EL ESTUDIANTE DE SALAMANCA AND OTHER SELECTIONS
EDITED BY GEORGE TYLER NORTHUP, PH.D. PROFESSOR OF SPANISH LITERATURE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
The selections from Espronceda included in this volume have been edited for the benefit of advanced Spanish classes in schools and universities. The study of Espronceda, Spain's greatest Romantic poet, offers the best possible approach to the whole subject of Romanticism. He is Spain's "representative man" in that movement. Furthermore, the wealth of meters he uses is such that no other poet provides so good a text for an introduction to the study of Spanish versification. The editor has therefore treated the biography of Espronceda with some degree of completeness, studying his career as one fully representative of the historical and literary movements of the period. A treatment of the main principles of Spanish versification was also considered indispensable. It is assumed that the text will be used only in classes where the students are thoroughly familiar with the rudiments of Spanish grammar. Therefore only the more difficult points of grammar are dealt with in the notes, and little help, outside of the vocabulary, is given the student in the translating of difficult passages.
The editor makes no pretense to having established critical texts of the poems here printed, although he hopes that some improvement will be noted over previous editions. A critical edition of Espronceda's works has never been printed. Espronceda himself gave little attention to their publication. Hartzenbusch and others intervened as editors in some of the earliest editions. Their arbitrary changes have been repeated in all subsequent editions. The text of "El Estudiante de Salamanca" has been based upon the "Poesas de D. Jos de Espronceda," Madrid, 1840, the so-called editio princeps. This edition, however, cannot be regarded as wholly authoritative. It was not prepared for the press by the poet himself, but by his friend Jos Garca de Villalta. Though far more authentic in its readings than later editions, it abounds in inaccuracies. I have not followed its capricious punctuation, and have studied it constantly in connection with other editions, notably the edition of 1884 ("Obras Poticas y Escritos en Prosa," Madrid, 1884). To provide a really critical text some future editor must collate the 1840 text with that version of the poem which appeared in La Alhambra, an obscure Granada review, for the year 1839. "El Mendigo" and "El Canto del Cosaco" I also base upon the 1840 edition, although the former first appeared in La Revista Espaola, Sept. 6, 1834. I base the "Cancin del Pirata" upon the original version published in El Artista, Vol. I, 1835, p. 43. I take the "Soneto" from "El Liceo Artstico y Literario Espaol," 1838. For "A Teresa, Descansa en Paz," I follow the Madrid edition of 1884. The text of this, as for the whole of "El Diablo Mundo," is more reliable than that of the earlier poems.
I desire to thank Professors Rudolph Schevill, Karl Pietsch, and Milton A. Buchanan for helpful suggestions, and the latter more particularly for the loan of rare books. The vocabulary is almost entirely the work of my wife Emily Cox Northup, whose collaboration is by no means restricted to this portion of the book. More than to any other one person I am indebted to Mr. Steven T. Byington of the staff of Ginn and Company, by whose acute and scholarly observations I have often profited.
INTRODUCTION THE LIFE OF ESPRONCEDA THE WORKS OF ESPRONCEDA "THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA" BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE NOTES ON ESPRONCEDA'S VERSIFICATION
EL ESTUDIANTE DE SALAMANCA CANCIN DEL PIRATA EL CANTO DEL COSACO EL MENDIGO SONETO A TERESA
THE LIFE OF ESPRONCEDA
Don Jos de Espronceda y Lara, Spain's foremost lyric poet of the nineteenth century, was born on the 25th of March, 1808, the year of his country's heroic revolt against the tyranny of Napoleon. His parents were Lieutenant-Colonel Don Juan de Espronceda y Pimentel and Doa Mara del Carmen Delgado y Lara. Both were Andalusians of noble stock, and, as we learn from official documents, were held to be Christians of clean blood "without taint of Jews, heretics, Moors, or persons punished by the Holy Inquisition, and who neither were nor had been engaged in mean or low occupations, but in highly honorable ones." This couple of such highly satisfactory antecedents had been married four years previously. In 1804 Don Juan, a mature widower of fifty-three, was still mourning his first wife when he obtained the hand of Doa Mara, a young widow whose first husband, a lieutenant in the same regiment, was recently deceased. The marriage was satisfactory in a worldly way, for Doa Mara brought as a dower four hundred thousand reales to be added to the two hundred thousand which Don Juan already possessed. By his first marriage Don Juan had had a son, Don Jos de Espronceda y Ramos, who became ensign in his father's regiment, then studied in the Artillery School at Segovia, and later entered the fashionable Guardia de Corps regiment. He died in 1793 at the early age of twenty-one, soon after joining this regiment. By the second marriage there were two other children, both of whom died in infancy: Francisco, born in 1805, and Mara, born in 1807. During the early months of 1808 the Bourbon cavalry regiment in which Don Juan served was stationed in the little hamlet of Villafranca de los Barros, Estremadura, and there the future poet was born. We do not know where the mother and son found refuge during the stormy years which followed. The father was about to begin the most active period of his career. We learn from his service record that he won the grade of colonel on the field of Bailn; that a year later he recaptured the cannon named Libertad at the battle of Consuegra (a feat which won him the rank of brigadier), and fought gallantly at Talavera as a brother-in-arms of the future Duke of Wellington. The mere enumeration of the skirmishes and battles in which he participated would require much space. In 1811 he distinguished himself at Medina Sidonia and Chiclana, and sought promotion to the rank of field-marshal, which was never granted. After the Peninsular War he seems to have been stationed in Madrid between 1815 and 1818. His family were probably permanently established in that city, for we know that mother and son resided there during the time that the brigadier was doing garrison duty in Guadalajara (1820-1828), and there is no evidence that they followed him to Corua during his term of service in that city (1818-1820). Possibly the old soldier preferred the freedom of barrack life, where his authority was unquestioned, to the henpecked existence he led at home. "Ella era l y l era ella," says Patricio de Escosura in speaking of this couple; for Doa Mara was something of a shrew. She was a good business woman who combined energy with executive ability, as she later proved by managing successfully a livery-stable business. But, however formidable she may have been to her hostlers, her son Jos found her indulgent. He, the only surviving son of a mature couple, rapidly developed into a nio consentido, the Spanish equivalent of a spoiled child. Parallels are constantly being drawn between Byron and Espronceda. It is a curious fact that both poets were reared by mothers who were alternately indulgent and severe.
