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LA MOZA DE CÁNTARO
LOPE DE VEGA
EDITED WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
( Docteur de l'Université de Grenoble)
Professor of Romance Languages in West Virginia University NEW YORK
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
XII, XIII, XIV
The vast number of the works of Lope de Vega renders the task ofselecting one of them as an appropriate text for publication verydifficult, and it is only after having examined a large number of theworks of the great poet that the editor has chosen La Moza de Cántaro,not only because it is one of the author's most interesting comedies,but also because it stands forth prominently in the field in which he ispreëminent—the interpretation of Spanish life and character. It too isone of the few plays of the poet which have continued down to recenttimes in the favor of the Spanish theater-going public,—perhaps in theend the most trustworthy critic. Written in Lope's more mature years, atthe time of his greatest activity, and probably corrected or rewrittenseven years later, this play contains few of the inaccuracies andobscure passages so common to many of his works, reveals to us much ofinterest in Spanish daily life and in a way reflects the condition ofthe Spanish capital during the reign of Philip IV, which certainly wasone of the most brilliant in the history of the kingdom.
The text has been taken completely, without any omissions ormodifications, from the Hartzenbusch collection of Comedias Escogidasde Lope de Vega published in the Biblioteca de Autores Españoles and,where it varies from other texts with which it has been compared, thevariation is noted. The accentuation has been changed freely to conformwith present usage, translations have been suggested for passages ofmore than ordinary difficulty and full notes given on proper names andon passages that suggest historical or other connection.
Literarycomparisons have been made occasionally and modern forms or equivalentsfor archaic words and expressions have been given, but usually thesehave been limited to words not found in the better class of dictionariescommonly used in the study of such works.
The editor is especially indebted to Sr. D. Eugenio Fernández for aid inthe interpretation of several passages and in the correction ofaccentuation, to Professor J. D. M. Ford for valuable suggestions, andto Sr. D. Manuel Saavedra Martínez, Professor in the Escuela Normal deSalamanca, for information not easily accessible.
WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY.
I. LIFE OF LOPE DE VEGA
The family of Lope de Vega Carpio was one of high rank, if not noble,and had a manor house in the mountain regions of northwestern Spain. Ofhis parents we know nothing more than the scanty mention the poet hasgiven them in his works. It would seem that they lived a while at leastin Madrid, where the future prince of Spanish dramatists was born,November 25, 1562. Of his childhood and early youth we have no definiteknowledge, but it appears that his parents died when he was very youngand that he lived some time with his uncle, Don Miguel del Carpio.
From his own utterances and those of his friend and biographer,Montalvan, we know that genius developed early with him and that hedictated verses to his schoolmates before he was able to write. Inschool he was particularly brilliant and showed remarkable aptitude inthe study of Latin, rhetoric, and literature. These school days wereinterrupted once by a truant flight to the north of Spain, but atAstorga, near the ancestral estate of Vega, Lope, weary of the hardshipsof travel, turned back to Madrid.
Soon after he left the Colegio de los Teatinos, at about the age offourteen, Lope entered the service of Don Jerónimo Manrique, Bishop ofÁvila, who took so great an interest in him that he sent him to thefamous University of Alcalá de Henares, where he seems to have spentfrom his sixteenth to his twentieth year and on leaving to have receivedhis bachelor's degree. The next five years of his life are shrouded inconsiderable obscurity. It was formerly believed, as related byMontalvan, that he returned from the University of Alcalá to Madridabout 1582, was married and, after a duel with a nobleman, was obligedto flee to Valencia, where he remained until he enlisted in theInvincible Armada in 1588, but recent researchhas proved the case tobe quite otherwise. It would seem that, on leaving the University about1582, he became Secretary to the Marqués de las Navas and that for fouror five years he led in Madrid a dissolute life, writing verses andfrequenting the society of actors and of other young degenerates likehimself and enjoying the favor of a young woman, Elena Osorio, whom headdressed in numberless poems as "Filis" and whom he calls "Dorotea" inhis dramatic romance of the same name. In the latter work he
relatesshamelessly and with evident respect for truth of detail many of hisadventures of the period, which, as Ticknor says,
"do him little creditas a young man of honor and a cavalier."
In the light of the recent information cited above, we know also thatLope's career immediately after 1587 was quite different from what hiscontemporary Montalvan had led the world long to believe. In the Proceso de Lope de Vega por libelos contra unos Cómicos, it is shownthat the poet, having broken with
"Filis," circulated slanderous verseswritten against her father, Jerónimo Velázquez, and his family. Theauthor was tried and sentenced to two years' banishment from Castile andeight more from within five leagues of the city of Madrid. He began hisexile in Valencia, but soon disobeyed the decree of banishment, whichcarried with it the penalty of death if broken, and entered Castilesecretly to marry, early in 1588, Doña Isabel de Urbina, a young womanof good family in the capital.
Accompanied by his young wife, hedoubtless went on directly to Lisbon, where he left her and enlisted inthe Invincible Armada, which sailed from that port, May 29, 1588. Duringthe expedition, according to his own account, Lope fought bravelyagainst the English and the Dutch, using, as he says, his poems writtento "Filis" for gun-wads, and yet found time to write a work of eleventhousand verses entitled la Hermosura de Angélica. The disastrousexpedition returned to Cadiz in December, and Lope made his way back tothe city of his exile, Valencia, where he was joined by his wife. Therethey lived happily for some time, the poet gaining their livelihood bywriting and selling plays, which up to that time he had written for hisown amusement and given to the theatrical managers.
Of the early literary efforts of Lope de Vega, such as have come downto us are evidently but a small part, but from them we know something ofthe breadth of his genius. In childhood even he wrote voluminously, andone of his plays, El Verdadero Amante, which we have of this earlyperiod, was written at the age of twelve, but was probably rewrittenlater in the author's life. He wrote also many ballads, not a few ofwhich have been preserved, and we know that, at the time of hisbanishment, he was perhaps the most popular poet of the day.
