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that' there seems to be no ground for depriving Lope of compositions which his contemporaries, as well as subsequent writers, have all concurred in attributing to him.'
The pieces which Lope de Vega published under this nom de guerre consist of nearly two hundred sonnets, a mock heroic called La Ga'tomaquia, and a few miscellaneous poems. The sonnets are chiefly satirical, and the satire is mostly directed against what is called the rulto, or ornate style, which Gongora had at this time rendered fashionable; sometimes however it is more general. The following specimens will show the character of Lope's raillery;— it is very far from exaggerating the folly which it, ridicules. The first is entitled an eclogue, neither in imitation of Theocritus, Pomponius, Nemesiauus, Bocaccio, nor Calphurnius.
Beneath a rugged rock on whose bald side
The scorching summer let no herbage grow,
Albeit against the sun its lofty pride
Served as a helmet to the vale below,
Sate Damon with his flask and his rebec,
(The flask that he might better bear his part)
And there, his rival in the tuneful art,
Sate Thirsis, with his cedar violin.
Eliso was the judge, whose hand should deck
With poplar wreath the conqueror's honoured brow.
Attentive Zephyr stole the Echoes now,
And up stood Thirsis ready to begin.
Melampus bark'd; the wolf! Antander cried—
And till another day the song was laid aside.*
The second is more immediately aimed at Gongora's exaggerating and unexaggerable style.
To a Comb, the poet not knowing whether it was of box or of ivory.
* ' Egloga sin imitacion de Theocrito, Ponptmio, Nemessiano, Bocacio ni Calphurnio. Al pie del jaspe da an feroz penasco, Con un violin de cedro de Daniasco;
Pelado por la fuerza del estio, Juez Eliso, que de un verde poho
Dosel de un verde campo, tan sombrio A falta de laurel premio texia,
Damon con su rabel, y al lado el frasco, Mas quando Tirsi comenzar queria,
V Tirsi, claro honor de nuestro rio, Y el canto «e qued6 para otro dia.
Gently the windings of those curls unfold,
The third ridicules those description* which are sometimes introduced when neither the poet nor the reader can tell why or wherefore.
Down to a valley from the mountain's height
Precipitate the melted ices flow,
There, between shores where fragile fern-tufts grow,
And elms and woodland vines, a sylvan sight,
The chrystal waters sleep; the nymphs delight
Disporting there to bathe their breasts of snow ;—
Sweet ships of love, who plough a narrower main
Than- the tall barks that leave the shores of Spain.
A valley, like a vassal, lies below,
Which to supply with sap the floral brood,
Draws from its icy breast at every vein,
Insatiate still, the hoary mountain's blood:
And on this mount, and by this lake so fair,
There happened to me—nothing, I declare.f Of all Lope's works, Lord Holland tells us his burlesque pieces are those which are most generally admired by his countrymen. The Gatomaquia, he adds, is esteemed the best, and often cited as a model of versification. In this point indeed the author is never deficient: but in structure this mock heroic is as faulty as his epic attempts, and we do not recollect any poem of the kind of which the conception is so silly. It is a war between two cats for love of a third: one of them rides in full dress upon a monkey to visit her, and each raises an army to fight for her.
For an account of the Corona Trágica we mtist refer the reader to the work before us, where he will find a masterly translation of one of the best passages in Lope de Vega's writings. Our limits will only permit us to notice, and that briefly, one other of his
* ' A uli peyne que no sabia el Poeta si era de box, o de marfil. Súlca del mar de Amor las rubias ondas, Para que a tanta dicha correspondas. Barco de Barcelona, y por los bellos Desenvoelve los rizos con decoro
Lazos navega altivo aunque por ellos Los paralelos de mi sol desata,
Tal vez te muestras, y tal vez te escondas. Box, o colmillo de elefante Moro,
Taxe de sus esplendidos cabellos; Forma por la madexa sendas de oro
Tu con los dientes no le quites dellos, Antes que el tiempo los convert* en plata.
t Describe un monte, sin que, ni para que. Caen de un monte k un valle entre pizarras Que las que salen de Españolas barras. Guarnecidas de fragiles elechos Tiene este monte por vasallo á un prado,
A su margen carambanos deshechos Que para tantas flores le importuna
Que cercan olmos y silvestres parras; Sangre las venas de su pecho elado.
Nadan en su cristal Ninfas bizarras Y en este monte y liquida laguna.
Compitiendo con el candidos pechos, Para decir verdad, como hombre honrado,
Dulces naves de amor, en mas estrechos Jamas me sucedió cesa ninguna.
