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My brother Don John
To England is gone,
To kill the Drake,
And the queen to take.
And he will give me,
When he comes back,
A Lutheran boy
With a chain round his neck;
From his share shall have
A Lutheran maid
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 Antaeus 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 misery 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 his 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 traennc
Se va a Ingalaterra, A ml de la guerra,
A matar el Draque, Un Luteranico
Y a premier la Reyna, Con una cadena,
Y a los Lnteranos Y una Luterana
Romancero General. Medina del Campo, 1602, ff. 35.
out out for every day in the week: for Sunday it was the name of our Saviour, for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Holy Ghost, the holy Trinity and Santiago, and for the three remaining days, the Angels, All Saints, and Our Lady. These outward and visible signs of devotion were in character with an armament concerning which its commander had affirmed in General Orders that' first and before all things, it was to be understood by all persons embarked in it, that the principal foundation and cause which had moved the king to set forth this expedition was to serve God, and to return unto his church a great many contrite souls, who were then oppressed by the heretics, enemies to the holy Catholic faith.' For this reason it was commanded that all persons who came on board should first be duly shriven and receive the sacrament, with competent contrition for their sins; that no person should blaspheme or rage against God or our Lady, or any of the Saints, without suffering condign punishment for the offence; that no gambling should be allowed, and all quarrels, angers, defiances, and injuries, of whatever standing or character, be suspended between individuals so long as the expedition lasted. Lope de Vega entered fully into the spirit of these regulations, and regarded the expedition as a true Catholic and Apostolic crusade. He stood in need of such a feeling to console him for the accumulated miseries which he endured during its disastrous course. His brother died in his arms, whether from a wound, or from the fatigues and hardships to which be was exposed, is not stated. He himself was more fortunate, and perhaps considered the portion of his life which was spent in this voyage as not the least profitable part of it, every day having been one continued penance, which would be duly debited in the account of his goodworks. Camden has finely described the appearance of this formidable armament when the English first obtained sight of it: 'They discovered the Spanish fleet with lofty turrets like castles, in front like a half-moon, the wings thereof spreading out about the length of seven miles, sailing very slowly with full sails, the winds being as it were wearied with carrying them, and the ocean groaning under their weight.' It was not for a Spaniard, after the failure of the Invincible Armada, to dwell in like manner upon its imposing magnitude and force. Lope de Vega gives only an animated picture of its outset, and then says of himself, who would have thought that this chin, which had scarcely a hair upon it, should have been sometimes found in the morning so shagged with snow—that it might have been mistaken for a comet!
During the voyage, he tells us that he bade adieu to logic as well as love, suffering Aristotle to sleep, with matter and forms and causes and accidents. But he continued constant to poetry, and amid all the danger and confusion in which he lived, composed a
A 4 long long poem of twenty cantos, entitled, LaHermosura de Angelica— of this and of his other works it will be more convenient to speak after the sketch of his personal history is completed. Returning to Madrid, he obtained an appointment first as secretary to the Marques de Malpica, afterwards to the Conde de Lemos, and soon married for his second wife Dona Juana de Guardio, who was of noble family, and exceedingly beautiful. He speaks of this marriage as a happy one: yet among his sonnets there are two which may excite a suspicion that his heart was placed on another object. Let the reader judge for himself.
Seven long and tedious years did Jacob serve,
And short had been the term if it had found
Its end desired. To Leah he was bound,
And must by service of seven more deserve
His Rachel. Thus will strangers lightly swerve
From their pledged word. Yet Time might well repay
Hope's growing debt, and Patience might be crown'd,
And the slow season of expectance past
True Love with ample recompense at last
Requite the sorrows of this hard delay.
Alas for me, to whose unhappy doom
No such blest end appears! Ill fate is his
Who hopes for Rachel in the world to come,
And chain'd to Leah drags his life in this.*
When snows before the genial breath of spring
* Sirvio Jacob los siete largos alios,
Segunda Parte de las Rimasde t Quando la Madre antigua rcverdeze, Hello pastor y a quanto vive aplazc,
Y que tuvicron terininos sus daiios;
Lo que un engaho al sufrimicnto cuesta,
Y sin rcinedio que el agravio pida.
Y tiene a Lia para siempre en esta.
Lope de Vega. Barcelona, 1604. Soneto V.
