EDITED WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES AND
ELIJAH CLARENCE HILLS, PH. D., LITT.D.
Professor of Romance Languages in Colorado College
S. GRISWOLD MORLEY, PH. D.
University of Colorado
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
The present volume aims to furnish American studentsof Spanish with a convenient selection of theCastilian lyrics best adapted to class reading. It wasthe intention of the editors to include no poem whichdid not possess distinct literary value. On the otherhand, some of the most famous Spanish lyrics do notseem apt to awaken the interest of the average student:it is for this reason that scholars will miss thenames of certain eminent poets of the siglo de oro.The nineteenth century, hardly inferior in merit andnearer to present-day readers in thought and language,is much more fully represented. No apology is neededfor the inclusion of poems by Spanish-American writers,for they will bear comparison both in style andthought with the best work from the mother Peninsula.
The Spanish poems are presented chronologically,according to the dates of their authors. The Spanish-Americanpoems are arranged according to countriesand chronologically within those divisions. Omissionsare indicated by rows of dots and are due in all cases tothe necessity of bringing the material within the limitsof a small volume. Three poems (the Fiesta de toros ofMoratín, the Castellano leal of Rivas and the Leyenda of Zorrilla) are more narrative than lyric.
The romances ivselected are the most lyrical of their kind. Afew songs have been added to illustrate the relationof poetry to music.
The editors have been constantly in consultation inall parts of the work, but the preparation of the Prosody,the Notes (including articles on Spanish-American literature)and the part of the Introduction dealing with thenineteenth century, was undertaken by Mr. Hills,while Mr. Morley had in charge the Introduction priorto 1800, and the Vocabulary. Aid has been receivedfrom many sources. Special thanks are due to ProfessorJ.D.M. Ford and Dr. A.F. Whittem ofHarvard University, Don Ricardo Palma of Peru,Don Rubén Darío of Nicaragua, Don Rufino Blanco-Fombonaof Venezuela, Professor Carlos Bransby ofthe University of California, and Dr. Alfred Coesterof Brooklyn, N.Y.
I. Spanish Lyric Poetry to 1800
II. Spanish Lyric Poetry of the Nineteenth Century
III. Spanish Versification
El conde Arnaldos
El amante desdichado
VINCENTE (GIL) (1470-1540?)
TERESA DE JESÚS (SANTA) (1515-1582)
Letrilla (que llevaba por registro en su breviario)
LEÓN (FRAY LUIS DE) (1527-1591)
Á Cristo crucificado
VEGA (LOPE DE) (1562-1635)
Canción de la Virgen
QUEVEDO (FRANCISCO DE) (1580-1645)
Epístola satírica al conde de Olivares
VILLEGAS (ESTEBAN MANUEL DE) (1589-1669)
Cantilena: De un pajarillo
CALDERÓN DE LA BARCA (PEDRO) (1600-1681)
"Estas que fueron pompa y alegría,"
Consejo de Crespo á su hijo
GONZÁLEZ (FRAY DIEGO) (1733-1794)
El murciélago alevoso
MORATÍN (NICOLÁS F. DE) (1737-1780)
Fiesta de toros en Madrid
JOVELLANOS (GASPAR M. DE) (1744-1811)
MELÉNDEZ VALDÉS (JUAN) (1754-1817)
Rosana en los fuegos
QUINTANA (MANUEL JOSÉ) (1772-1857)
Oda á España, después de la revolución de marzo
SOLÍS (DIONISIO) (1774-1834)
La pregunta de la niña
GALLEGO (JUAN NICASIO) (1777-1853)
El Dos de Mayo
MARTÍNEZ DE LA ROSA (FRANCISCO) (1787-1862)
RIVAS (DUQUE DE) (1791-1865)
Un castellano leal
AROLAS (PADRE JUAN) (1805-1849)
"Sé más feliz que yo"
ESPRONCEDA (JOSÉ DE) (1808-1842)
Canción del pirata
Á la patria
ZORRILLA (JOSÉ) (1817-1893)
Á buen juez, mejor testigo
TRUEBA (ANTONIO DE) (1821-1889)
Cantos de pájaro
SELGAS (JOSÉ) (1821-1882)
ALARCÓN (PEDRO ANTONIO DE) (1833-1891)
BÉCQUER (GUSTAVO A.) (1836-1870)
QUEROL (VINCENTE WENCESLAO) (1836-1889)
CAMPOAMOR (RAMÓN DE) (1817-1901)
Proximidad del bien
¡Quién supiera escribir!
