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praise bestowed on it, appears not to have been usual at that time, sent them home under the care of a constable.
After this we find Lope de Vega mentioned as an orphan, without any friend to whom he might look for support, or any means of supporting himself. He obtained, however, the patronage of the inquisitor general D. Geronymo Manrique, bishop of Seville, and composed sundry eclogues to his honour ;--under this patronage probably it was that he was enabled to study philosophy, such as was taught at Alcala, and to graduate at that university. The Duke of Alva then took him into his service, as secretary:-whether this was the old duke or his successor, is said by Nicolao Antonio to be uncertain ; it was most probably the former, for the duke's death did not take place till the year 1583, and as Lope remained only four years at Alcala, he must have quitted it two or three years before that event. His Arcadia is said to have been written at the desire of this patron, and hence also an argument may be drawn that it was the father and not the son, in whose service he was engaged, for the work which was then written appears not to have been licensed and published till 1598, the death of the patron being the apparent cause of this delay. Alva's name is written for everlasting infamy in the history of the Low Countries : he was one whose stern and inexorable nature made him capable of cruelties to which he was instigated by a mistaken sense of duty, and an implicit faith in an abominable superstition. Thus it is that while in other parts of Europe he is named always as a monster of faithlessness and inhumanity, in his own country he is remembered only for his great qualities, his signal services, and his redeeming virtues.* Lope de Vega regarded him with unfeigned admiration, and speaks of him accordingly in terms of the highest eulogium, where there is no
Lope de Vega places his panegyric in the mouth of the magician Dardanio, one of . the personages in the Arcadia. The magician is exhibiting certain statues in his cavern, and relating prophetically whom they represent. “This last,' he says, ' whose grey head is adorned by the ever verdant leaves of the ungrateful Daphine, merited by so many victories, is the immortal soldier Don Fernando de Toledo, Duke of Alva, so justly wor. thy of that Fame which you behold lifting herself to Heaven from the plumes of the helmet, with the trunip of gold, through which for ever she will proclaim his exploits and spread his name from Spanislı Tagus to the African Mutazend, and from the Neapolitan Sabeto to the French Garonne. This will be Pompilius in religion, Radamanthus in severity, Belisarius in his guerdon, Anaxagoras in constancy, Epaminondas in magnanimity, Themistocles in the love of his country, Periander in wedlock, Pomponius in veracity, Alexander Severus in justice, Attilius (Regulus) in fidelity, Cato in modesty, and finally Timotheus in the felicity which attended all his wars.'-This is a good specimen of the style in which the Arcadia is written. The inscription under the statue iš curious,-its play upon words renders it untranslatable. De tal Sol nacio mi llama
Sin ver jamas rostro al miedo Y de tul Alva sali,
Hize con mi esfuerzo solo Y a mi Rey tam bien servi
Sonar con Austria si Polo, Que fuc la embidia mi fama,
Y los dos con mi Toledo.
reason to doubt the sincerity of his praise. At this time, and perhaps enabled by this patronage, he married Doña Isabel Diaz de Urbina, a woman of quality. Their domestic happiness was soon interrupted ;-roused by certain sarcasms against his writings, Lope revenged himself upon his critic by a stinging satire. No men have ever shown themselves sorer under such castigation than those who have in a similar manner deserved it;—the critic challenged the satirist, and found him as much master of the sword as he was of the pen; lie was left dangerously wounded, and Lope in consequence was fain to fly from Madrid. Valencia was the place of his retreat; there he was compelled to remain some years separated from his wife, and when after so painful a separation and so anxious a state of long protracted hope he liad at last rejoined her at Madrid, she died in the course of a few months.
The death of this lady was celebrated in an eclogue remarkable as being the joint composition of Pedro de Medina Medinilla and Lope himself, each speaking in bis ownı character, though under an assumed name—one as the widowed husband, the other as his sympathizing friend. To complete the singularity of such a composition, it is a close imitation of other Spanish poets, and in many parts a cento of expressions and whole lines. adapted from their works. Strange and artificial as this mode of composing must appear upon such a subject, the poem nevertheless is written with a power and passion which atoné not only for this but for its hyperbolical language, its violent metaphors, and its pastoral form.
• If,' says the noble biographer, there be any truth in the supposition that poets have a greater portion of sensibility in their frames ihan other men, it is fortunate that they are furnished by the nature of their occupations with the means of withdrawing themselves from its effects. The act of composition, especially of verse, abstracts the mind most powerfully from external objects. The poet therefore has always a refuge within reach ; by inventing fictitious distresses, he may be blunting the poignancy of real grief; while he is raising the ailections of his readers, he may be allaying the violence of his own, and thus find an emblem of his own susceptibility of impression in that poetical spear which is represented as curing with one end the wounds it had inflicted with the other. Whether this fanciful theory be true or not, it is certain that poets have continued their pursuits with ardour under the pressure of calamity.'