In 1820 the Espronceda family occupied an apartment in the Calle del Lobo. It was there and then that Patricio de Escosura firmed his intimacy with the future poet. He describes graphically his first meeting with the youth who was to be his lifelong friend. He first saw Jos sliding down from a third-story balcony on a tin waterspout. In the light of later years Escosura felt that in this boyish prank the child was father of the man. The boy who preferred waterspouts to stairways, later in life always scorned the beaten path, and "the illogical road, no matter how venturesome and hazardous it was, attracted him to it by virtue of that sort of fascinating charm which the abyss exercises over certain eminently nervous temperaments." The belief that Espronceda studied at the Artillery School of Segovia in 1821 appears to rest upon the statement of Sols alone. Escosura, who studied there afterwards, never speaks of his friend as having attended the same institution. Sols may have confused the younger Jos with his deceased, like-named brother, who, we know, actually was a cadet in Segovia. On the other hand, Sols speaks with confidence, though without citing the source of his information, and nothing would have been more natural than for the boy to follow in his elder brother's footsteps, as he did later when he joined the Guardia de Corps. However, the matter is of slight moment, for if he studied in Segovia at all he cannot have remained there for more than a few weeks.
What little education Espronceda was able to acquire in the course of his stormy life was gained mostly in the Colegio de San Mateo between the years 1820 and 1830. This was a private school patronized by sons of the nobility and wealthy middle class. Two of the masters, Jos Gmez Hermosilla and Alberto Lista, were poets of repute. Lista was the best teacher of his time in Spain. The wide range of his knowledge astonished his pupils, and he appeared to them equally competent in the classics, modern languages, mathematics, philosophy and poetics, all of which subjects he knew so well that he never had to prepare a lecture beforehand. Plainly Lista was not a specialist of the modern stamp; but he was something better, a born teacher. In spite of an unprepossessing appearance, faulty diction, and a ridiculous Andalusian accent, Lista was able to inspire his students and win their affection. It is no coincidence that four of the fellow students of the Colegio de San Mateo, Espronceda, Felipe Pardo, Ventura de la Vega, and Escosura, afterwards became famous in literature.
Espronceda's school reports have been preserved. We learn that he studied sacred history, Castilian grammar, Latin, Greek, French, English, mythology, history, geography, and fencing, which last he was later to turn to practical account. He showed most proficiency in French and English, and least in Greek and mathematics. His talent was recognized as unusual, his industry slight, his conduct bad. Calleja, the principal, writes in true schoolmaster's fashion: "He is wasting the very delicate talent which nature gave him, and is wasting, too, the opportunity of profiting by the information of his distinguished professors." It cannot be denied that Espronceda's conduct left much to be desired. According to Escosura he was "bright and mischievous, the terror of the whole neighborhood, and the perpetual fever of his mother." He soon gained the nickname buscarruidos, and attracted the notice of police and night watchmen. "In person he was agreeable, likable, agile, of clear understanding, sanguine temperament inclined to violence; of a petulant, merry disposition, of courage rash even bordering upon temerity, and more inclined to bodily exercise than to sedentary study." The two friends were much influenced by Caldern at this time. The height of their ambition was to be like the gallants of a cape-and-sword play, equally ready for a love passage or a fight. Lista's influence upon his pupils was not restricted to class exercises. In order to encourage them to write original verse and cultivate a taste for literature, he founded in April, 1823, the Academy of the Myrtle, modeled after the numerous literary academies which throve in Italy and Spain during the Renaissance period and later. Lista himself presided, assuming the name Anfriso. Was Delio, the name Espronceda assumed in his "Serenata" of 1828, his academic designation? The models proposed for the youthful aspirants were the best poets of antiquity and such modern classicists as Melndez, Cienfuegos, Jovellanos, and Quintana. Two of Espronceda's academic exercises have been preserved. They are as insipid and jejune as Goethe's productions of the Leipzig period. As an imitator of Horace he was not a success. What he gained from the Academy was the habit of writing.
The Academy lasted until 1826, when many of its members had been driven into exile; but its later meetings must have seemed tame to spirited boys engrossed in the exciting political events of those times. The year 1823 is famous in Spanish history for the crushing out of liberalism. This was effected by means of the Holy Alliance, an infamous association of tyrants whose main object was to restore absolutism. Louis XVIII, the Bourbon king of France, sent a force of one hundred thousand men under the Duke of Angoulme who met with little resistance, and in short order nullified all that had been accomplished by the Spanish liberals. Before the end of the year Ferdinand VII, who had been virtually deposed, was restored to his throne, and the constitution of 1820 had been abolished. Espronceda, the son of a hero of the War of Liberation, felt that the work of the men of 1808 had been undone. They had exchanged a foreign for a domestic tyrant. What his feelings were we may gather from his ode in commemoration of the uprising of the Madrid populace against the troops of Murat, "Al Dos de Mayo":
Oh de sangre y valor glorioso da! Mis padres cuando nio me contaron Sus hechos, ay! y en la memoria ma Santos recuerdos de virtud quedaron.