El mayor castigo
NÚÑEZ DE ARCE (GASPAR) (1834-1903)
PALACIO (MANUEL DEL) (1832-1895)
BARTRINA (JOAQUÍN MARÍA) (1850-1880)
REINA (MANUEL) (1860-)
ECHEVERRÍA (O. ESTEBAN) (1805-1851)
Canción de Elvira
ANDRADE (OLEGARIO VICTOR) (1838-1882)
OBLIGADO (RAFAEL) (1852-)
En la ribera
ORTIZ (JOSÉ JOAQUÍN) (1814-1892)
Colombia y España
CARO (JOSÉ EUSEBIO) (1817-1853)
MARROQUÍN (JOSÉ MANUEL) (1827-)
Los cazadores y la perrilla
CARO (MIGUEL ANTONIO) (1843-1909)
Vuelta á la patria
ARRIETA (DIÓGENES A.) (1848-)
En la tumba de mi hijo
GUTIÉRREZ PONCE (IGNACIO) (1850-)
GARAVITO A. (JOSÉ MARÍA) (1860-)
HEREDIA (JOSÉ MARÍA) (1803-1839)
En el teocalli de Cholula
"PLÁCIDO" (GABRIEL DE LA CONCEPCIÓN VALDÉS) (1809-1844) Plegaria á Dios
AVELLANEDA (GERTRUDIS GÓMEZ DE) (1814-1873)
OLMEDO (JOSÉ JOAQUÍN) (1780-1847)
La victoria de Junín
PESADO (JOSÉ JOAQUÍN DE) (1801-1861)
CALDERÓN (FERNANDO) (1809-1845)
La rosa marchita
ACUÑA (MANUEL) (1849-1873)
Nocturno: Á Rosario
PEZA (JUAN DE DIOS) (1852-1910)
Fusiles y muñecas
DARÍO (RUBÉN) (1864-)
BELLO (ANDRÉS) (1781-1865)
Á la victoria de Bailén
La agricultura de la zona tórrida
PÉREZ BONALDE (JUAN ANTONIO) (1846-1892)
Vuelta á la patria
MARTÍN DE LA GUARDIA (HERACLIO) (1830-)
[Transcriber's note a: The vocabulary section has
not been submitted for transcription.}
SPANISH LYRIC POETRY TO 1800
It has been observed that epic poetry, which is collectiveand objective in its nature, always reaches its fulldevelopment in a nation sooner than lyric poetry, whichis individual and subjective. Such is certainly the casein Spain. Numerous popular epics of much merit existedthere in the Middle Ages.1 Of a popular lyric there arefew traces in the same period; and the Castilian lyric as anart-form reached its height in the sixteenth, and again inthe nineteenth, centuries. It is necessary always to bear inmind the distinction between the mysterious product calledpopular poetry, which is continually being created butseldom finds its way into the annals of literature, and artisticpoetry. The chronicler of the Spanish lyric is concernedwith the latter almost exclusively, though he willhave occasion to mention the former not infrequently asthe basis of some of the best artificial creations.
Footnote 1: (return) The popular epics were written in assonating lines of variable length.There were also numerous monkish narrative poems (mester de clereçia) in stanzas of four Alexandrine lines each, all riming (cuaderna vía).
If one were to enumerate ab origine the lyric productionsof the Iberian Peninsula he might begin with the vaguereferences of Strabo to the songs of its primitive inhabitants,xii and then pass on to Latin poets of Spanish birth, suchas Seneca, Lucan and Martial. The later Spaniards whowrote Christian poetry in Latin, as Juvencus and Prudentius,might then be considered. But in order not to embracemany diverse subjects foreign to the contents of this collection,we must confine our inquiry to lyric production in thelanguage of Castile, which became the dominating tongueof the Kingdom of Spain.
Such a restriction excludes, of course, the Arabic lyric, ahighly artificial poetry produced abundantly by the Moorsduring their occupation of the south of Spain; it excludesalso the philosophical and religious poetry of the SpanishJews, by no means despicable in thought or form. Catalanpoetry, once written in the Provençal manner and of latehappily revived, also lies outside our field.
Even the Galician poetry, which flourished so freelyunder the external stimulus of the Provençal troubadours,can be included only with regard to its influence uponCastilian. The Galician dialect, spoken in the northwestcorner of the Peninsula, developed earlier than the Castilianof the central region, and it was adopted by poets in otherparts for lyric verse. Alfonso X of Castile (reigned 1252-1284)could write prose in Castilian, but he must needsemploy Galician for his Cantigas de Santa María. ThePortuguese nobles, with King Diniz (reigned 1279-1325) attheir head, filled the idle hours of their bloody and passionatelives by composing strangely abstract, conventional poemsof love and religion in the manner of the Provençal canso,dansa, balada and pastorela, which had had such a luxuriantgrowth in Southern France in the eleventh and twelfthcenturies. A highly elaborated metrical system mainlyxiiidistinguishes these writers, but some of their work catchesa pleasing lilt which is supposed to represent the imitationof songs of the people. The popular element in the Galicianproductions is slight, but it was to bear importantfruit later, for its spirit is that of the serranas of Ruiz andSantillana, and of villancicos and eclogues in the sixteenthcentury.
