      a nuestros corazones retratado,
      mas puede la experiencia persuadirme,
      que es el tuyo mas duro, el mio mas firme.

[525] See vol. 2. of the _Obras_.

[526] For example:--

        Los Estados, de aquel vinculo libres,
    eligieron concordes a Christiano,
    hijo de Teodorico
    de Oldemburg y Delmenhorste Conde
    (progenio del famoso Witekindo,
    sucesor de los Reyes de Saxonia,
    con titulo de Duque)
    casó con Dorotéa,
    viuda de Christoval,
    y coronóse luego en Copenhaguen.
    En tanto los Suecos eligieron
    a Carlos, y tuvieron
    los dos dudosa guerra;
    pero siendo vencido y desterrado,
    y Christiano en Suecia coronado,
    llevó a Dania el tesoro de aquel Reyno:
    a que añadió la herencia
    de Sleswic y de Holsacia,
    por la muerte de Adolfo,
    su director y tio.

    _Selvas Danicas_ 1. cap. ii.

[527] The commencement, for instance:--

        La selva mas pomposa,
    que a su deidad consagra Dinamarca,
    tiene por centro un christalino lago,
    que de un ameno isleo,
    que visten flores y coronan plantas,
    es fragrante y lucida competencia,
    es hundosa tambien circumferencia:
    y él a las bellas Ninfas,
    de la deidad al culto dedicadas,
    apacible teatro,
    donde lazos y redes
    suelen tender en las estivas calmas,
    a los peces, las fieras y las almas.
    Aqui yo fatigado
    de un infinito número de penas,
    de procelosas iras agitado,
    del destino arrastrando las cadenas,
    cierto de sus injurias,
    y del progreso de mi vida incierto,
    no esperado tomé traquilo puerto;
    y entre sus verdes y floridas greñas
    de la deidad reverencié las señas.

[528] For example:--

        Hasta el cordon vestido de ladrillo
    de tierra solo el parapeto aprueba,
    a quantos en su fábrica molestan
    pagan con lo que duran lo que cuestan:
    la linea de defensa
    al tiro de mosquete no aventage,
    ni excedan de noventa,
    ni tengan menos de sesenta grados
    los ángulos franqueados;
    capaces los traveses,
    y las golas no estrechas,
    entre sí guarden proporciones tales,
    que por perfecionar algunas cosas
    no queden las demás defectuosas.

    _Selva militar y polit. Distincion_,
    (that is to say, _Section_,) vi. § 2.

[529] For example:--

            La antigüedad llamó advertidamiente
        los consejeros ojos,
        son del cuerpo politico y humano
        adalides forzosos,
        que han de haber visto mucho,
        verlo de lejos y de cerca todo,
        y recibir especies diferentes,
        y por los nervios opticos
        comunicarlas al comun sentido,
        representando fieles los obgetos,
        sin ocultar virtudes ni defetos;
        el Reyno que no admite compañia
        anda a ciegas sin ellos,
        la prudencia Real está librada
        en saber escogellos,
        y a cuidadoso examen obligada.

        1. c. _Distincion_ xxiii. § 2.

[530] The Duke of Veragua’s letter, together with Calderon’s answer,
and the catalogue to which the correspondence bears reference, are
printed in La Huerta’s _Teatro Hespañol_, vol. iii. part ii.

[531] Satisfactory accounts of the various collections and editions of
the dramas, and other less important works of Calderon, are contained
in Dieze’s Remarks on Velasquez, p. 242 and p. 341. The dramas of
Calderon, which La Huerta has published in his _Teatro Hespañol_,
afford but a partial idea of the poet’s talent; for those he has
selected are all _Comedias de Capa y Espada_, two only excepted; and
of these two, one, which is styled a _Comedia heroyca_, belongs to the
mythological class.

[532] See the definition of the various classes of the Spanish comedy,
p. 364, 5, 6, 7.

[533] According to the testimony of travellers, even the most
unlettered Spaniard is so accustomed to follow without effort a
complicated dramatic plot, that after witnessing the representation of
a piece, he will describe all the minute details of the romantic story,
while a well informed foreigner, familiar with the Spanish language,
can with difficulty comprehend a few of the scenes.

[534] A very superficial criticism on Calderon’s dramatic works,
written by Blas Nasarre, who was prepossessed in favour of French
literature, is contained in the History of Spanish Poetry, by
Velasquez. See Dieze’s edition, p. 341.


    _Ines._     Qué ayrosa te has levantado?
                Esta vez sola, señora,
                no hiciera falta la aurora,
                quando en su cristal nevado
                dormida hubiera quedado;
                pues tu luz correr pudiera
                la cortina lisonjera
                al sol, siendo sumillér
                de uno y otro rosiclér,
                deydad de una y otra esfera.
                Bien _el concepto Hespañol
                dixera_, viendote ahora....

    _D. Ana._   Qué?

    _Ines._          Que en tus ojos, señora,
                madrugaba el claro sol:
                dixera, al ver tu arreból
                quien à tu rigor se ofrece,
                quien sus desdenas padece,
                Don Luis....

  _Bien vengas Mal si vengas Solo. Jorn._ i.

[536] For example, in a tender conversation which occurs in the comedy,
entitled, “A House with two Doors is ill to Watch.”

    _Lisardo._  Dificilmente pudiera
                conseguir, señora, el Sol,
                que la flor de girasol
                su resplandor seguiera.
                Dificilmente quisiera
                el Norte, fixa luz clara,
                que el Imán no le mirára;
                y el Imán deficilmente
                intentára, que obediente
                el acero le dexára.
                Si Sol es vuestro explendor,
                girasol la dicha mia:
                si Norte vuestra porfia,
                piedra Imán es mi dolor:
                si es Imán vuestro rigor,
                acero mi ardor severo;
                pues cómo quedarme espero;
                quando veo, que se ván,
                mi Sol, mi Norte, y mi Imán,
                siendo flor, piedra y acero?

  _Casa con dos Puertas, mala
  es de Guardar. Jorn._ i.

The lady replies to this compliment in a similar strain.

[537] In the _Casa con dos Puertas, &c._ the valet thus jokes with the
lady’s maid, who is on the stage with her mistress, but both veiled:--

    _Calabazas._ Mui malditísimas caras
                 debeis de tener las dos.

    _Silvia._    Mucho mejores, que vos.