But, as he says later in the poem,
El trono que erigi vuestra bravura, Sobre huesos de hroes cimentado, Un rey ingrato, de memoria impura, Con eterno baldn dej manchado. Ay! para herir la libertad sagrada, El Prncipe, borrn de nuestra historia, Llam en su ayuda la francesa espada, Que segase el laurel de vuestra gloria.
These verses were written in later life; but already in 1827 he dates a poem "fourth year after the sale of Spanish liberty."
It was an age of political conspiracy and secret societies. Many liberals were members of Masonic lodges, and in addition there were circles like the Friends of Liberty, the Friends of the Constitution, the Cross of Malta, the Spanish Patriot, and others. Nothing more natural than that boys whose age made them ineligible to join these organizations should form one of their own. The result was La Sociedad de los Numantinos. The prime movers were Miguel Ortiz Amor and Patricio de Escosura, who drew up its Draconic constitution. Other founders were Espronceda, Ventura de la Vega, and Nez de Arenas. All told, the society had about a dozen members. Their first meetings were held in a sand-pit, until the curiosity of the police forced them to seek safer quarters. One of the members was an apothecary's apprentice, who, unknown to his master, installed the club in the shop cellar. There they built an altar bearing all the romantic paraphernalia of skull and cross-bones, swords, and pistols. The members stood wrapped in black garments, their faces muffled with their long Spanish capes, wearing Venetian masks, each one grasping a naked dagger. There they swore binding oaths and delivered fiery orations. Red paper lanterns cast a weird light over the scene. How tame the sessions of the Myrtle must have seemed by comparison! Yet the two organizations throve simultaneously.
With the return of Ferdinand in September the persecution of the liberals began. The boys witnessed the judicial murder of Riego, the hero of the constitutional movement, November 8, 1823. This made the impression upon them that might have been expected. That night an extraordinary session of the Numantinos was held at which Espronceda delivered an impassioned oration. Then all signed a document in which the king's death was decreed. Some of the members' parents seem to have learned what was happening. The father of Ortiz, the club's first president, prudently sent him away to Oate. Escosura became the second president, and held office until September of 1824, when his father sent him to France. Espronceda then became the club's third president, but his term was brief. The boys had made the mistake of admitting one member of mature years whose name we do not know; for, in spite of his treachery, the Numantinos even in their old age chivalrously refrained from publishing it. This Judas betrayed the secrets of his fellow-members, and placed incriminating documents, among them the king's "death warrant," in the hands of the police. The latter, however, displayed less rigor and more common sense than usual. While all the youths implicated were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment in various monasteries scattered throughout Spain, nothing more was intended than to give the conspirators a salutary scare. They were all released after a few weeks of nominal servitude. Ortiz and Escosura, the ringleaders, were sentenced to six years of seclusion, and Espronceda received a term of five years to be served in the Monastery of San Francisco de Guadalajara in the city of Guadalajara. His term was pronounced completed after a very few weeks of confinement. That he had a father prominent in the government service stood him in good stead, and this probably accounts for the fact that his place of confinement was in the city where Don Juan was garrisoned. The latter, as an old soldier in the wars against Napoleon, sympathized in a general way with liberal ideas; yet, placed as he was in a very difficult position, he must have found his son's escapades compromising. His record shows that he was "purified," that is his loyalty to the crown was certified to, on August 8, 1824. He seems to have maintained a "correct" attitude toward his rulers to the end, with all the unquestioning obedience of a military man.
While undergoing this easy martyrdom Espronceda improved his time by beginning what was to be a great patriotic epic, his Pelayo. Like many another ambitious project, this was never completed. The few fragments of it which have been printed date mostly from this time. The style is still classic, but it is the pseudo-classicism of his model, Tasso. The poet had taken the first step leading to Romanticism. Hence this work was not so sterile as his earlier performances. Lista, on seeing the fragments, did much to encourage the young author. Some of the octaves included in the published version are said on good authority to have come from the schoolmaster's pen. Lista's classicism was of the broadest. He never condemned Romanticism totally, though he deplored its unrestrained extravagances and the antireligious and antidynastic tendencies of some of its exponents. He long outlived his brilliant pupil, and celebrated his fame in critical articles. After his return from exile Espronceda continued to study in a private school which Lista had started in the Calle de Valverde. Calleja's Colegio de San Mateo had been suppressed by a government which was the sworn enemy of every form of enlightenment. The new seminary, however, continued the work of the old with little change: While there Jos carried his mathematical studies through higher algebra, conic sections, trigonometry, and surveying, and continued Latin, French, English, and Greek. If we may judge from later results, a course in rhetoric and poetics must have been of greatest benefit to him.
Espronceda's schooling ended in 1826, when he began what Escosura terms "his more or less voluntary exile." Escosura thinks he may have been implicated in a revolutionary uprising in Estremadura, and this conjecture is all but confirmed by a recently found report of the Spanish consul in Lisbon, who suspected him of plotting mischief with General Mina. If Espronceda was not a revolutionary at this time, he was capable of enlisting in any enterprise however rash, as his past and subsequent record proves all too clearly, and the authorities were not without justification in watching his movements. In a letter dated Lisbon, August 24, 1827, he writes to his mother: "Calm yourselves and restore papa to health by taking good care of him, and you yourself stop thinking so sadly, for now I am not going to leave Portugal." In these words the boy seems to be informing his parents that he has given up the idea of making a foray from Portugal into Spain as Mina was then plotting to do. He had left home without taking leave of his parents, made his way to Gibraltar, and taken passage thence to Lisbon on a Sardinian sloop. The discomforts of this journey are graphically described in one of his prose works, "De Gibraltar a Lisboa: viaje histrico." The writer describes with cynical humor the overladen little boat with its twenty-nine passengers, their quarrels and seasickness, the abominable food, a burial at sea, a tempest. When the ship reached Lisbon the ill-assorted company were placed in quarantine. The health inspectors demanded a three-peseta fee of each passenger. Espronceda paid out a duro and received two pesetas in change. Whereupon he threw them into the Tagus, "because I did not want to enter so great a capital with so little money." A very similar story has been told of Camoens, so that Espronceda was not only a poseur but a very unoriginal one at that. Some biographers suspect that while parting with his silver he was prudent enough to retain a purse lined with good gold onzas. This is pure speculation, but it is certain that he knew he could soon expect a remittance from home.