It was probably in the neighborhood of 1350 that lyricsbegan to be written in Castilian by the cultured classes ofLeon and Castile, who had previously thought Galician theonly proper tongue for that use, but the influence of theGalician school persisted long after. The first real lyric inCastilian is its offspring. This is the anonymous Razónfeyta d'amor or Aventura amorosa (probably thirteenthcentury), a dainty story of the meeting of two lovers. Itis apparently an isolated example, ahead of its time, unless,as is the case with the Castilian epic, more poems are lostthan extant. The often quoted Cántica de la Virgen ofGonzalo de Berceo (first half of thirteenth century), withits popular refrain Eya velar, is an oasis in the long religiousepics of the amiable monk of S. Millán de la Cogolla. Onemust pass into the succeeding century to find the nextexamples of the true lyric. Juan RUIZ, the mischievousArchpriest of Hita (flourished ca.
1350), possessed a geniussufficiently keen and human to infuse a personal vigor intostale forms.
In his Libro de buen amor he incorporatedlyrics both sacred and profane, Loores de Santa María and Cánticas de serrana, plainly in the Galician manner and ofcomplex metrical structure. The serranas are particularlyfree and unconventional. The Chancellor Pero LÓPEZ DEAYALA (1332-1407), wise statesman, brilliant historian and xivtrenchant satirist, wrote religious songs in the same styleand still more intricate in versification. They are includedin the didactic poem usually called El rimado de palacio.
Poetry flourished in and about the courts of the monarchsof the Trastamara family; and what may be supposed arepresentative collection of the work done in the reigns ofHenry II (1369-1379), John I (1379-1388), Henry III(1388-1406) and the minority of John II (1406-1454), ispreserved for us in the Cancionero which Juan Alfonso deBaena compiled and presented to the last-named king.Two schools of versifiers are to be distinguished in it. Theolder men, such as Villasandino, Sánchez de Talavera,Macías, Jerena, Juan Rodríguez del Padrón and Baenahimself, continued the artificial Galician tradition, now runto seed. In others appears the imitation of Italian modelswhich was to supplant the ancient fashion. Francisco Imperial,a worshiper of Dante, and other Andalusians suchas Ruy Páez de Ribera, Pero González de Uceda and FerránManuel de Lando, strove to introduce Italian meters andideas. They first employed the Italian hendecasyllable,although it did not become acclimated till the days ofBoscán. They likewise cultivated the metro de arte mayor,which later became so prominent (see below, p. lxxv ff.).But the interest of the poets of the Cancionero de Baena ismainly historical. In spite of many an illuminating side-lighton manners, of political invective and an occasionalglint of imagination, the amorous platitudes and wire-drawnlove-contests of the Galician school, the stiff allegories of theItalianates leave us cold. It was a transition period andthe most talented were unable to master the undevelopedpoetic language.xv
The same may be said, in general, of the whole fifteenthcentury. Although the language became greatly clarifiedtoward 1500 it was not yet ready for masterly originalwork in verse. Invaded by a flood of Latinisms, springingfrom a novel and undigested humanism, encumbered stillwith archaic words and set phrases left over from the Galicians,it required purification at the hands of the real poetsand scholars of the sixteenth century. The poetry of thefifteenth is inferior to the best prose of the same epoch; itis not old enough to be quaint and not modern enough tomeet a present-day reader upon equal terms.
These remarks apply only to artistic poetry. Popularpoetry,—that which was exemplified in the Middle Ages bythe great epics of the Cid, the Infantes de Lara and otherheroes, and in songs whose existence can rather be inferredthan proved,—was never better. It produced the lyrico-epic romances (see Notes, p. 253), which, as far as one mayjudge from their diction and from contemporary testimony,received their final form at about this time, though in manycases of older origin. It produced charming little songswhich some of the later court poets admired sufficiently togloss. But the cultured writers, just admitted to the splendidcultivated garden of Latin literature, despised thesesimple wayside flowers and did not care to preserve themfor posterity.
The artistic poetry of the fifteenth century falls naturallyinto three classes, corresponding to three currents of influence;and all three frequently appear in the work of oneman, not blended, but distinct. One is the conventionallove-poem of the Galician school, seldom containing a freshor personal note. Another is the stilted allegory with xvierotic or historical content, for whose many sins Dante waschiefly responsible, though Petrarch, he of the Triunfi, andBoccaccio cannot escape some blame. Third is a vein ofhighly moral reflections upon the vanity of life and certaintyof death, sometimes running to political satire. Its rootsmay be found in the Book of Job, in Seneca and, nearerat hand, in the Proverbios morales of the Jew Sem Tob( ca. 1350), in the Rimado de Palacio of Ayala, and in afew poets of the Cancionero de Baena.
John II was a dilettante who left the government of thekingdom to his favorite, Álvaro de Luna.
He gained morefame in the world of letters than many better kings byfostering the study of literature and gathering about hima circle of "court poets" nearly all of noble birth. Onlytwo names among them all imperatively require mention.Iñigo LÓPEZ DE MENDOZA, MARQUIS
OF SANTILLANA (1398-1458)was the finest type of grand seigneur, protector ofletters, student, warrior, poet and politician. He wroteverse in all three of the manners just named, but he willcertainly be longest remembered for his serranillas, thefine flower of the Provençal-Galician tradition, in whichthe poet describes his meeting with a country lass. Santillanacombined the freshest local setting with perfection ofform and left nothing more to be desired in that genre.