Such are Lord Holland's remarks upon this part of Lope de Vega's history; and it is indeed certain that minds are elastic in proportion as they are active; and that the more buoyant the spirit the better is it able to bear the buffetings which it must meet with upon this rude sea of life. But when he proceeds to instance Ovid as an illustration of this theory, because banishment riveted him
to the habits of composition, and taught him to seek for consolation where he had hitherto only found amusement,' his choice is not fortunate; the case is rather that of a feeble mind vainly indulging and thereby prolonging its sorrows, than of a strong one which struggles against them and surmounts them. Had Ovid employed the years of his exile in studying and faithfully describing the manners of the people among whom he was cast, he would have been far more happily as well as more usefully employed, than in pouring forth his querulous regret. One treatise upon this important subject, though it had not been longer than that of Tacitus concerning the Germans, would have been worth whole volumes of Tristia.
Lope de Vega's was a manlier spirit. Lord Holland, following the Spanish biographer, represents him as flying from his sorrows, seeking for a situation in which external objects might, as far as possible, distract him from himself, and for this purpose entering as a volunteer in the Armada. It is remarkable that his lordship, who refers almost immediately afterwards to the Egloga a Claudio, should not have perceived that Lope gives a very different account of his own motives. There it appears that he became a soldier, not in consequence of grief for the loss of his wife, but because of the rigour of his mistress : Phillis had banished him; for this reason he wished to change climate and element; and marching to Lisbon with a musket on his shoulder, he tore up for cartridges the verses which he had written in her praise.*
The success of the Armada against England was expected with the most exultant anticipation by the Spaniards. Of the many instances which might be given of this confident hope, two may *suffice. The first is from an Ode by Luis de Gongora.
Raise thy renowned hand,
Such that the lands of languid power,
* Joven me viste, y visteme soldado,
Y las riberas de la gran Bretaña
Aili de Filis desterrado intento
De cielo y de elemento,
At the strong radiance of their beamy arms,
With looks averted, in alarms,
Before the luminous and golden fire
With restless woods hast thou
Collected in their numbers now
Of heaven, to fill their sails.
And rich with ruins of the fray
Waft their wreck'd navies o’er,
Illustrating thy ports and trophied shore.* The other instance is in a child's poem, or more properly a poem written in the character of a child; a species of playful composition which was at that time popular among the Spaniards. A little girl is speaking to her play-fellow, and she tells him
* A la Armada que el Rey Felipe Segundo, nuestro Señor, embio contra Inglaterra. Levanta España tu famosa Diestra El Seno undoso al humido Neptuno, Desde el Frances Pirene, al Moro Atlante, De Selvas inquietas has poblado, Y al ronco son de Trompas belicosas, Y quantos en tus Reynos uno à uno Haz embuelta en durissimo Diamante Empuñan Lanza contra la Bretaña, De tus valientes hijos feroz muestra, Sin perdonar al tiempo, has embiado Debaxo de tus Señas Vitoriosas,
En numero de todo tan sobrado, Tal, que las flacanente poderosas
Que a tanto leño el humido Elemento, Tierras, Naciones contra su Fè armadas, Y a tanta Vela es poco todo el Viento. Al claro resplandor de sus Espadas, Fia que en Sangre del Ingles Pirata Y à la de tus Arneses fiera lunabre,
Teñira de Escarlata Con mortal pesadumbre
Su Color verde y cano,
El rico de ruinas Oceano,
Ilustrarà tus Playas y tus Puertos
De Vanderas rompidas, De los Yelmos gravados,
De Naves destrozadas, de Hombres muerQueden cono de Fè, de Vista ciegos. Tu, que con Zelo pio, y noble Saña,
Obras de Gongora, p. 180. Brussels, 1659.
My brother Don John
And the queen to take,
And he will give me,
To be her slave.* These were not the only poems of that age in which the authors ventured upon prophecy with more boldness than discretion. A remarkable example is found among the works of the Portugueze poet Diogo Bernardes. In a sonnet addressed to the standard which Sebastian had raised for his expedition to Africa, and which bore the crucifix, he affirmed that under such a standard and such a king Africa must be subdued, even though her own Antæus or her Hannibal should arise from the dead for her defence. Bernardes accompanied the expedition for which he presaged so glorious a termination. The poem which he probably wrote next, and which, in the collection of his works, stands next to this memorable sonnet, is an Elegy written in captivity among the Moors; in these elegiac stanzas he reproaches the lost Sebastian for his overweening confidence, and tells him that he must render account before the throne of God for all the effusion of blood and all the nisery which his rashness had occasioned. Lope de Vega addressed the Armada in hyperbolical, but not in prophetic language: he bade it go forth and burn the world; wind would not be wanting to the sails, nor fire to the artillery,—for his breast, he said, would supply the one and his sorrows the other, such was his ardour and such were bis sighs.
The Spaniards and Portugueze are fond of naming ships after their saints, and even after the mysteries of religion,-one of the many practices in which superstition leads to irreverence. Twelve of the largest vessels in the Armada were named after the twelve Apostles, and it was in the galleon St. John, where his brother held'a commission, that Lope embarked. In the same spirit which had thus misapplied the names of the Apostles, the word was given * Mi hermano Bartolo
Tiene de traerme
Con una cadena,
Y una Laterana
A Señora aguela.
A mi de la