    _Calabaz._   Y està bien encarecido;
                 porque yo soy un _Cupido_.

    _Silvia._    _Cupido_ somos yo y tú.

    _Calabaz._   Cómo?

    _Silvia._    Yo el _pido_, y tù el _cu_.

    _Calabaz._   No me estâ bien el partido.

[538] An incident of this occurs in the first scene of the piece,
entitled, _Dar Tiempo al Tiempo_, (Give Time to Time).

    _Voz._      Agua va!

    _Chacon._            Mientas, picaña;
                que esto no es agua.

    _D. Juan._                       Que ha sido?

    _Chacon._   Que ha de ser, pese oi mi alma;
                cosas de Madrid precisas,
                que antes fueron necessarias.
                Vive Christo....

    _D. Juan._                   No des voces.

    _Chacon._   Cómo no! Puerca, berganta,
                si eres hombre, sal aqui.

    _D. Juan._  No el barrio alborotes: calla.

    _Chacon._   Calle un limpio.

  _Dar Tiempo al Tiempo. Jorn._ i.

[539] These stories are sometimes related in the most elegant octaves;
for example, in the play, entitled, _Con quien Vengo, Vengo_, (I Come
with whom I Come), there is one which commences in the following way:--

        Yo vì en Milan una mujer tan bella.
    No digo bien mujer. Yo vì una Diosa,
    en los cielos de Abril fragante estrella,
    en los campos del sol luciente rosa
    tan entendida, tan sagaz, que en ella,
    como demas estaba, el ser hermosa,
    que parece formó naturaleza
        Tal fue, que habiendo, á mi desvelo dado
    mas de alguna ocasion, y habiendo sido
    agradecido iman de mi cuidado
    y no ingrata prision de mi sentido:
    habiendo pues á mi temor librado
    necios favores, que borró el olbido,
    con nueva voluntad, con nuevo empeño,
    mudable me dexó por otro dueño.

  _Con quien Vengo, Vengo. Jorn._ ii.

[540] For example, in the play, entitled, _Bien vengas Mal, si vengas
Solo_, (Misfortune comes Well, if it comes Alone), a lady resolutely
refuses to betray a secret, which her lover endeavours to extort from

    _D. Diego._ Mujer eres: poco importa,
                que descubras un secreto.
                No aspires, Doña Ana, à ser
                el prodigio de estos tiempos.

    _D. Ana._   Quien fue prodigio de amor,
                sabrá, serlo del silencio.

    _D. Diego._ No quiere, la que à su amante
                no descubre todo el pecho.

    _D. Ana._   No es noble, quien le descubre,
                quando vá una vida en ello.

    _D. Diego._ En fin no lo has de decir?

    _D. Ana._   No.

    _D. Diego._ Pues en nada te creo.

    _D. Ana._   Valgate Dios por retrato,
                en qué confusion me has puesto.

  _Bien vengas Mal, si vengas Solo. Jorn._ i.

[541] In _Los Empeños de un Acaso_, (the Consequences of an Accident),
a lover resolves, for his mistress’s sake, to assist his rival in a
case of difficulty:--

    Qué noble, honrado y valiente,
        viendo humilde á su enemigo,
        no le ampara y favorece?
        No solo pues la licencia
        que me pide, le concede
        mi valor; mas la palabra,
        de ayudarle, y de valerle,
        hasta que á su dama libre.
        El caso, Don Diego, es este.
        Mirad, como faltar puedo
        á su amparo, quando tiene
        privelegios de enemigo,
        y de amigo en mì Don Felix?

  _Los Empeños de un Acaso. Jorn._ iii.

[542] Thus, a father points out the levity of another lady, as an
example for his daughter to avoid:--

    Ya ves, hija, lo que pasa,
        á quien dá necios oidos
        á pensamientos perdidos.
        Mira fuera de su casa
        una mujer, que ha venido
        buscandonos por sagrado.
        Mira un amante empeñado,
        mira un hermano ofendido,
        y mirala à ella en efecto
        á riesgo, por un error,
        de perder vida y honor.

  _Dar Tiempo al Tiempo. Jorn._ i.

[543] The piece, entitled, _Tambien hay duelo en las Damas_, (Ladies
also have their Troubles), terminates in the following manner:--

        Con cuyo raro suceso,
    sacando la moraleja,
    quede al mundo por exemplo,
    que hubo una vez en el mundo
    mujer, amor y secreto,
    _porque hubo duelo en las damas_.
    Perdonad sus muchos yerros.

[544] For example, the double soliloquies, which run in concert, and of
which the following is a specimen:--

    _D. Diego._ Habrá hombre mas infeliz!

    _D. Pedro._ Habrá hombre mas desdichado!

    _D. Diego._ Qué no haya una ingrata hallado!

    _D. Pedro._ Que no haya hallado à Beatriz!

    _D. Diego._ Sin duda que la siguió,
                 el que su vida guardaba.

    _D. Pedro._ Sin duda en la calla estaba,
                 él que á su rexa llamó.

  _Dar Tiempo al Tiempo. Jorn._ ii.

[545] The Spanish title which Calderon has given to this comedy, is,
_Darlo todo, y no dar Nada_, (To give all, and give Nothing).

[546] Called by Calderon, _Las Armas de la Hermosura_, (The Arms of

[547] The effect cannot be conceived without the necessary connection;
but the words spoken by the ghost of the prince, when about to head the
army, may be quoted here:--

    _Alf._  Pues a embestir Enrique, que no hay duda
            que el cielo nos ayuda.

    _F._                            Si os ayuda

_Sale Don Fernando._

            porque obligando al cielo,
            que vió tu Fe, tu Religion, tu zelo,
            oy tu causa defiende,
            librarme a mi esclavitud pretende,
            porque por raro exemplo
            por tantos Templos, Dios me ofrece un Templo,
            antorcha desafida del Oriente,
            tu exercito arrogante
            alumbrando he de ir siempre delante;
            para que oy en trofeos,
            iguales, gran Alfonso, en tu deseos,
            llegues a Fez, no a coronarte agora
            sino a librar mi Ocaso en el Aurora.

  _Jornada_ iii.