Healso wrote the first sonnets in Castilian, but they are interestingonly as an experiment, and had no followers. Juande MENA (1411-1456) was purely a literary man, withoutother distinction of birth or accomplishment. His workis mainly after the Italian model. The Laberinto de fortuna,by which he is best known, is a dull allegory with much ofDante's apparatus. There are historical passages where xviithe poet's patriotism leads him to a certain rhetoricalheight, but his good intentions are weighed down by threemillstones: slavish imitation, the monotonous arte mayor stanza and the deadly earnestness of his temperament. Heenjoyed great renown and authority for many decades.
Two anonymous poems of about the same time deservemention. The Danza de la muerte, the Castilian representativeof a type which appeared all over Europe, shows deathsummoning mortals from all stations of life with ghastlyglee. The Coplas de Mingo Revulgo, promulgated duringthe reign of Henry IV (1454-1474), are a political satire indialogue form, and exhibit for the first time the peculiarpeasant dialect that later became a convention of the pastoraleclogues and also of the country scenes in the greatdrama.
The second half of the century continues the same tendencieswith a notable development in the fluidity of thelanguage and an increasing interest in popular poetry.Gómez Manrique (d. 1491?) was another warrior of a literaryturn whose best verses are of a severely moral nature.
Hisnephew JORGE MANRIQUE (1440-1478) wrote a single poemof the highest merit; his scanty other works are forgotten.The Coplas por la muerte de su padre, beautifully translatedby Longfellow, contain some laments for the writer's personalloss, but more general reflections upon the instabilityof worldly glory. It is not to be thought that this famouspoem is in any way original in idea; the theme had alreadybeen exploited to satiety, but Manrique gave it a superlativeperfection of form and a contemporary applicationwhich left no room for improvement.
There were numerous more or less successful love-poets xviiiof the conventional type writing in octosyllabics and theinevitable imitators of Dante with their unreadable allegoriesin arte mayor.
The repository for the short poemsof these writers is the Cancionero general of Hernando deCastillo (1511). It was reprinted many times throughoutthe sixteenth century. Among the writers represented init one should distinguish, however, Rodrigo de Cota.His dramatic Diálogo entre el amor y un viejo has real charm,and has saved his name from the oblivion to which most ofhis fellows have justly been consigned. The bishop AmbrosioMontesino ( Cancionero, 1508) was a fervent religiouspoet and the precursor of the mystics of fifty years later.
The political condition of Spain improved immenselyin the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (1479-1516) and thecountry entered upon a period of internal homogeneity andtranquility which might be expected to foster artistic production.Such was the case; but literature was not the firstof the arts to reach a highly refined state. The first halfof the sixteenth century is a period of humanistic study,and the poetical works coming from it were still tentative.JUAN DEL
ENCINA (1469-1533?) is important in the historyof the drama, for his églogas, representaciones and autos arepractically the first Spanish dramas not anonymous. As alyric poet Encina excels in the light pastoral; he was a musicianas well as a poet, and his bucolic villancicos and glosas instanzas of six-and eight-syllable lines are daintily writtenand express genuine love of nature.
The Portuguese GILVICENTE (1470-1540?) was a follower of Encina at first, buta much bigger man. Like most of his compatriots of thesixteenth century he wrote in both Portuguese and Castilian,though better in the former tongue. He was close to the xixpeople in his thinking and writing and some of the songscontained in his plays reproduce the truest popular savor.
The intimate connection between Spain and Italy duringthe period when the armies of the Emperor Charles V(Charles I of Spain: reigned 1516-1555) were overrunningthe latter country gave a new stimulus to the imitation ofItalian meters and poets which we have seen existed in apremature state since the reign of John II. The man whofirst achieved real success in the hendecasyllable, combinedin sonnets, octaves, terza rima and blank verse, was JuanBOSCÁN
ALMOGAVER (1490?-1542), a Catalan of wealthand culture. Boscán was handicapped by writing in atongue not native to him and by the constant holding offoreign models before his eyes, and he was not a man ofgenius; yet his verse kept to a loftier ideal than had appearedfor a long time and his effort to lift Castilian poetryfrom the slough of convention into which it had fallen wassuccessful. During the rest of the century the impulsegiven by Boscán divided Spanish lyrists into two opposinghosts, the Italianates and those who clung to the nativemeters (stanzas of short, chiefly octosyllabic, lines, for the arte mayor had sunk by its own weight).
The first and greatest of Boscán's disciples was his closefriend GARCILASO DE LA VEGA (1503-1536) who far surpassedhis master. He was a scion of a most noble family,a favorite of the emperor, and his adventurous career,passed mostly in Italy, ended in a soldier's death.
Hispoems, however ( églogas, canciones, sonnets, etc.), take usfrom real life into the sentimental world of the Arcadianpastoral. Shepherds discourse of their unrequited lovesand mourn amid surroundings of an idealized Nature.xx
The pure diction, the Vergilian flavor, the classic finish ofthese poems made them favorites in Spain from the first,and their author has always been regarded as a master.