The two years following the return of the Armada, Lope continued to livein Valencia, busied with his literary pursuits, but in 1590, after histwo years of banishment from Castile had expired, he moved to Toledo andlater to Alba de Tormes and entered the service of the Duke of Alba,grandson of the great soldier, in the capacity of secretary. For hisemployer he composed about this time the pastoral romance Arcadia,which was not published until 1598. The remaining years of hisbanishment, which was evidently remitted in 1595, were uneventfulenough, but this last year brought to him a great sorrow in the death ofhis faithful wife. However, he seems to have consoled himself easily,for on his return to Madrid the following year we know of his enteringupon a career of gallant adventures which were to last many years andwhich were scarcely interrupted by his second marriage in 1598 to DoñaJuana de Guardo.
Aside from his literary works the following twelve years of the life ofLope offer us but little of interest. The first few years of the periodsaw the appearance of La Dragontea, an epic poem on Sir FrancisDrake, and Isidro, a long narrative poem on the life and achievementsof San Isidro, patron of Madrid. These two works were followed in 1605by his epic, Jerusalén Conquistada, an untrustworthy narration of theachievements of Richard Cœur-de-Lion and Alfonso VIII in the crusadeat the close of the twelfth century. Lope left the service of the Dukeof Alba on his return to Madrid, or about that time, and during the nextdecade held similar positions under the Marqués de Malpica and the Condede Lemos, and during a large part of this period he led a more or lessvagabond existence wherever the whims of his employers or his owngallant adventures led him. About 1605
he made the acquaintance of theDuque de Sessa, who shortly afterwards became his patron and socontinued until the death of the poet about thirty years later. Thecorrespondence of the two forms the best source for the biography ofthis part of Lope's career. From 1605 until 1610 he lived in Toledo withhis much neglected wife, of whom we have no mention since their marriagein 1598. But in 1610 they moved to Madrid, where Lope bought the littlehouse in what is now the Calle de Cervantes, and in this house the greatpoet passed the last quarter of a century of his long and eventful life.
The next few years following this return to the capital were madesorrowful to Lope by the sickness and death of both his wife and hisbeloved little son, Carlos Félix, in whom the father had founded thefondest hopes. Then it was that Lope, now past the fiftieth year of hisage, sought refuge, like so many of his contemporaries and compatriots,in the protecting fold of the Church. Before the death of his wife hehad given evidence of religious fervor by numerous short poems and inhis sacred work, los Pastores de Belén, a long pastoral in prose andin verse relating the early history of the Holy Family. Whether Lope wasinfluenced to take orders by motives of pure devotion or by reasons ofinterest has been a question of speculation for scholars ever since histime. From his works we can easily believe that both of these motivesentered into it; in fact he says as much in his correspondence with theDuque de Sessa. Speaking of this phase of the poet's life,Fitzmaurice-Kelly says: "It was an ill-advised move. Ticknor, indeed,speaks of a 'Lope, no longer at an age to be deluded by his passions';but no such Lope is known to history. While a Familiar of theInquisition the true Lope wrote love-letters for the loose-living Duquede Sessa, till at last his confessor threatened to deny him absolution.Nor is this all: his intrigue with Marta de Navares Santoyo, wife ofRoque Hernández de Ayala, was notorious." But later, speaking of thosewho may study these darker pages of Lope's career, he adds: "If theyjudge by the standards of Lope's time, they will deal gently with amiracle of genius, unchaste but not licentious; like that old Dumas,who, in matters of gaiety, energy and strength, is his nearest moderncompeer." We may say further that Lope, with no motive to deceive orshield himself, for he seems to have almost sought to give publicity tohis licentiousness, was faithful in the discharge of his religiousoffices, evincing therein a fervor and devotion quite exemplary. Yetneither does his gallantry nor his devotion seem to have ever halted hispen for a moment in the years that succeeded his ordination. Hisdramatic composition of this period is quite abundant and other literaryforms are not neglected.
Two interesting incidents in the poet's life are never omitted by hisbiographers. They are the beatification, in 1620, of San Isidro and hiscanonization, two years later, with their accompanying poet "jousts," atboth of which Lope presided and assumed a leading rôle. Before this timehe was known as a great author and worshiped by the element interestedin the drama, but on both these occasions he had an opportunity todeclaim his incomparable verses and those of the other contesting poets,revealing his majestic bearing and versatility to the great populace ofMadrid, his native city. He was thereafter its literary lion, whose veryappearance in the streets furnished an occasion for tumultuousdemonstration of affection.
The last decade of the life of Lope de Vega saw him seeking no rest orretirement behind the friendly walls of some monastic retreat, butrather was it the most active period of his literary career. Well may wesay that he had no declining years, for he never knew rest or realized adecline of his mental faculties. He did not devote by any means all histime to his literary pursuits, but found time to attend faithfully tohis religious duties and to the cares of his home, for he had gatheredabout him his children, Feliciana, Lope Félix and Antonia Clara, ofwhom the last two and Marcela, in a convent since 1621, were the giftedfruit of illicit loves. In 1627 he published his Corona Trágica, along religious epic written on the history of the life and fate of Mary,Queen of Scots. This work won for him the degree of Doctor of Divinity,conferred with other evidences of favor by Pope Urban VIII. Three yearslater appeared Lope's Laurel de Apolo, a poem of some seven thousandlines describing an imaginary festival given on Mount Helicon in April,1628, by Apollo, at which he rewards the poets of merit.