longer compositions, the Dorothea. This is not a pastoral, as it might be supposed to be from the manner in which Lord Holland mentions it;—it is what the author calls an Accion en prosa, a story told in dialogue, having nothing of the regularity even of a Spanish drama, and far exceeding all dramatic bounds in length: there exist several specimens of such works both in Spanish and Portugueze. In the Eclogue to Claudio, Lope calls this his last and his favourite work:
'Postuma de mis Musas, Dorotea,
Y por dicha, de mi la man querida,
Ultima de mi vida.'— Fernando, the hero of the piece, is a young poet richer in genius than in fortune, very much in love with Dorothea, who is equally in love with him, though it appears, much to the surprize of the reader, in the course of the story, that she has a husband living abroad. Fernando is at the same time the favourite of a rich and handsome widow named Marfisa; he draws upon her bounty; and a hypocritical procuress contrives to introduce Don Bela, a wealthy Creole, to Dorothea, and by dint of costly presents to obtain for him a gracious reception. Both parties have their fits of jealousy, with apparent reason on both sides. Fernando leaves Madrid, and returns to it. A friend who had studied astrology casts his nativity; the horoscope is to this purport, that Dorothea and her mother will persecute him till he is banished from the realm; a little before this banishment he will marry, much to the displeasure of his relations, and lose his wife to his own excessive grief seven years afterwards. He will then return to Madrid, where Dorothea, being then a widow, will wish to marry him, but the sense of honour and resentment on his part will resist all the temptation of her caresses and her wealth. He will afterwards be very unfortunate in love, but by the help of prayer will come out of these troubles well, and enter into a different state of life. Marfisa is to marry twice, and be murdered by her last husband for jealousy. The story disposes of two other personages more speedily. Don Bela is killed in a chance quarrel, and the old procuress falls into a well and is drowned. 'This was the end of Don Bela, Marfisa, and Gerarda. What remains are the troubles of Don Fernando. The poet could not fail in truth, for the story is true.—Look to the example, for which end it hath been written.' In these words Fame addresses the imaginary spectators at the end. Such is the story of the Dorothea, which has neither plan, interest, nor catastrophe; and -why it should have been the author's favourite is incomprehensible, unless in the person of Fernando he has related some of the adventures of his own early life. Many pieces of poetry are inserted with little artifice in the Dorothea, rothea, indeed some of his most admired minor poems are to be found in this work and in the Arcadia. But the characteristic merits and faults of this remarkable writer are no where more strikingly exemplified than in his liimas Sacras, where he has written sometimes with the utmost extravagance of fancy and perversion of taste; at other times, with a strength of religious feeling which commands from the reader something more than approbation. By the dedication of this volume to Frey Martin de San Cirilo, it appears that this Carmelite was the person who effected his conversion from the world: he offers it to him as the fruits of that field which his paternity had cultivated. Among the extraordinary compositions in this collection is a sonnet to St. Sebastian, in which God and man are described shooting at him as at a mark, and he dies by the arrows of divine love before those of human cruelty can reach him. There is a sermon of the Archbishop of Toledo's, versified in trinal rhyme by the poet in the course of the day in which he heard it delivered. There is a Villanesca (which may perhaps in this place be best translated a Carrol) al Santissimo Sacramento; it begins by addressing the wafer as a knight in masquerade, and ends in a sort of epigram, which it is more fitting to transcribe than to translate.
Mas siendo verdad que un dia
Verbum caro factum est,
Quien dio su palabra en carne
No es mucho que en Pan se de. There is a song to St. Francisco, a personage whose history, gloss it as the Romanists may, is one of the most audacious instances of Romish impiety and imposture. A young merchant, says Lope, wishes to be married; two beautiful damsels are proposed to him; Humility is the one, Poverty the other: he marries them both; the articles being made for him by Chastity. Christ comes to give them away, and pledges his five wounds for their dowry; the writings are made by God himself upon his hands and his feet and his side.
A la boda, a la boda,
Que se casa Francisco ,
All ye Virtues so fair,
soul !* And there is a sonnet upon a relic of St. Lorenzo, recently, as it appears, acquired by the crown of Spain, which may vie with any specimen of this peculiar class of poems. It calls upon the angels to spread a clean table for Christ that he may eat of the victim, the smoke of which is ascending in an aromatic cloud. 'It takes a rose colour upon the gridiron; Love has seasoned it; broil it quickly; turn it on the other side that it may be done; and when the table is ready, O ye angels, say that the meat must be eaten with all speed, because the most Christian king is waiting for a bone'!
Yet in this same volume there are strains of sober piety and elevated devotion, in which a true Christian might devoutly join, and bless the man who has expressed for him so well the aspirations of hope and faith. Such, for instance, are these lines in the Introduction.
Even as a culprit strives to reach
Some Noble's house for privilege,
So from thy wrath to hide my head,
My God, within thy gates I fled:
I knew thy mercy, Lord, how great:
Father, thy love how infinite!
When from thy justice I would flee,
The surest refuge was with thee.f
Such too is the following Sonnet, though it falls feebly at the elose.
My mother bore me mortal; the free sky
• Entonces con fuego ardiente En el cuerpo a Christu muerto,
El Serafin encendido, Y en el alma a Christo vivo.
Haziendose todo un sello, Tal suele obediente cera
Con ser su ser infinito, Mostrar el blasou antiguo
Imprimiole como estampa Sobre la nema a su duefio
Viendole papel tan lnupio, Eu un instante esculpido. How little is the mythology of this abominable Church at this time known in England; and how Utile, in consequence of this ignorance, is its real character understood!
t Qual delinquante que passa Luego en esto bien senti
Por casa de grande fuy, De essa tu bondad inmeusa,
Audava huyeudo de ti Porque no ay mayor defeiisa
Y entreme en tu misma casa, Que contigo, para ti.