With Garcilaso begins the golden age of Spanish poetryand of Spanish literature in general, which may be said toclose in 1681 with the death of Calderón. It was a periodof external greatness, of conquest both in Europe andbeyond the Atlantic, but it contained the germs of futuredecay. The strength of the nation was exhausted in futilewarfare, and virile thought was stifled by the Inquisition,supported by the monarchs. Hence the luxuriant literatureof the time runs in the channels farthest from underlyingsocial problems; philosophy and political satire areabsent, and the romantic drama, novel and lyric flourish.But in all external qualities the poetry written during thisperiod has never been equaled in Spain. Its polish, colorand choiceness of language have been the admiration andmodel of later Castilian poets.
The superficial nature of this literature is exhibited inthe controversy excited by the efforts of Boscán and Garcilasoto substitute Italian forms for the older Spanish ones.The discussion dealt with externals; with meters, not ideas.Both schools delighted in the airy nothings of the conventionallove lyric, and it matters little at this distance whetherthey were cast in lines of eleven or eight syllables.
The contest was warm at the time, however. Sá deMiranda (1495-1558), the chief exponent of the Italianschool in Portugal, wrote effectively also in Castilian.Gutierre de Cetina (1518?-
1572?) and Fernando de Acuña(1500?-1580?) are two others who supported the newmeasures.
One whose example had more influence is xxiDiego Hurtado de Mendoza (1503-1575), a famous diplomat,humanist and historian. He entertained his idle momentswith verse, writing cleverly in the old style butturning also toward the new. His sanction for the latterseems to have proved decisive.
Cristóbal de CASTILLEJO (1490-1556) was the chief defenderof the native Spanish forms. He employed themhimself in light verse with cleverness, clearness and finish,and also attacked the innovators with all the resources ofa caustic wit. In this patriotic task he was for a time aidedby an organist of the cathedral at Granada, GregorioSilvestre (1520-1569), of Portuguese birth.
Silvestre, however,who is noted for the delicacy of his poems in whateverstyle, was later attracted by the popularity of theItalian meters and adopted them.
This literary squabble ended in the most natural way,namely, in the co-existence of both manners in peace andharmony. Italian forms were definitively naturalized inSpain, where they have maintained their place ever since.Subsequent poets wrote in either style or both as they feltmoved, and no one reproached them. Such was the habitof Lope de Vega, Góngora, Quevedo and the other greatwriters of the seventeenth century.
A Sevillan Italianate was Fernando de HERRERA (1534?-1597),admirer and annotator of Garcilaso. Although anecclesiastic, his poetic genius was more virile than that ofhis soldier master. He wrote Petrarchian sonnets to hisplatonic lady; but his martial, patriotic spirit appears inhis canciones, especially in those on the battle of Lepantoand on the expedition of D. Sebastian of Portugal in Africa.In these stirring odes Herrera touches a sonorous, grandiloquent xxiichord which rouses the reader's enthusiasm andplaces the writer in the first rank of Spanish lyrists. He isnoteworthy also in that he made an attempt to create apoetic language by the rejection of vulgar words and thecoinage of new ones. Others, notably Juan de Mena, hadattempted it before, and Góngora afterward carried it tomuch greater lengths; but the idea never succeeded inCastilian to an extent nearly so great as it did in France,for example; and to-day the best poetical diction does notdiffer greatly from good conversational language.
Beside Herrera stands a totally different spirit, the Salamancanmonk Luis DE LEÓN (1527-1591). The deep religiousfeeling which is one strong trait of Spanish characterhas its representatives in Castilian literature from Berceodown, but León was the first to give it fine artistic expression.The mystic sensation of oneness with the divine, ofaspiration to heavenly joys, breathes in all his writings. Hewas also a devoted student of the classics, and his poems(for which he cared nothing and which were not publishedtill 1631) show Latin rather than Italian influence. Thereis nothing in literature more pure, more serene, more director more polished than La vida del campo, Noche serena andothers of his compositions.
The other great mystics cared less for literature, either asa study or an accomplishment. The poems of Saint Theresa(1515-1582) are few and mostly mediocre. San Juan de laCruz, the Ecstatic Doctor (1542-1591), wrote the mostexalted spiritual poems in the language; like all the mystics,he was strongly attracted by the Song of Songs whichwas paraphrased by Pedro Malón de Chaide (1530-1596?).It is curious to note that the stanza adopted in the great xxiiimystical lyrics is one invented by Garcilaso and used in hisamatory fifth Canción. It has the rime-scheme of theSpanish quintilla, but the lines are the Italian eleven-andseven-syllable (cf. pp. 9-12).
Religious poems in morepopular forms are found in the Romancero espiritual (1612)of José de Valdivielso, and in Lope de Vega's Rimassacras (1614) and Romancero espiritual (1622).