[548] Comparisons of heaven with the earth, and of water with the
earth, through the idea of a flower, were dwelt on with a particular
fondness by other Spanish poets of Calderon’s age. The following is a
conversation between the Moorish Princess Phœnix, (Fenix was formerly a
name for women in Spain), and her female slaves in a garden on the sea

    _Zar._  Pues puedente divertir
            tu tristeza estos jardines,
            qual la primavera hermosa
            labra en estatuas de rosa
            sobre temples de jazmines,
            hazle al már, un barco sea
            dorado carro del Sol.

    _Ros._  Y quando tanto arrebol
            errar por sus ondas vea,
            con grande melancolia
            el jardin al már dirà:
            ya el Sol en su centro està,
            muy breve ha sido este dia.

    _Fen._  Pues no me puedo alegrar,
            formando sombras y lexos
            la emulacion que en reflexos
            tienen la tierra, y el már,
            quando con grandezas sumas
            compiten entre esplandores
            las espumas a las flores,
            las flores a las espumas.

[549] With all their faults these two sonnets are so beautiful and so
perfectly in Calderon’s style, that they may properly be included in
the collection of examples quoted here.--Prince Fernando brings flowers
to the Princess Phœnix. After all sorts of handsome things have been
uttered, Fernando says:--

    Estas que fueron pompa, y alegria,
        despertando al Albor de la mañana,
        a la tarde seràn lastima vana,
        durmiendo en braços de la noche fria.
    Este matiz, que al cielo desafia,
        Iris listado de oro, nieve y grana,
        serà escarmiento de la vida humana,
        tanto se emprende en termino de un dia.
    A florecer las rosas madrugaron,
        y para envejecerse florecieron,
        cuna, y sepulcro en un boton hallaron.
    Tales los hombres sus fortunas vieron,
        en un dia nacieron, y espiraron,
        que passados los siglos horas fueron.

To this Phœnix replies in a strain somewhat over poetic even for a
Moorish Princess:--

    _Fen._ Essos rasgos de luz, essas centellas,
                que cobran con amagos superiores
                alimentos del Sol en resplandores,
                aquello viven que se duelen dellas.
            Flores nocturnas son, aunque tan bellas,
                efimeras padecen sus ardores;
                pues si un dia es el siglo de las flores,
                una noche es la edad de las estrellas.
            De essa pues Primavera fugitiva,
                ya nuestro mal, ya nuestro bien se infiere,
                registro es nuestro, ò muera el Sol, ò viva.
            Que duracion avrá que el hombre espere,
                ò que mudança avrá que no reciba
                de Astro, que cada noche nace, y muere?


    _Fer._  Valiente Moro, y galan,
            si adoras como refieres,
            si idolatras como dizes,
            si amas como encareces,
            si zelas como suspiras,
            si como rezelas temes,
            y si como sientes amas,
            dichosamente padeces,
            no quiero por tu rescate
            más precio, de que le acetes.
            Buelvete, y dile a tu dama,
            que por su esclavo te ofrece
            un Portugues Cavallero,
            i si obligada pretendo
            pagarme el precio por ti;
            yo de doy lo que me deves,
            cobra la deuda en amor,
            y logra tus interesses.

[551] The list is given in the appendix to his _Theatro Hespañol_,
under the title:--_Catalogo Alphabetico de las Comedias Tragedias_, &c.
Madrid, 1785.

[552] The _Alcazar del Secreto_, and the _Gitanilla de Madrid_, and
several other pieces of merit, by Antonio de Solis, may be found in La
Huerta’s _Theatro Hespañol_. Accounts of the editions of the dramas and
other works of this ingenious writer, are given by Dieze in his edition
of Velasquez.

[553] This piece is printed with several others by Moreto, in the
_Theatro Hespañol_.

[554] It belongs to the class of _comedias de figuron_. (See p. 367.)
La Huerta places this comedy at the commencement of his _Theatro

[555] Blankenburg, in his literary appendix to Sulzer’s Dictionary,
expresses a doubt whether there ever was a particular collection of the
comedies of Maestro Tirso de Molina. I can at least state that I have
seen a fifth volume of his comedies, (Madrid, 1636, in quarto), which
contains eleven dramas, chiefly historical and spiritual.

[556] This is the only drama by Rojas given in La Huerta’s Theatre; and
in the older collections the works of Rojas seldom appear.

[557] Many of his dramas may be found in various collections. They are
included along with his other poems in the _Cithara de Apolo by D.
Agust. de Salazar y Torres, Madrid_, 1692, in two volumes, published by
one of the author’s friends, who on his part was a perfect Gongorist,
as the title of the collection sufficiently proves.

[558] Nicolas Antonio, a very incompetent judge in matters of taste,
lauds Antonio de Mescua to the skies. But he is seldom mentioned by
other authors.

[559] A historical comedy by Guillen de Castro, entitled, _Las
Mocedades del Cid_, furnished Corneille with the idea of his tragedy of
the Cid.

[560] An elegant edition of the _Historia de la Conquista de Mexico,
por D. Antonio de Solis_, in 2 vols. quarto, was published at Madrid in

[561] The following are the historiographic rules of Antonio de Solis,
in his own words:--

_Los Adornos de la Eloquencia son accidentes en la Historia_, cuya
substancia _es la Verdad_, que _dicha como fue, se dize bien_: siendo
la puntualidad de la noticia la mejor elegancia de la Narracion. Con
este conocimiento he puesto en la certidumbre de lo que refiero, mi
principal cuydado. Examen, que algunas vezes me bolviò à la tarea
de los Libros, y Papeles: porque hallando en los Sucessos, ò en sus
circunstancias, discordantes, con notable oposicion, à nuestros mismos
Escritores, me ha sido necessario buscar la Verdad con poca luz, ò
congeturarla de lo mas verisimil; pero digo entonces mi reparo: y si
llego á formar opinion, conozco la flaqueza de mi dictamen, y dexo, lo
que afirmo, al arbitrio de la razon.--_Prologo._

[562] They are all collected under the title of _Obras de Lorenzo
Gracian, &c. Amberes_, 1725, in 2 vols. quarto.

[563] Of this the following fragment of a conversation between Fortune
and a dissatisfied person, affords a specimen:--

Tampoco será el llamarte hijo de tu madre. Menos, antes me glorio yo
de esso, que ni yo sin ella, ni ella sin mi: ni Venus sin Cupido, ni
Cupido sin Venus. Ya se lo que es, dixo la Fortuna. Que? Que sientes
mucho el hazerte heredero de tu abuelo el mar, en la inconstancia,
y engaños? No por cierto, que essas son niñerias; pues si estas son
burlas, que seràn las veras? Lo que à mi me irrita, es, que me levanten
testimonies. Aguarda, que ya te entiendo, sin duda es aquello que
dizen, que trocaste el arco con la muerte, y que desde entonces no te
llaman ya amor de amar, sino de morir, amor á muerte; de modo, que
amor, y muerte todo es uno. _Crisi_ iv.