Upon the first of these poems it may be observed that Leah and Rachel were, in that age, used almost as trivially for examples by poets as by theologians. Camoens, in particular, has a remarkable sonnet upon the subject, which is cited by Lorenzo Gracian as an instance of what he calls, una exagerada ponderacion. But Camoens took up the story as a subject for a serious epigram in form of a sonnet, which class of composition was then greatly in vogue among the Spanish poets. Lope de Vega, on the contrary, gives it a direct personal allusion to himself; and if he writes from his real feelings, as he certainly does in his own person, the inference to be deduced from the first of these poems, is, that he did not love the woman whom he had married, and from the second, that he had formed a miserable attachment to the wife of another man. This last inference will be much strengthened if there be any reason for supposing that he has shadowed out his own character in the Dorotea,—one of the most singular, and unless such a supposition be admitted, the most unaccountable of all his works.
If, however, he thus went astray, a good heart and good principles brought him back from these aberrations. His wife obtained the love which she deserved; and it is worthy of notice that when he tells us this, he alludes again to Leah and Jacob.
Who could have thought that I should find a wife When from that war 1 reached my native shore, Sweet for the love which ruled her life, Dear for the sorrows which she bore? Such love which could endure through cold and hot, Could only have been mine, or Jacob's lot.* By this lady he had two children, a son and daughter: the daughter, Feliciana de Vega, lived to inherit his property: Carlos, the son, died at eight years of age, and the mother did not long survive him. L°Pe did not upon this, as upon his former widowhood, express his feelings in pastoral lamentations: this was a deeper as well as a double grief; the one loss was irreparable, and he was no longer at an age when the other could easily be repaired. In Catholic countries the church provides a fitting station for all persons who would enter its service, whatever may be their circumstances of age or rank. It has offices in which the fanatic may be harmlessly, if not usefully
La jerva race, la nacida crece, De la cierta verdad, o la fingida;
Canta el silguero, el corder'Ulo pace, Si espera fin, ninguna pena es pena.
Tu pecho aquien su pena satisf'ace • Ay del que tiene per su rual consejo
Del general contento se enttistece. El remedio impossible de su vida
No es mucho mal la ausencia, que es espejo En la esperanza de la muerte agena.
Segunda Parte de las Ritnas de Lope de Vega. Barcelona, 1604. Soneto XI.
* Y quicu pudiera irnaginar que hallira Y por trabajos cara.
Bolviendo de la guerra dulce esposa? Que amor a tanto sol, a tanto frio,
Duke por amorosa O i'uera de Jacob, o fuera mio.
employed, employed, occupation for the enthasiast, and a place of rest for tli«s weary spirit and the broken heart. Men, therefore, engage in it oftentimes at mature age, and with uudistracted minds, seeking consolation under irremediable sorrows in the conscientious discharge of religious duties. Lope de Vega, when his domestic happiness was broken up, entered the church with enough of this feeling to render him an excellent and exemplary priest; but not with so much as to renounce his literary career, or even abate the ardouiwith which he pursued it. He was admitted into the congregation of priests, natives of Madrid; so eminent a man was considered as doing honour to the society which he had chosen, and he was very speedily elected the first chaplain, in compliment to his endowments, and in testimony of the exactness with which he discharged his priestly offices. Upon the publication of his Corona Tragica, a poem upon the death of Mary, queen of Scots, which he dedicated to Urban VIII., that pontiff wrote him a complimentaryletter, made him- Promotor Fiscal of the Reverend Apostolic Chamber, sent him the habit of St. John, and conferred upon him the degree of Doctorin Theology. His biographers have not stated in what year he took orders,—it was probably when he was about forty years of age; he lived to be seventy three,—but towards the close of his life, his mind as well as body seems to have given way; abandoning himself to the Manichean superstitions of the corrupted church of Rome, he refused to eat meat when his declining health rendered it necessary, because he thought it expedient for the health of the body to mortify the soul,—and he practised self-flagellation with such severity, that it is supposed to have hastened his death: after a cruel discipline of this kind, on Friday the 22d of August, 1633, he fell ill, and expired on the Monday following.
His death produced what in the phraseology of the present day is called, a great sensation,—it caused, says one of the Spanish biographers, an universal commotion in the court and in the whole kingdom. Many ministers, knights and prelates were present when he expired; among others the duke of Sesa, who had been the most munificent of his patrons, whom he appointed his executor, and who was at the expense of his funeral, a mode by which the great in that country were fond of displaying their regard for men of letters. It was a public funeral, and it was not performed till the third day after his death, that there might be time for rendering it more splendid, and securing a more honourable attendance. The grandees and nobles who were about the court were all invited as mourners; a novenary or service of nine days was performed for him, at which the musicians of the royal chapel assisted: after which there were exequies on three successive days, at which three bishops officiated in full pontificals, and on each day a funeral sermon