There were numerous secular disciples of Garcilaso atabout the same period. The names most deserving mentionare those of Francisco de la Torre (d. 1594?), Luis Barahonade Soto (1535?-
1595) and Francisco de Figueroa (1536?-1620),all of whom wrote creditably and sometimes withdistinction in the Italian forms. Luis de Camoens (1524?-1580),author of the great Portuguese epic Os Lusiadas,employed Castilian in many verses with happy result.
These figures lead to the threshold of the seventeenthcentury which opened with a tremendous literary outputin many lines. Cervantes was writing his various novels;the romance of roguery took on new life with Guzmán deAlfarache (1599); the drama, which had been developingrather slowly and spasmodically, burst suddenly into fullflower with Lope de Vega and his innumerable followers.The old meter of the romance was adopted as a favoriteform by all sorts and conditions of poets and was turnedfrom its primitive epic simplicity to the utmost variety ofsubjects, descriptive, lyric and satiric.
From out this flood of production—for every dramatistwas in a measure a lyric poet, and dramatists were legion—wecan select for consideration only the men most prominentas lyrists.
First in the impulse which he gave to literaturefor more than a century following stands Luis de ARGOTE Y xxivGÓNGORA (1561-1627), a Cordovan who chose to be knownby his mother's name. His life was mainly that of a disappointedplace-hunter. His abrupt change of literarymanner has made some say that there were in him twopoets, Góngora the Good and Góngora the Bad. He beganby writing odes in the manner of Herrera and romances and villancicos which are among the clearest and best. Theydid not bring their author fame, however, and he seemsdeliberately to have adopted the involved metaphoric styleto which Marini gave his name in Italy. Góngora is merelythe Spanish representative of the movement, which alsoproduced Euphuism in England and préciosité in France.But he surpassed all previous writers in the extreme towhich he carried the method, and his Soledades and Polifemo are simply unintelligible for the inversions and strainedmetaphors with which they are overloaded.
His influence was enormous. Gongorism, or culteranismo,as it was called at the time, swept the minor poets with it,and even those who fought the movement most vigorously,like Lope and Quevedo, were not wholly free from the contagion.The second generation of dramatists was stronglyaffected. Yet there are few lyric poets worth mentioningamong Góngora's disciples for the reason that such a pernicioussystem meant certain ruin to those who lacked themaster's talent. The most important names are the Countof Villamediana (1580-1622), a satirist whose sharp tonguecaused his assassination, and Paravicino y Arteaga (1580-1633),a court preacher.
Obviously, such an innovation could not pass withoutopposition from clear-sighted men. LOPE
DE VEGA (1562-1635)attacked it whenever opportunity offered, and his xxvverse seldom shows signs of corruption. It is impossibleto consider the master-dramatist at length here. He wroteover 300 sonnets, many excellent eclogues, epistles, and, inmore popular styles, glosses, letrillas, villancicos, romances,etc. Lope more than any other poet of his time kept hisear close to the people, and his light poems are full of thedelicious breath of the country.
The other principal opponent of Gongorism was FranciscoGÓMEZ DE QUEVEDO Y
VILLEGAS (1580-1645), whosewit and independence made him formidable. In 1631
hepublished the poems of Luis de León and Francisco de laTorre as a protest against the baleful mannerism in vogue.But he himself adopted a hardly less disagreeable style,called conceptism, which is supposed to have been inventedby Alonso de Ledesma (1552-1623). It consists in a strainedsearch for unusual thoughts which entails forced paradoxes,antitheses and epigrams.
This system, combined with localallusions, double meanings and current slang, in whichQuevedo delighted, makes his poems often extremely difficultof comprehension. His romances de jaques, written inthieves' jargon, are famous in Spain. Quevedo wrote toomuch and carelessly and tried to cover too many fields, butat his best his caustic wit and fearless vigor place him high.
There were not lacking poets who kept themselves freefrom taint of culteranismo, though they did not join in thefight against it. The brothers Argensola (LUPERCIO LEONARDODE
ARGENSOLA, 1559-1613, BARTOLOMÉ LEONARDODE ARGENSOLA, 1562-1631), of
Aragonese birth, turned toHorace and other classics as well as to Italy for their inspiration.Their pure and dignified sonnets, odes andtranslations rank high. Juan MARTÍNEZ DE JÁUREGUI xxvi(1583-1641) wrote a few original poems, but is knownmainly for his excellent translation of Tasso's Aminta. Hetoo succumbed to Gongorism at times. The few poems ofFrancisco de RIOJA (1586?-1659) are famous for the purityof their style and their tender melancholy tone. A littleapart is Esteban Manuel de VILLEGAS (1589-1669), anadmirer of the Argensolas, "en versos cortos divino, insufribleen los mayores," who is known for his attemptsin Latin meters and his successful imitations of Anacreonand Catullus.
The lyrics of CALDERÓN (1600-1681) are to be foundmostly in his comedias and autos. There are passageswhich display great gifts in the realm of pure poetry, buttoo often they are marred by the impertinent metaphorscharacteristic of culteranismo.