[564] He reduces all mental talents and faculties to two kinds, _Genio_
and _Ingenio_. But the distinctions he draws between them, are as
difficult to translate as the different applications of the French word
_Esprit_. On this subject he says, among other things:--

Estos dos son _los dos Exes del lucimiento discreto_, la naturaleza los
alterna, y el arte los realça. Es el hombre aquel celebre Microcosmos,
y el Alma su firmamento. Hermanados el Genio, y el Ingenio, en
verificacion de Athlante, y de Alcides; asseguran el brillar, por lo
dichoso, y lo lucido, á todo el resto de prendas.

El uno sin el otro, fue en muchos felicidad à medias, acusando la
embidia, ò el descuido de la suerte.

  _El discreto, Opp._ T. i. p. 389.

[565] For example, in the treatise last quoted, he says:--

Ay hombres tan desiguales en las materias, tan diferentes de si mismos
en las ocasiones, que desmienten su propio credito, y deslumbran
nuestro concepto; en unos puntos discurren, que buelan, en otros, ni
perciben, ni se mueven. Oy todo les sale bien, mañana todo mal, que aun
el entendimiento, y la ventura tienen desiguales. Donde no ay disculpa,
es en la voluntad, que es crimen del alvedrio, y su variar no està
lexos del desvariar. Lo que oy ponen sobre su cabeça, mañana lo llevan
entre pies, por no tener pies, ni cabeça.

[566] The Spanish title of this work is, _Agudeza y Arte de Ingenio_.

[567] Si el percibir la agudeza acredita de Aguila, el produzirla
empeñara en Angel: empleo de Cherubines y elevacion de hombres, que nos
remonta à extravagante Gerarquia.

[568] Es este ser uno de aquellos, que son mas conocidos à bulto y
menos à precision: dexase percibir, no definir, y en tan remoto assunto
estimese qualquiera descripcion, lo que es para los ojos la hermosura,
y para los oidos la consonancia, esso es para el entendimiento el

  _Agudeza y Arte de Ingenio. Discurso_ ii.

[569] These letters are contained in the collection of Mayans y Siscar.

[570] The _Real Academia Española_, founded on the plan of the
_Académie Française_.

[571] It is singular that over all Europe, the Portuguese phrase, _Auto
da Fe_, has become current in preference to the Spanish _Auto de Fe_.

[572] La Huerta includes this play among the four _Comedias Heroycas_
of his _Theatro Hespañol_, probably for the sake of its elegant
language; for in other respects it would not have been difficult to
have selected a better drama in the class to which it belongs.

[573] This comedy, which may be found in many collections, is also
included in La Huerta’s _Theatro Hespañol_.

[574] This piece is also contained in the _Theatro Hespañol_.

[575] For example, the word _Madamisela_ from the French
_Mademoiselle_. In like manner Cervantes introduced the word _Madama_,
but it is employed only in a comic sense.

[576] I have seen the third edition of the poetic writings of this
lady. The following is the title:--_Poemas de la unica poetisa
Americana, Musa decima, Soror Juana Inez de la Cruz, &c. Sacolas a luz
D. Juan Camacho Gayna, Cavallero del orden de Santiago, &c. Barcelona_
1691, in quarto.--It certainly would not be fair to pass by unnoticed
a book of this kind which went through three editions.

[577] The following is one of three sonnets, in which the authoress
rings changes on the theme, “whether it is better to be beloved without
loving, or to love without being beloved.”

    Feliciano me adora, y le aborrezco;
        Lisardo me aborrece, y le adoro;
        por quien no me apetece ingrato, lloro;
        y al que me llora tierno, no apetezco:
    A quien mas me desdora, el alma ofrezco,
        à quien me ofrece victimas, desdoro;
        desprecio al que enrriqueze mi decoro;
        y al que le haze desprecios, enrriquezco:
    Si con mi ofensa al uno reconvengo,
        me reconviene el otro à mi ofendido
        y à padecer de todos modos vengo;
    Pues ambos atormentan mi sentido;
        aqueste con pedir lo que no tengo,
        y aqueste con no tener lo que le pido.

[578] For example, the following, in which, however, the play of the
Antitheses becomes at last frigid.

    En persiguirme, Mundo, que interessas?
        en que te ofendo? quando solo intento
        poner bellezas en mi entendimiento,
        y no mi entendimiento en las bellezas?
    Yo no estimo thesoros, ni riquezas;
        y assi, siempre me causa mas contento,
        poner riquezas en mi entendimiento;
        que no mi entendimiento en las riquezas.
    Y no estimo hermosura, que vencida,
        es despojo civil de las Edades;
        ni riqueza me agrada fementida:
    Teniendo por mejor en mis Verdades,
        consumir vanidades de la Vida,
        que consumir la Vida en vanidades.

[579] One of these lyric romances begins in the following manner:--

    Finjamos, que soy feliz,
        triste pensamiento, un rato;
        quizà podreis persuadirme,
        aunque yo sè lo contrario.
    Que, pues solo en la aprehension
        dizen, que estrivan los daños;
        si os imaginais dichoso,
        no sereis tan desdichado.
    Sirvame el entendimiento
        alguna vez de descanso;
        y no siempre estè el ingenio
        con el provecho encontrado.
    Todo el mundo es opiniones,
        de pareceres tan varios;
        que lo que el uno, que es negro,
        el otro prueba, que es blanco.

[580] It commences thus:--

    _Nar._ De buscar à Narciso fatigada,
    sin permitir sossiego à mi pie errante,
    ni à mi planta cansada,
    que tantos ha yá dias, que vagante
    examina las breñas
    sin poder encontrar mas que las señas:
        A este Bosque he llegado, donde espero
    tener noticias de mi Bien perdido,
    que si señas confiero,
    diziendo està del Prado lo florido,
    que producir amenidàdes tantas,
    es por aver besado yà sus Plantas.
        O quantos dias ha, que he examinado
    la Selva flor à flor, y planta à planta
    gastando congoxado
    mi triste coraçon en pena tanta,
    y mi pie fatigando vagamundo
    tiempo, que siglos son, selva, que es Mundo.