The work isdevoted to the praise of about three hundred contemporary poets. In 1632the poet published his prose romance, Dorotea, written in the form ofdrama, but not adapted to representation on the stage. It is a veryinteresting work drawn from the author's youth and styled by him as "theposthumous child of my Muse, the most beloved of my long-protractedlife. "
It is most important for the light it sheds on the early yearsof his life, for it is largely autobiographical. Another volume, issuedfrom the pen of Lope in 1634 under the title of Rimas del licenciadoTomé de Burguillos, contains the mock-heroic, La Gatomaquia, thehighly humorous account of the love of two cats for a third.Fitzmaurice-Kelly describes this poem as, "a vigorous and brillianttravesty of the Italian epics, replenished with such gay wit as sufficesto keep it sweet for all time."
Broken in health and disappointed in some of his fondest dreams, thegreat poet was now rapidly approaching the end of his life. It isbelieved that domestic disappointments and sorrows hastened greatly hisend. It would appear from some of his works that his son, Lope Félix, towhom he dedicated the last volume mentioned above, was lost at sea thesame year, and that his favorite daughter, Antonia Clara, eloped with agallant at the court of Philip IV. Four days before his death Lopecomposed his last work, El Siglo de Oro, and on August 27, 1635, aftera brief serious illness, the prince of Spanish drama and one of theworld's greatest authors, Lope Félix de Vega Carpio breathed his last inthe little home in the Calle de Francos, now the Calle de Cervantes. Hisfuneral, with the possible exception of that of Victor Hugo, was thegreatest ever accorded to any man of letters, for it was made theoccasion of national mourning. The funeral procession on its way to thechurch of San Sebastian turned aside from its course so that the poet'sdaughter, Marcela, might see from her cell window in the convent of theDescalzadas the remains of her great father on the way to their lastresting-place.
II. THE EARLY SPANISH THEATER AND THE DRAMA
OF LOPE DE VEGA
The theater of the Golden Age of Spanish letters occupies a positionunique in the history of the theaters of modern Europe, for it ispractically free from foreign influence and is largely the product ofthe popular will. Like other modern theaters, however, the Spanishtheater springs directly from the Church, having its origin in theearly mysteries, in which the principal themes were incidents taken fromthe lives of the saints and other events recorded in the Old and the NewTestament, and in the moralities, in which the personages were abstractqualities of vices and virtues. These somewhat somber themes in timefailed to satisfy the popular will and gradually subjects of a moresecular nature were introduced. This innovation in England and Francewas the signal for the disappearance of the sacred plays; but not so inSpain, where they were continued several centuries, under the title of autos, after they had disappeared in other parts of Europe.
The beginnings of the Spanish secular theater were quite humble and mostof them have been lost in the mists of time and indifference. Therecognized founder of the modern Spanish theater appeared the same yearColumbus discovered the New World. Agustín Rojas, the actor, in his Viaje entretenido, says of this glorious year: "In 1492, Ferdinand andIsabella saw fall the last stronghold of the Moors in the surrender ofGranada, Columbus discovered America, and Juan del Encina founded theSpanish theater." Juan del Encina was a graduate of the University ofSalamanca and lived at the time mentioned above in the household of theDuke of Alba at Alba de Tormes. It was here that, before selectaudiences, were first presented his early plays or Églogas. The playsof Encina, fourteen in number, were staged and constitute the modestbeginnings of a movement that was to develop rapidly in the next twodecades. A contemporary of Juan del Encina, Fernando de Rojas,published in 1498 his famous dramatized romance, La Celestina, which,while it was not suited for representation on the stage, was a work ofgreat literary merit and had remarkable influence on the early drama.About the same time a disciple of Juan del Encina, Gil Vicente, foundedthe Portuguese theater and made notable contributions to Spanishletters, for he seems to have written with equal facility in the twoidioms. Perhaps the greatest dramatic genius of the period, BartoloméTorres Naharro, while he wrote in Spanish, passed the greater part ofhis life in Italy, where he published at Naples in 1517 an edition ofhis plays entitled Propaladia. He, first of Spanish authors, dividedhis plays into five acts, called jornadas, limited the number ofpersonages, and created a plot worthy of the name.
For almost half a century after the publication of the Propaladia theSpanish theater advanced but little, for this was the period when CarlosQuinto ruled Spain and kept the national interest fixed on his militaryachievements, which were for the most part outside of the peninsula. Butabout 1560 there flourished in Spain probably the most important figurein the early history of the national drama. This was the Sevilliangold-beater, later actor and
representations before this time were doubtless limited in alarge measure to select audiences in castles and courts of nobleresidences; but Lope de Rueda had as his theater the public squares andmarket-places, and as his audience the great masses of the Spanishpeople, who now for the first time had a chance to dictate the trendwhich the national drama should take. In his rôle of manager andplaywright Lope de Rueda showed no remarkable genius, but he began amovement which was to reach its culmination and perfection under theleadership of no less a personage than the great Lope himself. Betweenthe two Lopes there lived and wrote a number of dramatic authors ofdiverse merit. Lope de Rueda's work was continued by the
Valencianbookseller, Juan de Timoneda, and by his fellow actors, Alonso de laVega and Alonso de Cisneros. In this interim there took place a strugglebetween the popular and classic schools. The former was defended by suchauthors as Juan de la Cueva and Cristóbal de Virués, while the latterwas espoused by Gerónimo Bermúdez and others. The immortal Cervanteswrote many plays in this period and claimed to favor the classic drama,but his dramatic works are not of sufficient importance to win for him aplace in either party. Thus we find that in 1585 Spain had a divideddrama, represented on the one side by the drama of reason and proportionfashioned after Greek and Roman models, and on the other a looselyjoined, irregular, romantic drama of adventure and intrigue, such as
wasdemanded by the Spanish temperament. Besides the defenders of theseschools there was an infinite variety of lesser lights who wrote allsorts of plays from the grossest farces to the dullest Latin dramas.Before taking up the discussion of the works of the mighty genius whowas to establish the popular drama, it is well to give a brief glance atthe people who presented plays and the places in which they were given.