His name closes the most brilliant era of Spanish letters.The decline of literature followed close upon that of thepolitical power of Spain. The splendid empire of Charles Vhad sunk, from causes inherent in the policies of that over-ambitiousmonarch, through the somber bigotry of Philip II,the ineptitude of Philip III, the frivolity of Philip IV, to theimbecility of Charles II; and the death of the last of theHapsburg rulers in 1700 left Spain in a deplorably enfeebledcondition physically and intellectually. The War of theSuccession (1701-1714) exhausted her internal strength stillmore, and the final acknowledgment of Philip V (reigned1701-1746) brought hardly any blessing but that of peace.Under these circumstances poetry could not thrive; and intruth the eighteenth century in Spain is an age devotedmore to the discussion of the principles of literature thanto the production of it. At first the decadent remnants of xxviithe siglo de oro still survived, but later the French taste,following the principles formulated by Boileau, prevailedalmost entirely. The history of Spanish poetry in theeighteenth century is a history of the struggle betweenthese two forces and ends in the triumph of the latter.
The effects of Gongorism lasted long in Spain, which,with its innate propensity to bombast, was more fertile soilfor it than other nations. Innumerable poetasters of theearly eighteenth century enjoyed fame in their day andsome possessed talent; but the obscure and trivial style ofthe age from which they could not free themselves deprivedthem of any chance of enduring fame. One may mention,as the least unworthy, Gabriel Álvarez de Toledo (1662-1714)and Eugenio Gerardo Lobo (1679-1750).
Some one has said that the poetry of Spain, with theexception of the romances and the drama of the siglo de oro,has always drawn its inspiration from some other country.Add to the exceptions the medieval epic and the statementwould be close to the truth. First Provence through themedium of Galicia; then Italy and with it ancient Rome;and lastly France and England, on more than one occasion,have molded Spanish poetry. The power of the Frenchclassical literature, soon dominant in Europe, could notlong be stayed by the Pyrenees; and Pope, Thomson andYoung were also much admired. Philip V, a Frenchman,did not endeavor to crush the native spirit in his new home,but his influence could not but be felt. He established aSpanish Academy on the model of the French in 1714.
It was some time before the reaction, based on commonsense and confined to the intellectuals, could take deep root,and, as was natural, it went too far and condemned much of xxviiithe siglo de oro entire. The Diario de los literatos, a journalof criticism founded in 1737, and the Poética of Ignacio deLuzán, published in the same year, struck the first powerfulblows. Luzán (1702-1754) followed in general the preceptsof Boileau, though he was able to praise some of thegood points in the Spanish tradition. His own poems arefrigid. The Sátira contra los malos escritores de su tiempo(1742) of Jorge Pitillas (pseudonym of José Gerardo deHervás, d. 1742) was an imitation of Boileau which hadgreat effect. Blas Antonio Nasarre (1689-1751), AgustínMontiano (1697-1765) and Luis José Velázquez (1722-1772)were critics who, unable to compose meritoriousplays or verse themselves, cut to pieces the great figuresof the preceding age.
Needless to say, the Gallicizers were vigorously opposed,but so poor were the original productions of the defendersof the national manner that their side was necessarily thelosing one.
Vicente García de la Huerta (1734-1787) wasits most vehement partisan, but he is remembered only fora tragedy, Raquel.
Thus it is seen that during a century of social and industrialdepression Spain did not produce a poet worthy of thename. The condition of the nation was sensibly betteredunder Charles III (reigned 1759-1788) who did what waspossible to reorganize the state and curb the stifling dominationof the Roman Church and its agents the Jesuits andthe Inquisition. The Benedictine Feijóo (1675-1764) laboredfaithfully to inoculate Spain, far behind the rest ofEurope, with an inkling of recent scientific discoveries.And the budding prosperity, however deceitful it proved,was reflected in a more promising literary generation.xxix
Nicolás FERNÁNDEZ DE MORATÍN (1737-1780) followedthe French rules in theory and wrote a few mediocre playsin accordance with them; but he showed that at heart hewas a good poet and a good Spaniard by his ode Á PedroRomero, torero insigne, some romances and his famous quintillas,the Fiesta de toros en Madrid. Other followers of theFrench, in a genre not, strictly speaking, lyric at all, werethe two fabulists, Samaniego and Iriarte. F. María deSAMANIEGO (1745-1801) gave to the traditional stock ofapologues, as developed by Phaedrus, Lokmân and La Fontaine,a permanent and popular Castilian form. Tomás deIRIARTE
(1750-1791), a more irritable personage who spentmuch time in literary polemics, wrote original fables ( Fábulasliterarias, 1781) directed not against the foibles of mankindin general, but against the world of writers and scholars.
The best work which was done under the classical Frenchinfluence, however, is to be found in the writers of the so-calledSalamancan school, which was properly not a schoolat all. The poets who are thus classed together, Cadalso,Diego González, Jovellanos, Forner, Meléndez Valdés, Cienfuegos,Iglesias, were personal friends thrown together inthe university or town of Salamanca, but they were notsubjected to a uniform literary training and possessed nosimilarity of style or aim as did the men of the later Sevillanschool.