[581] The new edition which I have now before me, entitled, _Obras
poeticas del Excellmo. Señor Don Eugenio Gerardo Lobo, Madrid_, 1758,
in 2 vols. quarto, is printed in a style of elegance by no means common
in Spanish books of that period.

[582] The title is:--_La Poetica, ò Reglas de la poesia en general,
y de sus principales especies, por D. Ignacio de Luzan Claramunt de
Suelves, y Gurrea_, Zaragoza, 1737.

[583] He says:--Yo sè, que estas cosas, donde la critica tiene alguna
parte, se suelen bautizar de algunos con el nombre de _bachillerias_.

[584] See page 323.

[585] Thus, he says, Homer intended his Iliad, as a book of moral and
political instruction, suited to the most vulgar understanding:--

Con este intento escribiò _Homero_ sus Poemas, explicando en ellos
_à los entendimientos mas bassos_ las verdades de _la Moral_, de _la
Politica_, y tambien (como muchos sientan) de la Philosophia natural,
y de la Theologia. Pues en la Iliada debaxo de la Imagen de la Guerra
Troyana, y de las disensiones de los Capitanes Griegos, propuso à la
Grecia entonces dividida en vandos _un exemplo en que aprendiesse_ à
apaciguar sus discordias, conociendo quan graves daños causaban al
publico, y quan necessaria para el sucesso en las empressas era la
union, y concordia de los Gefes de un Exercito.--Book I.

[586] The following passage will afford a specimen of Luzan’s didactic

Y estos con el vano, inutil _aparato de agudezas, y conceptos
afectados, de metaphoras extravagantes, de expressiones hinchadas, y de
terminos cultos, y nuevos_, embelesaron el Vulgo, y aplaudidos de la
ignorancia comun, se usurparon la gloria debida à los buenos Poetas.
Fuè creciendo este desorden sin que nadie intentasse oponersele. Los
ignorantes, no teniendo quien les abriesse los ojos, seguian aciegas la
voceria de los aplausos populares, y alababan lo que no entendian, sin
mas razon que la de el exemplo ajeno.--Book I.

[587] He says:--Digo, que se podrà _definir_ la Poesia, imitacion de
la naturaleza o en lo universal, o en lo particular, hecha en versos,
o para utilidad, o para deleite de los hombres, o para uno y otro
juntamente.--Lib. I. cap. 5.

[588] The following are his own words:--

Estos dos diversos assuntos, y fines hacen tambien diversa la Fabula
Tragica de la Comica, y à entrambas de la Fabula en general: à
todas tres es comun el ser un _discurso inventado_, ò una _ficcion
de un hecho_: pero con esta diferencia, que la Fabula Tragica ha
de ser _imitacion de un hecho en modo apto para corregir el temor,
y la compassion, y otras passiones_: y la Fabula Comica ha de ser
_imitacion, ò ficcion de un hecho en modo apto para inspirar el amor
de alguna virtud, ò el desprecio, y aborrecimiento de algun vicio, ú
defecto._--_Lib. III._

[589] He says:--

Y en fè de que en mi no falta tan debida equidad no pudiendo referir
aqui distintamente, y por menudo los muchos aciertos de nuestros
Comicos, porque para esso seria menester escribir un gran volumen à
parte; me contentarè con decir por mayor, y en general, que en todos
comunmente hallo rara ingeniosidad, singular agudeza, y discrecion,
prendas mui essenciales para formar grandes poetas, y dignas de
admiracion; y añado que en particular alabarè siempre en _Lope de Vega_
la natural facilidad de su estylo, y la suma destreza, con que en
muchas de sus Comedias se ven pintadas las costumbres, y el _character_
de algunas personas: en _Calderòn_ admiro la nobleza de su locucion,
que sin ser jamàs obscura, ni afectada, es siempre elegante; &c.--Lib.

[590] Velasquèz, under the conviction that nothing could be more
correct and striking than Luzan’s judgment on the Spanish drama, has
quoted his opinions at length, and incorporated them in his History of
Spanish Poetry.

[591] The two opening stanzas of this poem, will afford a sufficient
specimen of the poetic diction of the ingenious author:--

        Ahora es tiempo, Euterpe, que templemos
    el arco y cuerdas, y de nuestro canto
    se oyga la voz por todo el emisferio.
    Las vencedoras sienes coronemos
    del sagrado laurel al que es espanto
    del infiel Mauritano al Marte Ibero.
    Ya para quàndo quiero
    los himnos de alegria y las canciones,
    premio no vil que el coro de las nueve
    à las fatigas debe,
    y al valor de esforzados corazones?
    Para quando estará, Musas, guardado
    aquel furor que bebe
    con las hondas suavisimas mezclando
    de la Castalia fuente al labio solo
    de quien tuvo al nacer propicio Apolo?
        Una selva de pinos y de abetes
    cubriò la mar, angusta à tanta quilla:
    para henchir tanta vela faltó el viento.
    De flamulas el ayre y gallardetes
    poblado divisò desde la orilla
    pálido el Africano y sin aliento:
    del húmedo elemento
    dividiendo los liquidos cristales,
    y blandiendo Neptuno el gran Tridente,
    alzò ayrado la frente,
    de ovas coronado y de corales.
    Quién me agovia con tanta pesadumbre
    la espalda? Hay quién intente
    poner tal vez en nueva servidumbre
    mi libre imperio? o por ventura alguno
    me la quiere usurpar? No soy Neptuno?

[592] The following three stanzas from this poem will serve to shew
the manner in which Luzan combined his poetic subject with the
peculiarities requisite in a poem written on a particular occasion:--

        Qual fabulosa antiguedad pintaba
    al padre libre, ò al Dardano Xanto,
    quando sobre las ondas se asomaba
    à oir de algun mortal queja ò quebranto;
    ò como al dios Neptuno figuraba
    Musa gentil en su fingido canto,
    quando iba por el mar con Deyopéa,
    Cimodoce, Nerine, y Galatéa.
        Tal Manzanares à mi vista ofrece
    espectáculo nuevo y agradable:
    crece mi suspension, mi pasmo crece
    al ver que aquel anciano venerable
    conmigo desde el agua à hablar empieze
    con apacible voz y rostro afable:
    fielmente su discurso no prolijo
    conserva la memoria; asi me dijo:
        Estrangero pastor, que en mi ribera
    buscas tranquilidad à tus fatigas,
    vète otra vez, no es este la primera,
    y sè tu nombre yà, sin que lo digas:
    las bellas Ninfas de esta undosa esfera
    únicas son de tu zampoña amigas:
    zampoña y voz antes de ahora oyeron;
    antes tambien à entrambas aplaudieron.