As has been already observed, the dramas of Juan del Encina and hisimmediate successors were probably presented to limited audiences. It isnot improbable that parts were often taken by amateurs rather than bymembers of regular troupes. However, at an early date there were manystrolling players who are classed in the Viaje entretenido in no lessthan eight professional grades: (1) The bululú, a solitary strollerwho went from village to village reading simple pieces in public placesand living from the scanty collections taken among the audience. (2) The ñaque, two players, who could perform entremeses and play one or twomusical instruments. (3) The gangarilla, group of three or four actorsof whom one was a boy to play a woman's part. They usually played afarce or some other short play. (4) The cambaleo was composed of fivemen and a woman and remained several days in each village. (5) The garnacha was a little larger than the cambaleo and could representfour plays and several autos and entremeses. (6) The bojiganga represented as many as six comedias and a number of autos and entremeses, had some approach at regular costumes, and traveled onhorseback. (7) The farándula was composed of from ten to fifteenplayers, was well equipped and traveled with some ease. (8) The compañía was the most pretentious theatrical organization composed ofthirty persons, capable of producing as many as fifty pieces andaccustomed to travel with dignity due the profession. Of still greatersimplicity were the theaters where these variously classified actorsgave their plays. In the villages and towns they were simply the plazaor other open space in which the rude stage and paraphernalia weretemporarily set up. Quoting from Cervantes, Ticknor says of the theaterof Lope de Rueda: "The theater was composed of four benches, arranged ina square, with five or six boards laid across them, that were thusraised about four palms from the ground. The furniture of the theaterwas an old blanket drawn aside by two cords, making what they called thetiring-room, behind which were the musicians, who sang old balladswithout a guitar." In the larger cities such simplicity cannot beexpected in the later development of the theater, for there the interestand resources were greater. In this respect Madrid, the capital, may beconsidered as representative of the most advanced type. In that city theplays were given in corrales or open spaces surrounded on all sides byhouses except the side nearest the street. By the beginning of theseventeenth century these corrales were reduced to two principalones—the Corral de la Pacheca (on the site of the present TeatroEspañol) and the Corral de la Cruz, in the street of the same name. Thewindows of the houses surrounding these corrales, with the adjoiningrooms, formed aposentos which were rented to individuals and whichwere entered from the houses themselves.
At the end farthest from theentrance of the corral was the stage, which was raised above the levelof the ground and covered by a roof. In front of the stage and aroundthe walls were benches, those in the latter position rising in tiers. Onthe left hand and on a level with the ground was the cazuela orwomen's gallery. The ground to the rear of the benches in front of thestage was open and formed the "standing-room" of the theater. With theexception of the stage, a part of the benches and the aposentos, thewhole was in the open air and unprotected from the weather. In suchunpretentious places the masterpieces of Lope de Vega and of many of hissuccessors were presented.
With this environment in mind we shallproceed to a brief review of the dramatic works of el Fénix de losingenios.
Lope de Vega found the Spanish drama a mass of incongruities withoutform, preponderating influence, or type, he left it in every detail awell-organized, national drama, so perfect that, though his successorspolished it, they added nothing to its form. When or how he beganthis great work, it is not certain.
He says in his works that he wroteplays as early as his eleventh year and conceived them even younger, andwe have one of his plays, El Verdadero Amante, written, as has beenmentioned, when he was twelve, but corrected and published many yearslater. Of all his plays written before his banishment, little is knownbut it is natural to suppose that they resembled in a measure the worksof predecessors, for this period must be considered the apprenticeshipof Lope. Though written for the author's pleasure, they were evidentlynumerous, for Cervantes says that Lope de Vega "filled the world withhis own comedias, happily and judiciously planned, and so many thatthey covered more than ten thousand sheets." That his merit was soonappreciated is evident from the fact that theatrical managers wereanxious to have these early compositions and that during his banishmenthe supported himself and family in Valencia by selling plays andprobably kept the best troupes of the land stocked with his works alone.Of the number of his works the figures are almost incredible. In ElPeregrino en su Patria, published in 1604, he gives a list of hisplays, which up to that time numbered two hundred and nineteen; in 1609he says, in El Arte Nuevo de hacer Comedias, that the number was thenfour hundred and eighty-three; in prologues or prefaces of his worksLope tells us that he had written eight hundred plays in 1618, ninehundred in 1619 and one thousand and seventy in 1625. In the Égloga áClaudio, written in 1632, and in the concluding lines of La Moza deCántaro, revised probably the same year, he says that he is the authorof fifteen hundred comedias. In the Fama Póstuma, written after hisdeath in 1635
by his friend Montalvan, it is stated that the number ofdramatic works of Lope included eighteen hundred comedias and fourhundred autos. From the above figures it is evident that Lope composedat times on an average a hundred comedias a year, and this after hehad passed his fiftieth year! Yet still more astonishing is his ownstatement in regard to them:
Pasaron de las musas al teatro. »
And it is a matter of history that he composed his well-known La Nochede San Juan for the favorite, Olivares, in three days.
This, inaddition to his other works, offers us a slight insight into thewonderful fertility of the man's genius and gives reason to Cervantesand his contemporaries for calling him "el monstruo de la naturaleza"and "el Fénix de los ingenios."