Portugal was at the time rent with civil war. The infanta Isabel Mara was acting as regent, and her weak government hesitated to offend the king of Spain. The liberal emigrants were kept under surveillance; some were imprisoned, others forced to leave the kingdom. Espronceda was forced to Live with the other Spanish emigrants in Santarem. There is no evidence that he was imprisoned in the Castle of St. George, as has so frequently been stated. He appears to have been free to go and come within the limits assigned him by the police; but he was constantly watched and at last forced to leave the country. It was in Portugal that the nineteen-year-old boy made the acquaintance of the Mancha family. Don Epifanio Mancha was a colonel in the Spanish army who, unlike the elder Espronceda, had been unable to reconcile himself to existing conditions. He had two daughters, one of whom, Teresa, was to play a large part in Espronceda's life. He undoubtedly made her acquaintance at this time. We are told that she embroidered for him an artillery cadet's hat; but the acquaintance probably did not proceed far. The statement that vows were exchanged, that the Mancha family preceded Espronceda to London, that on disembarking he found his Teresa already the bride of another, all this is pure legend. As a matter of fact, Espronceda preceded the Manchas to London and his elopement with Teresa did not take place until 1831, not in England but in France. All this Seor Cascales y Muoz has shown in his recent biography.
Espronceda's expulsion from Portugal was determined upon as early as August 14, 1827; but the execution of it was delayed. He must have reached England sometime within the last four months of 1827. The first of his letters written from London that has been preserved is dated December 27 of that year. What his emotions were on passing "the immense sea ... which chains me amid the gloomy Britons" may be observed by reading his poem entitled "La Entrada del Invierno en Londres." In this poem he gives full vent to his homesickness in his "present abode of sadness," breathes forth his love for Spain, and bewails the tyrannies under which that nation is groaning. It is written in his early classic manner and exists in autograph form, dedicated by the "Citizen" Jos de Espronceda to the "Citizen" Balbino Corts, his companion in exile. The date, London, January 1, 1827, is plainly erroneous, though this fact has never before been pointed out. We can only suppose that, like many another, Espronceda found it difficult to write the date correctly on the first day of a new year. We should probably read January 1, 1828. When he assures us in the poem: "Four times have I here seen the fields robbed of their treasure," he is not to be taken literally. Who will begrudge an exiled poet the delight of exaggerating his sufferings?
Five letters written from London to his parents have been preserved, thanks to the diligence of the Madrid police who seized them in his father's house in their eagerness to follow the movements of this dangerous revolutionary. They are the typical letters of a schoolboy. The writer makes excuses for his dilatoriness as a correspondent, expresses solicitude for the health of his parents, and suggests the need of a speedy remittance. In fact la falta de metlico is the burden of his song. Living is excessively dear in London. So much so that a suit of clothes costs seventeen pounds sterling; but there will be a reduction of three pounds if the draft is promptly sent. He asks that the manuscript of his "Pelayo" be sent to him, as he now has abundant leisure to finish the poem. He asks that the remittances be sent to a new agent whom he designates. The first agent was a brute who refused to aid him to get credit. He wonders that his father should suggest a call upon the Spanish ambassador. Not one word as to his political plans, a discretion for which Don Juan must have thanked him when these interesting documents fell into the hands of the police.
We have information that in London Espronceda became a fencing-master, as many a French migr had done in the century before. This calling brought him in very little. He may have profited by the charity fund which the Duke of Wellington had raised to relieve the Spanish emigrados. His more pressing needs were satisfied by Antonio Herniz, a friend with whom he had made the journey from Lisbon; but the remittances from home came promptly and regularly, and Espronceda must have been one of the most favored among the refugees of Somers Town. If we may take as autobiographical a statement in "Un Recuerdo," he was entertained for a time at the country seat of Lord Ruthven, an old companion-in-arms of his father's. Ruthven is not a fictitious name, as a glance into the peerage will show. During all this time he was improving his acquaintance with Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, and other English poets. What is more surprising is that, if we may judge from his subsequent speeches as a deputy, he gained at least a superficial acquaintance with English political thought and became interested in economics. He was a convert to the doctrine of free trade.