José de CADALSO (1741-1782), a dashing soldier of greatpersonal charm killed at the siege of Gibraltar, is sometimescredited with founding the school of Salamanca. Hewas a friend of most of the important writers of his timeand composed interesting prose satires; his verse ( Nocheslúgubres, etc.) is not remarkable. FRAY DIEGO GONZÁLEZ xxx(1733-1794) is one of the masters of idiomatic Castilian inthe century. He admired Luis de León and imitated himin paraphrases of the Psalms. The volume of his verse issmall but unsurpassed in surety of taste and evenness offinish. The Murciélago alevoso has passed into many editionsand become a favorite in Spain. The pure and commandingfigure of JOVELLANOS (1744-1811) dominated thewhole group which listened to his advice with respect. Itwas not always sure, for he led Diego González and MeléndezValdés astray by persuading them to attempt philosophicalpoetry instead of the lighter sort for which they were fitted.He was in fact a greater man than poet, but his satires and Epístola al duque de Veragua are strong and dignified.
Juan MELÉNDEZ VALDÉS (1754-1817) was on the contrarya greater poet than man. Brilliant from the first, hewas petted by Cadalso and Jovellanos who strove to develophis talent. In 1780
he won a prize offered by theAcademy for an eclogue. In 1784 his comedy Las bodas deCamacho, on a subject suggested by Jovellanos (from anepisode in Don Quijote, II, 19-21), won a prize offered bythe city of Madrid, but failed on the stage. His first volumeof poems was published in 1785; later editions appeared in1797 and 1820. He attached himself to the French partyat the time of the invasion in 1808, incurred great popularodium and died in France. He is the most fluent, imaginativepoet of the eighteenth century and is especially successfulin the pastoral and anacreontic styles. Fresh descriptionsof nature, enchanting pictures of love, form an oasis in an ageof studied reasonableness. His language has been criticizedfor its Gallicisms. José IGLESIAS DE LA CASA (1748-1791),a native of Salamanca and a priest, wrote much light satirical xxxiverse, epigrams, parodies and letrillas in racy Castilian;he was less successful in the graver forms. Nicasio ÁLVAREZDE CIENFUEGOS (1764-1809) passes as a disciple of Meléndez;he was a passionate, uneven writer whose undisciplinedthought and habit of coining words lead to obscurity.Politically he opposed the French with unyielding vigor,barely escaped execution at their hands and died in exile.The verse of Cienfuegos prepared the way for Quintana.Differing from him in clarity and polish are Fr. SánchezBarbero (1764-1819) and Leandro F. de Moratín, thedramatist (1760-1828).
One curious result of rationalistic doctrines was the"prosaism" into which it led many minor versifiers. Thesepoetasters, afraid of overstepping the limits of good sense,tabooed all imagination and described in deliberately prosylines the most commonplace events. The movementreached its height at the beginning of the reign of Charles IV(1788-1808) and produced such efforts as a poem to thegout, a nature-poem depicting barn-yard sounds, and evenIriarte's La música (1780), in which one may read in carefullyconstructed silvas the definition of diatonic and chromaticscales.
SPANISH LYRIC POETRY OF THE NINETEENTH
Early in the nineteenth century the armies of Napoleoninvaded Spain. There ensued a fierce struggle for themastery of the Peninsula, in which the latent strength andenergy of the Spaniards became once more evident. The xxxiiFrench devastated parts of the country, but they broughtwith them many new ideas which, together with the sharpnessof the conflict, served to awaken the Spanish peoplefrom their torpor and to give them a new realization ofnational consciousness.
During this period of stress andstrife two poets, Quintana and Gallego, urged on and encouragedtheir fellow countrymen with patriotic songs.
Manuel José QUINTANA (1772-1857) had preëminentlythe "gift of martial music," and great was the influence ofhis odes Al armamento de las provincias contra los franceses and Á España después de la revolución de marzo. He alsostrengthened the patriotism of his people by his prose Vidasde españoles célebres (begun in 1806): the Cid, the GreatCaptain (Gonzalo de Córdoba), Pizarro and others of theirkind. In part a follower of the French philosophers of theeighteenth century, Quintana sang also of humanity andprogress, as in his ode on the invention of printing.
Inpolitics Quintana was a liberal; in religious beliefs, a materialist.Campoamor has said of Quintana that he sangnot of faith or pleasures, but of duties. His enemies haveaccused him of stirring the colonies to revolt by his bittersarcasm directed at past and contemporaneous Spanishrulers, but this is doubtless an exaggeration. It may besaid that except in his best patriotic poems his verses lacklyric merit and his ideas are wanting in insight and depth;but his sincerity of purpose was in the main beyond questionand he occasionally gave expression to striking boldness ofthought and exaltation of feeling. In technique Quintanawas a follower of the Salamancan school.
The cleric Juan Nicasio GALLEGO (1777-1853) rivaledQuintana as a writer of patriotic verses.