To his plays Lope de Vega has given the general name of comedias,which should not be confused with the word
"comedies," for the two arenot synonymous. They are divided into three acts or jornadas ofsomewhat variable length and admit of numerous classifications. Broadlyspeaking, we may divide the comedias into four groups: (1) Comediasde capa y espada, which Lope created and which include by far thegreater number of his important works. In these plays the principalpersonages are nobles and the theme is usually questions of love andhonor. (2) Comedias heroicas, which have royalty as the leadingcharacters, are lofty or tragical in sentiment, and have historical ormythological foundation. (3) Comedias de santos, which represent someincident of biblical origin or some adventure in the lives of thesaints. In them the author presents the graver themes of religion to thepeople in a popular and comprehensible manner, in which levity is oftenmore prominent than gravity. (4) Comedias de costumbres, in which thechief personages are from the lower classes and of which the language iseven lascivious and the subject treated with a liberty not encounteredin other dramas of the author. To these various classes must be addedthe Autos sacramentales, which were written to be represented onoccasions of religious festivals. Their theme is usually popular, evengrotesque, and the representation took place in the streets.
Lope de Vega took the Spanish drama as he found it, and from its betterqualities he built the national drama. He knew the unities and ignoredthem in his works, preferring, as he says, to give the people what theywished, and he laid down precepts for composition, but even these heobeyed indifferently. Always clever, he interpreted the popular will andgratified it. He did not make the Spanish drama so much as he permittedit to be made in and through him, and by so doing he reconciled allclasses to himself; he was as popular with the erudite as he was withthe masses, for his plays have a variety, facility, and poetic beautythat won the favor of all. His works abound in the inaccuracies andobscurities that characterize hasty composition and hastierproof-reading, but these are forgotten in the clever intrigue which isthe keynote of the Spanish drama, in the infinite variety ofversification and in the constant and never flagging interest. For overfifty years Lope de Vega enriched the Spanish drama with the wonders ofhis genius, yet from El Verdadero Amante, certainly in its originalform one of his earliest plays now in existence, to Las Bizarrías deBelisa, written the year before his death, we find a uniformity ofvigor, resourcefulness and imagination that form a lasting monument tohis versatility and powers of invention, and amply justify his titles of"Fénix de los ingenios" and "Monstruo de la naturaleza."
III. LA MOZA DE CÁNTARO
This interesting comedia was written in the last decade of the life ofLope de Vega, in the most fertile period of his genius.
Hartzenbusch isauthority for the statement that it was written towards the close of theyear 1625 and revised in 1632. It is evident that the closing linesof it were written in 1632, for the author says in the Égloga áClaudio that he had completed that year fifteen hundred comedias. Asevidence of its popularity, we have the following resumé andappreciation from the same critic in the prólogo of his edition of Comedias Escogidas de Lope de Vega: «Iba cayendo el sol, y acercábaseá la peripecia última, precursora del desenlace, una comedia que en unteatro de Madrid
representabancuatro galanes, dos damas, un barba, dos graciosos, dos graciosas yotros actores de clase inferior, ante una porción de espectadores, consombrero calado, como quienes encima de sí no tenían otra techumbre quela del cielo. Ya la primera dama había hecho su postrera salida con elmás rico traje de su vestuario: absorto su amante del señoril porte deaquella mujer, que, siendo una humilde criada, sabía, sin embargo, elpomposo guardainfante, como si en toda su vida no hubiese arrastradootras faldas; ciego de pasión y atropellando los respetos debidos á sulinaje, se había llegado á ella, y asiéndole fuera de sí la mano, lehabía ofrecido la suya. El galán segundo se había opuesto resueltamenteá la irregular y precipitada boda; pero al oir que la supuesta Isabeltenía por verdadero nombre el ilustre de doña María Guzmán yPortocarrero, y era, aunque moza de cántaro parienta del duque deMedina, su resistencia había desaparecido. Hecha pues una granreverencia muda á la novia, se adelantó el actor á la orilla del tabladopara dirigir esta breve alocución al público:
Bien es que perdón merezca.
De las gradas y barandillas, de las ventanas y desvanes, de todos losasientos, pero principalmente de los que llenaban el patio, hubo desalir entonces, entre ruidosas palmadas, un grito unánime de admiración,de entusiasmo y orgullo nacional justísimo. «¡Vítor, Lope!» clamabaaquella alborazada multitud una vez y otra; «¡Viva el Fénix de losingenios! ¡Viva Lope de Vega! » And in no less laudatory terms, ElíasZerolo says: "En ella,... agotó Lope todos los sentimientos resortespropios de su teatro... Esta comedia es una de las más perfectas deLope, por lo que alcanzó en su tiempo un éxito ruidoso." In enumeratingthe plays of Lope which were still well known and represented in Spainin the nineteenth century, Gil de Zárate names La Moza de Cántaro among the first, and doubtless on this authority Ticknor speaks of itas one of the plays of Lope which "have continued to be favorites downto our own times. "
The "Watermaid" belongs to the largest class of Lope's plays—
the classin which he excelled— comedias de capa y espada.
Ticknor erroneouslyclasses it as a comedy "founded on common life" or as styled by others comedia de costumbres, but it is probable he did so without makinghimself thoroughly familiar with the comedy in its full form. Zerolo isvery emphatic in attributing it to the class of comedias de capa yespada, for he says: "Más que ninguna otra, reune esta obra lascircunstancias que caracterizan á las comedias de capa y espada, comoembozos, equívocos, etc." Were the leading character what her nameimplies—a humble servant—and were the other characters of her rank,the play might well be classed as a comedia de costumbres; but that itbelongs to the larger class is established by the fact that the intrigueis complicated, the question of love and rank is prominent, and thecharacters are of the nobility. Any opposing irregularities inlanguage or action may be explained by the period represented, for thetime is that of the early years of the reign of the young monarch,Philip IV, a brilliant though corrupt epoch of Spanish history wellworthy of a moment's notice.