Meanwhile the parents, who appear to have formed a bad opinion of a land where a suit of clothes cost seventeen pounds, were urging the son to go to France. He himself thought of Holland as a land combining the advantages of liberty and economy. But before leaving London he required a remittance of four thousand reales. This bad news was broken to the family bread-winner, not by Jos himself, but by his banker Orense. The debt, it was explained, had been incurred as the result of a slight illness. The four thousand reales were duly sent in December, but Espronceda lingered in London a few months longer; first because he was tempted by the prospect of a good position which he failed to secure, and second on account of the impossibility of obtaining a passport to France direct. He finally made his way to Paris via Brussels, from which city he writes, March 6, 1829. All this effectually dispels the legend that he eloped from England with Teresa by way of Cherbourg. The arrival in Paris of the revolutionary fencing-master put the Madrid police in a flutter. On the seventeenth of that same month the consul in Lisbon had reported that Espronceda was planning to join General Mina in an attack upon Navarra; and by the middle of April the ambassador to France had reported his arrival in Paris. It was then that the brigadier's papers were seized. Measures were taken to prevent Espronceda's receiving passports for the southern provinces of France, and for any other country but England. The friendly offices of Charles X, who had succeeded Louis XVIII on the throne of France, checked for a time the efforts of the patriotic filibusters. The latter, therefore, must have felt that they were aiding their own country as well as France when they participated in the July revolution of 1830. Espronceda fought bravely for several days at one of the Paris barricades, and wreaked what private grudge he may have had against the house of Bourbon. After the fall of Charles X, Louis Philippe, whom Espronceda was in after years to term el rey mercader, became king of France. As Ferdinand refused to recognize the new government, the designs of Spanish patriots were not hindered but even favored. Espronceda was one of a scant hundred visionaries who followed General Joaqun de Pablo over the pass of Roncevaux into Navarra. The one hope of success lay in winning over recruits on Spanish soil. De Pablo, who found himself facing his old regiment of Volunteers of Navarra, started to make a harangue. The reply was a salvo of musketry, as a result of which De Pablo fell dead. After some skirmishing most of his followers found refuge on French soil, among them Espronceda. De Pablo's rout, if less glorious than that of Roland on the same battlefield, nevertheless inspired a song. Espronceda celebrated his fallen leader's death in the verses "A la Muerte de D. Joaqun de Pablo (Chapalangarra) en los Campos de Vera." This poem, which purports to have been written on one of the peaks of the French Pyrenees which commanded a view of Spanish soil, and when the poet was strongly impressed by the events in which he had just participated, is nevertheless a weak performance; for Espronceda in 1830 was still casting his most impassioned utterances in the classic mold. Ferdinand had now been taught a lesson and lost little time in recognizing the new rgime in France. This bit of diplomacy was so cheap and successful that Louis Philippe tried it again, this time on Russia. His government favored a plot, hatched in Paris, for the freeing of Poland. Espronceda, who had not yet had his fill of crack-brained adventures, enlisted in this cause also, desiring to do for Poland what Byron had done for Greece; but the czar, wilier than Ferdinand, immediately recognized Louis Philippe. The plot was then quietly rendered innocuous. Espronceda must have felt himself cruelly sold by the "merchant king."
Espronceda's literary activity was slight during these events, but his transformation into a full-fledged Romanticist begins at this time. Hugo's "Orientales," which influenced him profoundly, appeared in 1829, and the first performance of "Hernani" was February 25, 1830. There is no record that he formed important literary friendships in either England or France, but, clannish as the emigrados appear to have been, an impressionable nature like Espronceda's must have been as much stirred by the literary as by the political revolution of 1830; the more so as the great love adventure of his life occurred at this time. The Mancha family followed the other emigrados to London, just when we cannot say. In course of time Teresa contracted a marriage of convenience with a Spanish merchant domiciled in London, a certain Gregorio de Bayo. Churchman has discovered the following advertisement in El Emigrado Observador, London, February,1829: "The daughters of Colonel Mancha embroider bracelets with the greatest skill, gaining by this industry the wherewithal to aid their honorable indigence." From this it is argued that the marriage to Don Gregorio and the consequent end of the family indigence must have come later than February, 1829. Espronceda had met the girl in Lisbon, he may later have resumed the acquaintance in London. She may or may not be the Elisa to whom Delio sings in the "Serenata." According to Balbino Corts in an interview reported by Sols, Teresa and her husband, while on a visit to Paris in October, 1831, happened to lodge at the hotel frequented by Espronceda. Shortly afterwards Teresa deserted her husband and an infant son and eloped with Espronceda. She followed him to Madrid in 1833, where a daughter, Blanca, was born to them in 1834. Within a year Teresa abandoned Espronceda and her second child. She sank into the gutter and died a pauper in 1839. This sordid romance occupied only about three years of Espronceda's life, a much shorter time than had been supposed. Churchman was the first to break the long conspiracy of silence which withheld from the world Teresa's full name. Cascales y Muoz has since thrown more light upon this episode. But these gentlemen have done nothing more than to tell an open secret. Escosura, long ago, all but betrayed it in the following pun: "Tendamos el velo de olvido sobre esa lamentable flaqueza de un gran corazn," he says, referring to the affair with Teresa, "y recordemos, de paso, que el sol mismo, ese astro de luz soberano, tan sublimemente cantado por nuestro vate, manchas tiene que si una parte de su esplendor anublan, a eclipsarlo no bastan." Seor Cascales publishes a reproduction of Teresa's portrait. We see a face of a certain hard beauty. We are struck with the elaborate coiffure, the high forehead, the long nose, the weak mouth. The expression is unamiable. It is the face of a termagant ready to abandon husband and child. Espronceda seems to have returned to England for a brief period in 1832, as we may infer from the fact that the poem "A Matilde" is dated London, 1832. Corroboration of this belief was discovered by Churchman, who found that the paper on which "Blanca de Borbn" was written shows the water-mark of an English firm of that date.
In 1833 Ferdinand VII died, and his daughter Isabel II ascended to the throne under the regency of her mother Cristina. As the conservatives espoused the cause of the pretender, Don Carlos, the regency was forced to favor the liberals. The rigid press censorship was abolished, and a general amnesty was granted all the victims of Ferdinand's tyranny. In politics the year 1833 marks the beginning of the Carlist war, and in literature of Spanish Romanticism. Espronceda was one of many emigrados who returned to Spain, bringing with them new ideas for the revitalizing of Spanish literature. He did not arrive soon enough to see his aged father. Brigadier Espronceda's death certificate is dated January 10, 1833.