[593] These, and the other _inedita_ of Luzan, are included in the
second and fourth volumes of the _Parnaso Español_.

[594] _Oracion en que se exhorta à seguir la verdadera idea de la
eloquencia Española._ It is contained in the first volume of the ten
quoted _Origenes_ of this meritorious author.

[595] _Rhetorica de Don Gregorio Mayans y Siscar._ Valencia, 1757, 2
volumes, 8vo.

[596] See page 351.

[597] See Dieze on Velasquez p. 265. Lessing has made the Germans
acquainted with Montiano’s Virginia. Though Lessing knew little of
Spanish dramatic literature, even at second hand, he at that time
took an interest in every tragic Virginia, because he was engaged in
a Virginia of his own, which he ultimately converted into his Emilia

[598] In the fifth act, when the catastrophe is near its developement,
Virginia discourses in the following manner with Icilius, her betrothed

    _Virg._ Casi, Señor, mi gratitud quisiera
    no haberte yà elegido por mi dueño;
    porque fina lo hiciesse el alma ahora.
    Tode el honor, la libertad me vale,
    que aùn es mas beneficio que la vida.
    Por tu esfuerzo lo gozo, y voluntaria
    de tu dominio la declaro sierva:
    serà la possession con que te brindo
    legitima, Señor, si la acetares.

    _Icìl._ Què corazon, Señora, habra tan duro,
    que à ser feliz con tigo se resista?
    Assi hubiesse logrado mi fortuna,
    con la ruina total de tu enemigo,
    librarte de una vez del triste ahogo.
    Pero ni puede unir à mis parciales,
    sino es à los que vès que me acompañan.
    Ni de Valerio sè, ni sé de Horacio,
    tal vez por ignorar nuestro conflicto,
    ò por la angustia, y brevedad del tiempo.

[599] _Discurso sobre las tragedias Españolas, de D. Agustin de
Montiano y Luyando, &c._ Madrid 1750, in 8vo. published along with

[600] The following are his own words:--

Por mi ofrezco al publico _La Virginia_; Tragedia que he procurado
trabajar con algun estudio, y desuelo: y si logro que no se desprecie,
serà quanta ventaja puedo proponerme, y esperar por _galardon de mi
fatiga_: mas el _inducir à mis compatriotas, à que imiten este rumbo_,
y à que le mejoren (como le serà mas facil que à mi à qualquiera
_regular ingenio_) cabe unicamente en las facultades de la providencia,
segun la obstinacion de los muchos que permanecen alistados en las
_centurias del ignorante vulgo_.

[601] _El ignorante vulgo_, is the favourite expression of all the
Spanish Gallicists, whenever they speak of the Spanish public.

[602] The beautiful commencement of this _Egloga piscatoria_ may be
transcribed here:--

        Bramaba el ronco viento,
    y de nubes el sol obscurecido
    horror al mar indómito añadia:
    el liquido elemento
    de rayos y relampagos herido
    contra su proprio natural ardia.
    Huye la luz del dia
    que el fuego interrumpido sostituye.
    De sus cabañas huye
    el Pescador al monte mas vecino;
    y solo en tan violento torbellino
    rotas quedan del mar en las orillas
    jarcias, entenas, arboles y quillas.
        Objeto son funesto
    y embarazo tambien de las arenas
    naufragos leños y humedo velamen;
    y en elemento opuesto
    truecan los hombres aguas de horror llenas,
    y las Focas la seca arena lamen.
    Con pavoroso examen
    advierte, destrozado su barquilla
    en la trágica orilla
    ALCION; y en el monte, aun mal seguro
    recela GLAUCO; porque el golfo duro
    abandonar su antiguo seno quiere,
    y huir del Cielo, que le azota y hiere.

[603] The commencement of this romance calls to mind the compositions
of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries:--

        El Africano alarido
    y el ronco son de las armas
    en los valles de Gumiel
    era saludos del Alba:
        Que a ser testigo salia
    de las victorias, que alcanzan
    contra los infieles lunas
    las cuchillas Castellanas:
        Quando el valeroso Hizán
    sobre una fogosa alfana,
    regalo de Hacén, Alcaide
    de Font-Hacén y la Adrada:
        Desnudo el nervioso brazo,
    y el albornóz a la espalda,
    esgrime lo muerte en una
    Tunecina cimitarra.
        Crece la sangrienta lid,
    y el suelo de sangre empapan
    las azagayas Moriscas
    y las Españolas lanzas.

[604] These and the other poems extant by La Huerta, are included in
the _Obras poeticas de D. Vicente Garcia de la Huerta_, &c. Madrid,
1779, in 2 volumes octavo.

[605] See the preface to the before-mentioned _Obras_.

[606] For example, in the following speech of Rachel. The king has left
her; and she meditates on the probable consequences of his absence:--

        El cielo os guarde.
    Quanto, ay de mi, que os ausenteis, me pesa!
    Qué es esto, congojado pecho mio?
    Corazon, que temor te desalienta?
    Qué sustos te atribulan? Ya Castilla,
    a mi arbitrio no rinde la obediencia?
    Pues, corazon, qué graves sobresaltos
    son los que te combaten, y te aquejan?
    Sin duda debe ser, que como el cielo
    no te crió para tan alta esfera,
    como es el Solio regio, mal se halla
    tu natural humilde en su grandeza.
    Tomen exemplo en mí los ambiciosos,
    y en mis temores el sobervio advierta,
    que quien se eleva sobre su fortuna,
    por su desdicha, y por su mal se eleva.
    Mas cómo asi me agravio neciamente?
    Mi valor, mi hermosura, las estrellas,
    el cielo mismo, que dotò mi alma
    de tan noble ambicion, y la fomenta,
    no confirman mi merito? &c.