Philip III died in 1621, leaving the vast realm which he had inheritedfrom his father, the gloomy though mighty Philip II, to his son, a youthof sixteen years, who came to the throne under the title of Philip IV.If Philip III was ruled by Lerma and Uceda, Philip IV, in his turn, wascompletely under the domination of the unprincipled Olivares, and hisaccession initiated one of the most interesting and most corrupt reignsthat Spain has ever known. Philip himself was weak and pleasure-loving,but has never been regarded as perverse, and Olivares was ambitious andlonged to rule Spain as the great Cardinal was ruling France.
To achievethis end he isolated the monarch from every possible rival and kept himoccupied with all sorts of diversions. At an early age Philip had beenmarried to Isabel de Bourbon, daughter of Henry IV of France, and shewas an unconscious tool in the hands of Olivares, for she was as lightand as fond of pleasures as the king. Trivial incidents in royal circleswere sufficient excuse to provide the most lavish celebrations andexpenditures, illy authorized by the depleted condition of the royalexchequer.
momentarilyfavorable for such a period as that through which the country waspassing, for Spain was at peace with all the world. The Netherlands andother continental possessions were placated by concessions ortemporarily quieted by truces, and the American possessions wereprosperous and contributed an enormous toll of wealth to themother-country. Madrid, with all its unsightliness, was one of the mostbrilliant courts of Europe and attracted to itself the most giftedsubjects of the realm.
Encouraged by the king's love of art and letters,the great painters like Velázquez and Ribera vied with each other increating masterpieces for princely patrons, and great authors like Lope,Quevedo, and Calderón sharpened their wits to please a literary public.This cosmopolitan society furnished abundant food for observation and aninexhaustible supply of interesting personages for the dramatist.
Since Lope de Vega had no classic rules to observe and was limited inhis composition only by popular tastes, he could without offense takehis characters from whatever class of society he wished so long as hischoice was pleasing to the audience, which, it happens, was not easilyoffended. Like Shakespeare, he brings upon the stage illiterate servantsto mix their rude speech and often questionable jests with the graveand lofty or poetic utterances of their noble or royal masters.
Hischaracters, too, were not limited to any fixed line of conduct, as longas honor was upheld. They could be creatures of passion or impulse whogave expression to the most violent or romantic sentiments, minglinglaughter and tears with all the artlessness of children. Therefore wemay expect the most divergent interests and the most complexcombinations of aims and actions of which the popular reason is capableof conceiving.
On the Spanish stage, woman had always had a secondary rôle, not onlybecause she was not fully appreciated, but also because the rôle wasusually taken by boys, for women were long prohibited from the stage."Lope, the expert in gallantry, in manners, in observation, placed herin her true setting, as an ideal, as the mainspring of dramatic motiveand of chivalrous conduct. " Doña María is a type of Spanish woman ofwhich history furnishes numerous parallels. Her family name had suffereddisgrace and her own father was crying out for an avenger; there was noone else to take up the task, she eagerly took it upon herself andpunished her suitor with the death she thought he deserved. Then toescape arrest she fled in the guise of a servant girl, which was in facta very natural one for her to assume, for even at the present time nohigh-born young Spanish woman would dare to travel unattended andundisguised through her native land; besides, to do so would haverevealed her identity. Once located in the capital, she becomes anideal Spanish servant girl, performing well the duties imposed upon her,gossiping with those of her assumed class, breaking the heads of thosewho sought to molest her, usually gay and loquacious, but, whenoffended, impudent and malicious. That she does things unbecoming of hertrue rank only shows how well she carries out her assumed rôle; that shewas not offensive or contrary to Spanish tastes of the times is provedby the fact that, although she was a Guzmán and consequently a relativeof the ruling favorite, Olivares, the play did not fall under royalcensure. Her versatility and just claim to her high position areemphasized by the ease with which she assumes her own rank at the closeof the play.
Don Juan, the hero of the play, while he pales somewhat before thebrilliant, protagonistic rôle of the heroine, represents on a lesserplane Lope's conception of the true Spanish gallant, whom the poet oftenpictures under this name or that of "Fernando" and not infrequently letshis personality show through even to the extent of revealing interestingautobiographical details. That Lope did not approve entirely of thehigher social life of his time is brought out all through the play andrevealed in the hero, for the contemporaries and friends of the latterconsidered him an original. But in him we find more nearly the commonSpanish conception of chivalry and honor.
Breathing his love in poetic musings, eating out his own heart insleepless nights and in anxious waitings for his lady-love by thefountain in the Prado or at the lavaderos along the banks of theManzanares, refusing wealth and spurning position gained at the price ofhis love, preserving an unrivaled fidelity to his friend and kinsman,but finally consenting to sacrifice his love for the honor of his nameand family, Don Juan is the embodiment of Spanish chivalry of all ages.That the poet makes him love one apparently on a lower social planeillustrates his power of discrimination and magnifies these virtuesrather than diminishes them.
Don Bernardo, of whom we see but little, recalls don Diègue ofCorneille, to whom he is directly related, for Guillén de Castro is aworthy disciple of Lope de Vega and wrote many plays, including lasMocedades del Cid, in his manner, and Corneille's indebtedness to theformer is too well known to need explanation. More violent than DonDiègue, who is restrained by the decorum of the French classic theater,more tearful than Don Diego of las Mocedades, who, after a passionatesoliloquy, rather coolly tests the valor of his sons, ending by bitingthe finger of "el Cid," Don Bernardo appears first upon the stage intears and frequently, during the only scene in which he figures, givesway to his grief. The comparison of the three is interesting, for allthree had suffered the same insult; but before we judge Don Bernardo toohastily, we should consider that both the other two are making theirappeals to valiant men, while he is appealing to a woman, and notappealing for vengeance as they, but rather lamenting his hard lot. DonDiègue and Don Diego impress us by the gravity of their appeals, whileDon Bernardo arouses
cavalier,decorated with the cross of Santiago, that he is!