Shortly after Jos's arrival he joined the fashionable Guardia de Corps or royal guard regiment. This step, apparently so inconsistent with his revolutionary activities, has puzzled all his biographers. But Espronceda was only following the family tradition. His elder brother had done the same. Doubtless he believed, in his first enthusiasm, that Spain was now completely liberalized. Besides, he was a dandy always eager for social distinction, and he had to live down the fact that his mother was proprietress of an establecimiento de coches. The conduct of his fellow-Numantino, Escosura, who had found it possible to accept a commission under Ferdinand, is far more surprising. Espronceda's snobbishness, if he had any, cannot have been extreme, for he took up residence with his mother over the aforementioned livery stable, in the Calle de San Miguel. Teresa was prudently lodged under another roof. Doa Carmen was as indulgent as ever, and especially desirous that her son dress in the most fashionable clothes procurable. What with her rent from the house, her widow's pension, and the yield of her business venture, she was comfortably circumstanced. When Teresa abandoned the child Blanca, Doa Carmen became a mother to her. When Doa Carmen died in 1840 everything went to her son.
Espronceda's career as a guardsman was brief. As a result of reading a satirical poem at a public banquet, he was cashiered and banished to the town of Cullar in Old Castile. There he wrote his "Sancho Saldaa o el Castellano de Cullar," a historical novel in the manner of Walter Scott, describing the quarrels of Sancho el Bravo with his father Alfonso X. This six-volume work was contracted for in 1834 and completed and published the same year. For writing it the author received six thousand reales. Many writers in Spain were striving to rival the Wizard of the North at this time. Ramn Lpez Soler had set the fashion in 1830 with "Los Bandos de Castilla." Larra's "Doncel de Don Enrique el Doliente" appeared in the same year with "Sancho Saldaa." But Espronceda was probably most influenced by his friend Escosura, who had printed his "Conde de Candespina" in 1832. The latter's best effort in this genre, "Ni Rey ni Roque," 1835, was written when its author was undergoing banishment for political reasons in a corner of Andalusia. To employ the enforced leisure of political exile in writing a historical novel was quite the proper thing to do. The banishment to Cullar must have taken place in late 1833 or early 1834, for Espronceda's novel is unquestionably inspired by his enforced visit to that town, and the contract with his publisher is dated in Madrid, February 5, 1834. On reading the contract it is apparent that the novel had hardly been begun then, as it was to be paid for in installments. Whether it was written mostly in Cullar or Madrid we do not know and care little. In January of that year El Siglo was founded, a radical journal with which Espronceda was prominently connected. During the brief existence of this incendiary sheet (January 21 until March 7) Espronceda contributed to it several political articles. The last issue came out almost wholly blank as an object lesson of the censor's activity. There follow a few months of agitation and political intrigue, the upshot of which was Espronceda's imprisonment for three weeks without trial. After protesting in the press and appealing to the queen regent, he was released and banished to Badajoz. How long he was absent from the capital we do not know, except that this banishment, like the others, was of short duration. During all this commotion there was produced at the Teatro de la Cruz, in April, an indifferent play, "Ni el To ni el Sobrino," whose authors were Espronceda and his friend Antonio Ros y Olano. It is difficult to paint anything but a confused picture of Espronceda's life during the remaining years of this decade. We catch glimpses of him debating questions of art and politics at cafs and literary tertulias like the Parnasillo, where Mesonero Romanos saw him faultlessly attired and "darting epigrams against everything existing, past, and future." Crdoba in his memoirs bears witness that he was still the buscarruidos of old. Espronceda with Larra, Escosura, Ros De Olano, and Crdoba constituted the "Thunder Band" of the Parnasillo (partida del trueno). After a long literary discussion they would sally forth into the streets, each armed with a peashooter and on mischief bent. A favorite prank was to tie a chestnut vender's table to a waiting cab and then watch the commotion which followed when the cab started to move. On one occasion, finding the Duke of Alba's coachman asleep on the box, they painted the yellow coach red, so altering it that the very owner failed to recognize it when he left the house where he had been calling. In politics Espronceda is always a leader in revolt, fighting with pen and sword for his none-too-clearly-defined principles. Even the Mendizbal ministry, the most advanced that Spain has ever had, does not satisfy him. His ideal is a republic and the downfall of "the spurious race of Bourbon." His love affairs are equally stormy. In literature he is attempting everything, plays, a novel, polemical articles, lyric poems, and one supreme work which is to be the very epic of humanity.
In 1835 Espronceda became an officer in the National Militia. In August of that year the militiamen were defeated in an unsuccessful revolt against the Toreno ministry. In 1836 he was equally unfortunate in a revolt against the Istriz ministry. It was then, when pursued by the police, that a friend secreted him in the safest possible place, the home of a high police official. Espronceda employed his leisure hours in this refuge by writing "El Mendigo" and "El Verdugo." Two years later he traveled extensively through Andalusia engaged in revolutionary propaganda. He was probably trying to bring about a republican form of government. In September, 1838, his play "Amor venga sus agravios," written in collaboration with Eugenio Moreno Lpez, was produced at the Teatro del Prncipe. Its success was moderate. The next year, while in Granada, he and his friend Santos lvarez were guests of honor at a literary soire. Espronceda's contribution was the reading of "El Estudiante de Salamanca." This poem was first printed, at least in part, in La Alhambra for 1839. The great political event of this year was the ending of the first Carlist war. The victories of the national troops were celebrated by a huge public demonstration in Madrid on the national holiday, May 2, 1840. For this occasion Espronceda wrote his patriotic poem "El Dos de Mayo." Only three days later his volume of "Poesas" was placed on sale, and, like Byron, he awoke to find himself famous. His old teacher Lista wrote a favorable review. From then on Espronceda was a man of note. The Madrid revolution of September 1 forced an unwilling regent to make Espartero, hero of the Carlist war, prime minister. A radical sheet, El Huracn, was accused of attacking Cristina and of advocating republicanism. Espronceda, though not a lawyer, was chosen to defend the journal. This he did with complete success. His speech has not come down to us, but we are told that in it he appeared in the rle of an uncompromising republican.