[607] He utters the following exclamations, while, at the same time, he
endeavours to escape from the perils by which he is surrounded:--

        O horror! o muerte! o tierra!
    cómo a este desdichado no sepultas?
    Tus profundas entrañas manifiesta,
    y esconde en ellas mi cansada vida:
    librame de los riesgos, que me cercan.
    Qué susto! que pesar! Nadie se duele
    de mi?

[608] In one of the first scenes, Garcia de Castro avows his sentiments
to the king with the spirit of a true knight and the fidelity of a

        Esa voz, que de escandalo y desorden
    el viento puebla, o noble Alfonso Octavo,
    Monarca de Castilla, quien por siglos
    cuente el tiempo feliz de tu Reynado:
    esa voz, que en el Templo originada
    profanó del lugar los fueros santos,
    y de la Magestad los privilegios
    tan injuriosamente ha vulnerado;
    si el fin, si los intentos se examinan,
    y el zelo que la anima contemplamos,
    aliento es del amor mas encendido,
    voz del afecto mas acrisolado.
    Voz es de tus Vasallos, que de serlo
    testimonio jamás dieron mas claro,
    que quando mas traydores te parecen,
    que quanto los estás mas infamando, &c.

[609] See page 308.

[610] The narrative passages in octaves are excellent. For example:--

        Los jovenes de Crisa valerosos,
    con la paz de la Grecia mal contentos,
    pues Troya ya rendida, a sus fogosos
    espiritus faltaban los fomentos,
    para ejercer sus brios generosos,
    y noble alarde hacer de sus alientos,
    disponen una fiesta, en que se encierra
    retrato vivo de mentida guerra.
        Previenense caballos y libreas,
    ajustanse divisas y colores:
    a aquel adornan joyas y preseas,
    este copia al escudo sus amores,
    Quanto oro dan las minas Européas,
    y quantos brotan en Oriente olores,
    eran a la lucida compañia
    adorno, gusto, brillo y bizarria, &c.

[611] This collection which has been so frequently alluded to in the
course of the present work, is entitled:--_Theatro Hespañol, por Don
Vicente Garcia de la Huerta_, Madrid, 1785, sq. in 16 volumes, small
octavo. The 16th volume, which contains some critical notices in the
form of an appendix, was published very lately. The 15th volume, which
bears the title of _Suplemento_, comprises the tragic dramas of La
Huerta himself; and the 14th volume presents a choice selection of
burlesque interludes. The work also contains an alphabetic list of most
of the dramas in the Spanish language, which is extremely useful. The
title is characteristic from the substitution of the word _Hespañol_
for _Español_, according to its derivation from _Hispanus_.

[612] These expressions are collected from the prefaces to some of the
volumes of La Huerta’s _Theatro Hespañol_. It is not necessary to give
precise references to passages.

[613] They are included in the first volume of the _Coleccion de Obras
en verso y prosa de D. Tomàs de Yriarte_, Madrid, 1787, 8vo.

[614] Fables cannot be judged of from fragments; therefore the
subjoined, which is in the popular song form, is transcribed at length.

        Este fabulilla,
    Salga bien, ò mal,
    Me ha occurrido ahora
    Por casualidad
        Cerca de unos prados
    Que hai en mi Lugar
    Pasaba un Borrico
    Por casualidad.
        Una flauta en ellos
    Halló, que un Zagal,
    Se dexó olvidada
    For casualidad.
        Acercósé á olerla
    El dicho animal;
    Y dió un resoplido
    Por casualidad.
        En la flauta el aire
    Se hubo de colar;
    Y sonó la flauta
    Por casualidad.
        Oh! dixo el Borrico:
    Qué bien sé tocar!
    Y dirán que es mala
    La música asnal.
        Sin reglas del arte
    Borriquitos hai
    Que una vez aciertan
    Por casualidad.

[615] This fable may likewise be inserted here. It is particularly
remarkable for the happy employment of the redondillas.

        Un oso con que la vida
    Ganaba un Piamontes
    La no mui bien aprendida
    Danza ensayaba en dos pies.
        Queriendo hacer de persona,
    Dixo á una Mona: Que tal?
    Era perita la Mona,
    Y respondióle: Mui mal.
        Yo creo, replicó el Oso,
    Que me haces poco favor.
    Pues qué? mi aire no es garboso?
    No hago el paso con primor?
        Estaba el Cerdo presente,
    Y dixo: Bravo! bien va!
    Bailarin mas excelente
    No se ha visto, ni verá.
        Echó el Oso, al oir esto,
    Sus cuentas allá entre si,
    Y con ademan modesto
    Hubo de exclamar así:
        Quando me desaprobaba
    La Mona, llegué á dudar:
    Mas ya que el Cerdo me alaba,
    Mui mal debo de bailar.
        Guarde para su regalo
    Esta sentencia un Autor:
    Si el sabio no aprueba, malo!
    Si el necio aplaude, peor!

[616] La musica, poema. It has been several times printed. In the
_Obras de D. Tomas Yriarte_ it occupies one half of the first volume.

[617] For example, the following lines, which occur at the commencement
of the second canto of the poem, and which relates to the invention and
progress of Music.

        En la mas deliciosa
    Y mas poblada aldéa
    De la feliz Arcadia residia
    La Zagala Criséa,
    Que asi como de hermosa
    Se llevaba entre mil la primacía,
    Tambien por desdeñosa
    Ganó justa opinion y nombradía.
    Con tal delicadeza
    De vido la criò Naturaleza,
    Y alma la diò tan docil, é inclinada
    A sentir de la Música el encanto,
    Que en toda aquella rústica morada
    Sólo algunos Pastores
    Diestros en el tañido y en el canto
    Osaban aspirar à sus favores, &c.

[618] The following passage, which is mere prose, immediately succeeds
the invocation to Nature at the commencement of the poem.

        Las varias sensaciones corporales,
    Del corazon humano los afectos,
    Y aun las mismas nociones ideales,
    En diversos dialectos
    Se expresan por los órganos vocales,
    Pero si, estando el ánimo tranquilo,
    Inspira simples y uniformes sones;
    Quando se halla agitado de pasiones,
    Nueva inflexion de acentos da al estilo:
    El tono de la voz, alza y sostiene;
    Tan pronto le retarda, ó le acelera;
    Tan pronto le suaviza, ò le exâspera;
    Con enérgicas pausas le detiene;
    Le da compas y afinacion sonora,
    Y à su arbitrio le aumenta, ó le minora.