If we make Don Juan the impersonation of Lope's idea of chivalry, we maywell interpret el Conde and Doña Ana as representing his appreciation ofhis more sordid contemporaries; both are actuated by motives of interestand are not scrupulous enough to conceal it. The poet is far toodiscreet to hold either up to ridicule, yet he makes each suffer a keenrebuff. Both are given sufficient elements of good to dismiss them atthe close with the partial realization of their desires.
One character particularly local to Spanish literature is the Indiano.In general usage the term is applied to those who enter Spain, comingfrom the Latin-American countries, though properly it should includeperhaps only natives of the West Indies. Since an early date, however,the term has been applied to Spaniards returning to the native landafter having made a fortune in the Americas. In the early years of theseventeenth century, when the mines of Mexico and South America werepouring forth their untold millions, these Indianos were especiallynumerous in the Spanish capital, and Lope de Vega, with his usual acuteperception ready to seize upon any theme popular with the public, gavethem a prominent place in his works. Sometimes they appear as scions ofillustrious lineage, as Don Fernando and the father of Elena in laEsclava de su Galán, and again they figure as the object of the poet'scontempt, as the wealthy merchant, Don Bela, in la Dorotea. In thepresent instance the Indiano is a bigoted, miserly fellow who seeks,at the least possible cost, position at the Spanish court and whoemploys doña María largely for motives of interest rather than throughsympathy for her poverty-stricken condition. Later, at Madrid, heexhibits himself in a still more unfavorable light, and ends by drivingher from his service, of which incident she gives a highly entertaining,though little edifying, narration.
The last characters in the play who need occupy our attention are Martínand Pedro, the graciosos. This very Spanish personage dates, in idea,back to the servants of the Celestina and to the simple of TorresNaharro, but in the hands of Lope he is so developed and so omnipresentthat he is justly accredited as a creation of the great "Fénix. "Martín, the clever but impudent servant, is the leading character inthe secondary plot and the only one to whom prominence is given. He actsas a news-gatherer for his master and, while thus occupied, he falls inlove with Leonor, who does not seem to prove for him a difficultconquest. With characteristic Spanish liberty he advises his mastersfreely and is generally heeded and mixes in everything his comments,which, while not always free from suggestiveness, are filled with acontagious levity. Pedro, the lackey suitor of doña María, known to himas Isabel, is the prototype of the modern "chulo" whose traits can betraced in his every word and action. Disappointed in his love-making, heloses none of his characteristics of braggadocio and willingly assumesthe rôle of defender of Isabel although he himself has been maltreatedby the bellicose "moza de cántaro."
Untrammeled by the unities or other dramatic conventionalities, Lope wasable in this drama, as in his others, to permit the action to developnaturally and simply with the various vicissitudes attendant uponevery-day life and yet to weave the intricate threads of intrigue into acomplex maze perfect in detail. The leading character is introduced inthe first scene, which is followed by the long exposition of attendantcircumstances that could be as well narrated as produced upon the stage.Thus delay and harrowing detail are avoided. The introduction of thetragic element into the play early in the first act has a tendency tosoften its effect, especially as it has little relation to thesubsequent action. However, the mere introduction of it in the playwould probably, in the early French theater, class the drama as atragi-comedy. And Alexandre Hardy, the French playwright andcontemporary of Lope de Vega, who borrowed largely from the latter bothin method and detail, so styled many of his works. The scene, opening inhistoric Ronda in the midst of the places made famous by the mightyfamily of the Guzmáns, then moving north to an obscure town in theSierra-Morena, little known to the cultured atmosphere in which the playwas to be represented, and finally centering in the capital anddeveloping under the very eye of the audience, as it were, just as somany tragedies and comedies, less important perhaps but no lessinteresting, unfold in daily life about us, gives the play a broaderinterest than it would have and doubtless contributed powerfully to itssuccess. The introduction of the secondary plot, affording the excusefor the prominent place given to the gracioso, is a device which Lope,like his great English contemporary, often uses as in this case withgood effect. The disguising of a lady of the highest nobility and makingher play so well the part of the lowly water-maid furnish the key to theintrigue and would not detract from the play in the eyes of thecontemporary, following upon the reign of the pastoral and according asit did with the tastes of the times.
Unlike Shakespeare, whose rare good fortune it was to establish alanguage as well as found a national drama, Lope de Vega took up alanguage which had been in use and which had served as a medium ofliterary expression many centuries before he was born, and with itestablished the Spanish drama. Here again Lope conformed to commonusage. He knew of the elegant conceits of linguistic expression and usedthem sparingly in his plays, but usually his language was, like theideas which he expressed, the speech of the public which he sought toplease, not slighting the grandiloquent phraseology to which the Spanishlanguage is so well adapted. We find a good example of these
differentelements in La Moza de Cántaro in the three sonnets of Act II, SceneIII, of which the first is in the sonorous, high-sounding, oratoricalstyle, the second, in the elegant conceits so common in Italianliterature of the period, and the third in the language of every-daylife. Each is well suited to the occasion and to the rôle of thespeaker. Seldom in any of his works, and never in La Moza de Cántaro,does Lope descend to dialect or to slang, but rather in the pureCastilian of his time, preferably in the Castilian of the masses, hecomposes his rhythmic verses.
Like some mountain stream his measuresflow, sometimes in idle prattle over pebbly beds, soon to change intothe majestic cascade, then to the whirling rapids, only to tarry soon inthe quiet pool to muse in long soliloquy, to rush on again, sullen,quarrelsome, vehemently protesting in hoarse and discordant murmurings,then to roll out into the bright sunshine and there to sing in lyricaccents of love and beauty. So the style like the action never settlesin dull monotony, which, be it ever so beautiful, ends by wearying theaudience. The great master put diversion into every thought and filledthe listener with rapture by the versatility and beauty of hisinimitable style.