Nevertheless he was soon to compromise. He was now a man of mark, and the liberal rgime in power were not slow to see that it would be advantageous to enlist his services. In November, 1841, he accepted an appointment to serve as secretary to the Spanish legation at the Hague. He served in this capacity exactly five days. Arriving at the Hague on January 29, 1842, he departed for Madrid on February 3. A certain Carrasco had been elected deputy of the province of Almera. He was now urged to resign to make room for Espronceda. This he did, and Espronceda was elected and served in his stead. Of course all this had been prearranged. After his return he continued to hold his diplomatic position and receive pay for it, a not very honorable course on the part of one who pled so eloquently for the abolition of useless offices and the reform of the diplomatic service. In this way the Espartero government conciliated Espronceda with two offices. Henceforth his republicanism was lukewarm. Escosura tells us that concern for his daughter Blanca's financial future had rendered him prudent.
I am inclined to think that Espronceda's biographers underrate his services in the Chamber of Deputies. The trouble is that in his rle of deputy their hero failed to justify preconceived notions regarding his character. Those who looked for revolution in his speeches found only sound finance. We seek in vain for anything subversive. There is nothing suggestive of the lyric poet or even of the fiery defender of El Huracn. As a poet he had praised the destructive fury of the Cossacks who swept away decadent governments. In defending El Huracn he had used the word Cossack as a term of reproach, applying it to those self-seeking politicians who were devouring the public funds. By this time he had himself become a Cossack on a small scale. Yet we must do him the justice to point out that he had had sufficient firmness of principle to refuse office under Mendizbal, Istriz, and the Duque de Rivas. Fitzmaurice-Kelly is possibly going too far in intimating that he was degenerating into a hidebound conservative and opportunist. Something of the old reforming zeal survived. Though many disillusionments may have rendered him less eager for a republican form of government, his latest utterances show him zealous as ever for social and economic reform. Espronceda's parliamentary career lasted less than three months (March 1 to May 23, 1842). One can only wonder that in so brief a time a man already stricken with a fatal illness should have taken so able a part in an assembly in which he was a newcomer. Nor should we complain that his speeches lack eloquence. It is fairer to give him credit for not falling into the abuse of palabrera, the besetting sin of most diputados.
His views were sober and sound. Travel had given him a wider outlook than most of his colleagues possessed. He was the enemy of espaolismo, wanted his nation to take a prominent part in European affairs, and no longer to lead the life of a hermit nation. But he is no jingo. He speaks against the bill to add fifty thousand to the standing army. Spain had passed through too many upheavals. What she needed to make her a European power was tranquility and opportunity to develop financial strength. Give the producing classes their long-awaited innings. But he is bitter against the magnates of the bourse and those politicians who legislate to produce an artificial rise in values. The true policy is to better the condition of the masses, to encourage agriculture and manufactures: even the construction of railways should wait until there is first something to haul over them. But manufactures should not be protected by a tariff. In his speech against the tariff on cotton he shows himself an out and out free-trader. He praises the English for their policy of free trade, enlightened self-interest he deems it, which tends to make the world one large family. As a writer he had inveighed against commercialism. But he now discerns a future where commerce shall replace war. He was unable to foresee that in the future trade was to be a chief cause of war.
That he was a ready debater is shown by his neat rejoinder to Deputy Fontn. This gentleman had made sneering allusions to men of letters who dabbled in diplomacy. Far from accepting the remark as a thrust at himself, as it was intended, Espronceda resented it as an insult to the then American minister Washington Irving, "novelist of the first rank, known in Europe through his writings even more than through the brilliancy of his diplomatic career."
Espronceda's health had been failing for some months. It is said that chronic throat trouble had so weakened his voice as to make his remarks in the Corts scarcely audible. On May 18, 1842, he journeyed on horseback to Aranjuez to visit Doa Bernarda Beruete, a young lady to whom he was then engaged. Hastily returning to Madrid on the afternoon of the same day, so as not to miss a night session of the Corts, he contracted a cold which soon turned into a fatal bronchitis. Others say he was taken ill at a reception given by Espartero. He died May 23, 1842, at the early age of 34. He was honored with a public funeral in keeping with his position as deputy and distinguished man of letters. His first place of burial was the cemetery of San Nicols; but in 1902 his remains, together with those of Larra, were exhumed and reburied in the Pantheon for Distinguished Men of the Nineteenth Century, situated in the Patio de Santa Gertrudis in the Cementerio de la Sacramental de San Justo.