[619] The _Bibliotheca Española de los mejores escritores del reynado
de Carlos III; por D. Juan Sempère y Guarinos, &c._ Madrid 1789, in
6 volumes, 8vo. may be consulted with advantage. Useful particulars
respecting the latest Spanish productions in polite literature may also
be found in the publications of some recent travellers.

[620] _Las Odas de D. Leon de Arroyal._ Madrid 1784, in 8vo.

[621] For example, the commencement of the ode to Field Marshal

        Precioso es el diamante,
    y esmeralda de Oriente,
    y el oro mas que todo apetecido,
    y cada qual bastante
    á saciar de la gente
    vulgar el vil espiritu abatido,
    que nunca ha conocido
    el precio que se encierra
    en los claros honores de la guerra.
        Una verde corona
    de laurel, ú de oliva,
    á un espiritu humilde es despreciable;
    pero no al que á Belona
    sigue, para que viva
    su nombre entre los hombres admirable.
    Nada hay tan codiciable
    como la heroyca fama
    al que de sí lo mas precioso ama.

[622] Particularly in the verse which the Spaniards call _Rimas
Provenzales_, viz:--

        Ay, verde bosque! ay, soledad amada!
    ay del manso arroyuelo amena orilla,
    do la simple avecilla
    con trinos al Pastor humilde agrada!
    do la blanca y pintada mariposa
    besa la rosa,
    y el gilguerillo
    en el palillo
    de la alta encina
    amante trina,
    miéntras favonio y céfiro soplando,
    el prado van de flores esmaltando.

[623] The following song will afford a specimen of the poetic talent of
this unknown authoress:--

        Por Endimion la Luna
    desde los cielos baxa,
    dexando el blanco carro
    por una cueba parda.
        Por Adonis Citeres
    à pie corre y descalza,
    colorando las rosas
    con sangre de sus plantas.
        Pues si hasta las Deidades
    sienten de amor la llama,
    y por amar descienden
    de divinas á humanas:
        Que harè yo estando herida
    de la amorosa llaga,
    si no darle à mi dueño
    corazon, vida y alma?

[624] I have seen only the first volume of the _Poesias de D. Juan
Melendez Valdès_, Madrid, 1785, in 8vo. The contents of the second
volume are specified in a preliminary notice to the _Bibliotheca
Española_ of Don Juan Sempere. See note p. 593.

[625] This will be obvious even from a fragment; as, for instance, the
following passage, which occurs in the description of a rustic dance:--

        Ay! que voluptuosos
    Sus pasos! como animan
    Al mas cobarde amante,
    Y al mas helado irritan!
    Al premio, al dulce premio
    Parece que le brindan
    De amor, quando le ostentan
    Un seno que palpita.
    Quan dócil es su planta!
    Que acorde á la medida
    Va del compas! las Gracias
    Parece que la guian.
    Y ella de frescas rosas
    La blanca sien ceñida
    Su ropa libra al viento,
    Que un manso soplo agita,
    Con timidez donosa
    De Clöe simplecilla
    Por los floridos labios
    Vaga una afable risa.
    A su zagal incauta
    Con blandas carrerillas
    Se llega, y vergonzosa
    Al punto se retira; &c.

[626] For example, the following short idyl, as it may properly be

        Siendo yo niño tierno
    Con la niña Dorila
    Me andaba por la selva
    Cogiendo florecillas,
    De que alegres guirnaldas
    Con gracia peregrina,
    Para ambos coronarnos,
    Su mano disponia.
    Asi en niñeces tales
    De juegas y delicias
    Pasábamos felices
    Las horas y los dias.
    Con ellos poco á poco
    La edad corrió de prisa,
    Y fué de la inocencia
    Saltando la malicia.
    Yo no sé: mas al verme
    Dorila se reia,
    Y á mi de solo hablarla
    Tambien me daba risa.
    Luego al darle las floras
    El pecho me latia,
    Y al ella coronarme
    Quedábase embebida,
    Una tarde tras esto
    Vimos dos tortolillas,
    Que con tremulos picos
    Se halagaban amigas.
    Alentónos su exemplo,
    Y entre honestas caricias
    Nos contamos turbados
    Nuestras dulces fatigas.
    Y en un punto, qual sombra
    Voló de nuestra vista
    La niñez; mas en torno
    Nos dió el Amor sus dichas.

[627] As a specimen of the Spanish sonnets of this latter period, one
from the pen of Melendez may with propriety be chosen in preference to
many others:--

        Qual suele abeja inquieta revolando
    Por florido pensil entre mil rosas
    Hasta venir á hallar las mas hermosas
    Andar con dulce trompa susurrando.
        Mas luego que las ve con vuelo blando
    Baxa y bate las alas vagarosas,
    Y en medio de sus venas olorosas
    El delicado aroma está gozando.
        Asi, mi bien, el pensamiento mio
    Con dichosa zozobra por hallarte
    Vagaba de amor libre por el suelo:
        Pero te vi, rendime, y mi albedrio
    Abrasado en tu luz goza al mirarte
    Gracias que envidia de tu rostro el cielo.

[628] The numerous collection of specimens in this volume, shall close
with a fragment of this epistle, which deserves to rank among the
productions that reflect honour on Spanish literature:--

        ----Oh que de veces
    Mi blando corazon has encendido,
    Jovino, con él, y en làgrimas de gozo
    Nuestras pláticas dulces fenecieron!
    Que de veces tambien en el retiro
    Pacifico las horas del silencio
    A Minerva ofrecimos, y la Diosa
    Nuestra vos escuchó! Las fugitivas
    Horas se deslizaban, y embebidos
    El Alba con el libro aun nos hallaba.
    Pues que, si huyendo del bullicio insano
    En el real jardin.... Adónde, adónde
    Habeis ido momentos deliciosos!
    Disputas agradables, dó habeis ido!
    Tu me llevaste de Minerva al templo:
    Tu me llevaste, y mi pensar, mis luces,
    Mi entusiasmo, mi lira, todo es tuyo.

[629] _Filosofia de la Eloquencia, por Don Antonio de Capmany_, Madrid
1777, in 8vo.

[630] He employs, without hesitation, the words _detalle_ (from
the French _détail_,) and _interesante_ in the sense of the French
_intéressant_, &c.

[Transcriber's Note:

Errata on page 610 has been incorporated into original.

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

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