One of the secrets of Lope's influence over his contemporaries is to befound in his versification. Ticknor says that no meter of which thelanguage was susceptible escaped him. And in his dramatic composition wefind as much variety in this respect as in any other. In el Arte nuevode hacer Comedias, he says: "The versification should be carefullyaccommodated to the subject treated. The décimas are suited forcomplaints; the sonnet is fitting for those who are in expectation; thenarrations require romances, although they shine most brilliantly inoctaves; tercets are suitable for matters grave, and for love-scenes the redondilla is the fitting measure. " These various rimes, exceptthe tercet, are found in La Moza de Cántaro, but in this rule, as inothers which he prescribes, Lope does not follow his own precepts.
The redondilla is far more common than any other, though the romance isfrequently used. Most of the plays of Lope contain sonnets, and theyvary in number from one to five or even seven: in the present instancewe have the medium of three. The décima is used in four passages andthe octava in two. The widely varied scheme of versification is asfollows:
Biblioteca de Autores Españoles desde la formación del lenguaje hastanuestros días, 71 vols., Madrid, 1849-1880.
The references to thisextensive work are usually made by means of the titles of the separatevolumes. Particularly is this true of the references to the dramas ofLope de Vega, which, under the title of Comedias Escogidas de Lope deVega, include volumes 24, 34, 41, 52 of the work.
Obras Escogidas de Frey Lope Félix de Vega Carpio, con prólogo y notaspor Elías Zerolo, Paris, 1886, Vol. III.
La Moza de Cántaro, Comedia en cinco actos por Lope Félix de VegaCarpio y refundida por Don Cándido María Trigueros,
La Moza de Cántaro, Comedia en cinco actos por Lope Félix de VegaCarpio y refundida por Don Cándido María Trigueros,
con anotaciones,Londres (about 1820).
Obras Sueltas de Lope de Vega, colección de las obras sueltas, assi enprosa, como en verso, 21 vols., Madrid, 1776-1779.
Handbuch der Spanischen Litteratur, von Ludwig Lemcke, 3
Diccionario Enciclopédico hispano-americano de literatura, ciencias yartes, 26 vols., Barcelona, 1887-1899.
Grand Dictionnaire Universel, par Pierre Larousse, 17 vols., Paris.
Manual elemental de gramática histórica española, por R.
MenéndezPidal, Madrid, 1905.
FITZMAURICE-KELLY, A History of Spanish Literature, New York andLondon, 1898.
TICKNOR, History of Spanish Literature, 3 vols., 5th ed., Boston,1882.
ESPINO, Ensayo histórico-crítico del Teatro español, Cádiz, 1876.
J. A. SYMONDS, Renaissance in Italy, 2 vols., New York, 1888.
A. GASSIER, Le Théâtre Espagnol, Paris, 1898.
H. A. RENNERT, The Life of Lope de Vega, Glasgow, 1904.
HAVELOCK ELLIS, The Soul of Spain, Boston, 1909.
MARTIN HUME, The Court of Philip IV, London, 1907.
NOTE.—The last three works mentioned are especially recommended forcollateral reading in the study of La Moza de Cántaro.
LA MOZA DE CÁNTARO
DON BERNARDO, viejo
DOÑA MARÍA, dama
DOÑA ANA, viuda
UN MOZO DE MULAS
La escena es en Ronda,[a]en Ada muz y Madrid Transcriber's
Clicking on the line's number will take you to the section of notespertaining
Clicking on the note's number will return you to the particularline.
Sala en casa de don Bernardo, en Ronda.
DOÑA MARÍA y LÜISA, con unos papeles
Para morirse de risa.
Esos Narcisos te han dado?
¿Lo que miras dificultas? 5
¡Bravo amor, brava fineza!
Para darte estas consultas.
Con el duque de Medina.
Y aspirar, Señora, á alteza.
Dasme por la vanidad.
Dama como tú.
Lüisa, tu buen deseo.
Á ninguno quieres bien. 25
Todos me parecen mal.
Éste es de don Luis.
Sólo por cumplir contigo. 30
Yo soy de su amor testigo.
( Lee. )
No leo. ( Rompe el papel. )
De la muerte hablar después?
Éste es de don Pedro.
Que no te parezca mal.
( Lee. )
Qué médico te la dió?
Pues ¿no entiendes culto?
¿Habla de aciértame aquí?
En invención tan lucida?
Ahora bien, ¿hay más papel? 50
Se cifra la discreción.
( Lee. )
¿Qué es partido? No prosigo. ( Rómpele. )
¿Qué nada te ha de agradar?
Si todos como éstos son? 60
Si es sujetarse el casar. 75
Que ninguno es para mí.
Pues ¿has de vivir ansí?
Si á mí me sobran, ¿qué quieres?
¡Qué terrible condición!
Necia estás. No he de casarme. 85
¿Qué piensas hacer de ti?
Á casar sin voluntad?
Para tanta inobediencia.
Pretendiendo deshacella. 95
Es mandamiento de Dios.
¿Ya llegas á predicarme?
Que estaban juntos los dos... 100
Mi señor y don Diego.
Y le desengaño luego?
Y don Luis ¿no es muy galán? 105
Que á llorar despacio van.
Que haya más que desear.
Sí hay, Lüisa...
Á mi lado hombre tan feo. 120
Y tú sola dél te ríes.
Que éste es don Pedro el Cruel.
Tu desdén me maravilla. 125
Como el otro de Castilla.
Joyas te ha hecho famosas. 130
Hasta coche te ha comprado.
Don Diego de noche y coche.
¡De noche un gran caballero!
No yo. ¡De noche visiones!
Oigo unas tristes razones.
¿No es éste mi padre?
DON BERNARDO, de hábito de Santiago, con un lienzo en losojos.—DICHAS
¡Ay de mí!