In forming our estimate of the man, we must carefully distinguish between the Espronceda of legend and the Espronceda of fact; for a legend sprang up during his own lifetime, largely the result of his own self-defamation. Like many other Romanticists, Espronceda affected a reputation for diabolism. He loved to startle the bourgeois, to pose as atheist, rake, deposer of tyrants. Escosura sums up this aspect of his character by branding him "a hypocrite of vice." Many have been led astray by Ferrer del Ro's statement that in drawing the character of the seducer, Don Flix de Montemar, Espronceda was painting his own portrait. Such criticism would have delighted Espronceda, but the imputation was indignantly denied by his close friend Escosura. Modern critics are careful to avoid this extreme; but, in the delight of supporting a paradox, some are disposed to go too far in the opposite direction. Seor Cascales, for instance, is unconvincing when he seeks to exonerate Espronceda from all blame in the Teresa episode. Like the devil, Espronceda was not so black as he was painted, not so black as he painted himself; but he was far from being a Joseph. It is easy to minimize the importance of the part he played in the national militia. Doubtless much of his plotting was puerile and melodramatic. His activities as a revolutionist cannot have greatly affected the course of events. But it is unfair to deny him credit for constant willingness to risk his life in any cause which seemed noble. That his conduct was inconsistent merely proves that he followed no calmly reasoned political system. He reflects in his conduct the heated sentiment of the time, varying as it did from day to day. He sometimes compromised with his ideals, his sense of honor was not always of the highest, but he never seems to have grown lukewarm in his desire to serve the people. He is a liberal to the last, a liberal with notions of political economy and English constitutional practice. His quarrel with the church seems to have been political rather than theological. He hated the friars and the church's alliance with Carlism. That the last rites were administered to him shows that he died a professing Catholic. In appearance Espronceda was handsome, if somewhat too effeminate-looking to suggest the fire-eater. He never cultivated slovenliness of attire like most members of the Romantic school; on the contrary, he was the leading representative in Spain of dandyism. To sum up, Espronceda's was a tempestuous and very imperfect character. "Siempre fu el juego de mis pasiones," is his own self-analysis. The best that can be said of him is that he was a warm, affectionate nature, generous, charitable to the poor, a loyal friend, and one actuated by noble, if sometimes mistaken, ideals. Years afterward, when Escosura passed in review the little circle of the Colegio de San Mateo, Espronceda was the only one of them whom he could truly say he loved.
THE WORKS OF ESPRONCEDA
Of all the Spanish poets of the period of Romanticism, Espronceda is the most commanding figure. Pieyro, adopting Emerson's phrase, calls him the Representative Man of that age of literary and political revolt. More than that, criticism is unanimous in considering him Spain's greatest lyric poet of the nineteenth century.
First of all he interests as the poet of democracy. The Romantic poets were no more zealous seekers for political liberalism than the classic poets of the previous generation had been; but their greater subjectivity and freedom of expression rendered their appeal more vigorous. Espronceda's hatred for absolutism was so intense that in moments of excitement he became almost anti-social. The pirate, the beggar, the Cossack, were his heroes. The love of this dandy for the lower classes cannot be dismissed as mere pose. He keenly sympathized with the oppressed, and felt that wholesale destruction must precede the work of construction. We look in vain for a reasoned political philosophy in his volcanic verse. His outpourings were inspired by the irresponsible ravings of groups of caf radicals, and the point of view constantly changed as public sentiment veered. According to his lights he is always a patriot. Liberty and democracy are his chief desires.
Like most Romanticists, Espronceda was intensely subjective. He interests by his frank display of his inner moods. Bonilla, in his illuminating article "El Pensamiento de Espronceda," states that the four essential points in the philosophy of Romanticism were: doubt, the first principle of thought; sorrow, the positive reality of life; pleasure, the world's illusion; death, the negation of the will to live. Espronceda shared all of these ideas. It is often impossible to say how much of his suffering is a mere Byronic pose, and how much comes from the reaction of an intensely sensitive nature to the hard facts of existence. There is evidence that he never lost the zest of living; but in his writings he appears as one who has been completely disillusionized by literature, love, politics, and every experience of life. Truth is the greatest of evils, because truth is always sad; "mentira," on the other hand, is merciful and kind. He carries doubt so far that he doubts his very doubts. Such a philosophy should logically lead to quietism. That pessimism did not in the case of Espronceda bring inaction makes one suspect that it was largely affected. There is nothing profound in this very commonplace philosophy of despair. It is the conventional attitude of hosts of Romanticists who did little but re-echo the Vanitas vanitatum of the author of Ecclesiastes. Espronceda's thought is too shallow to entitle him to rank high as a philosophic poet. In this respect he is inferior even to Campoamor and Nez de Arce. Genuine world-weariness is the outgrowth of a more complex civilization than that of Spain. Far from being a Leopardi, Espronceda may nevertheless be considered the leading Spanish exponent of the taedium vitae. He has eloquently expressed this commonplace and conventional attitude of mind.
Like so many other writers of the Latin race, Espronceda is more admirable for the form in which he clothed his thoughts than for those thoughts themselves. He wrote little and carefully. He is remarkable for his virtuosity, his harmonious handling of the most varied meters. He never, like Zorrilla, produces the effect of careless improvisation. In the matter of poetic form Espronceda has been the chief inspiration of Spanish poets down to the advent of Rubn Daro. Fitzmaurice-Kelly, with his happy knack of hitting off an author's characteristics in a phrase, says: "He still stirs us with his elemental force, his resonant musical potency of phrase, his communicative ardor for noble causes."
Much harm has been done Espronceda's reputation for originality by those critics who fastened upon him the name of "the Spanish Byron." Nothing could be more unjust than to consider him the slavish imitator of a single author. In literature, as in love, there is safety in numbers, and the writer who was influenced by Caldern, Tasso, Milton, Goethe, Branger, Hugo, Shakespeare, and Scott was no mere satellite to Byron. Seor Cascales is so sensitive on the point that he is scarcely willing to admit that Byron exerted any influence whatsoever upon Espronceda. The truth is that Byron did influence Espronceda profoundly, as Churchman has sufficiently proved by citing many instances of borrowings from the English poet, where resemblance in matters of detail is wholly conclusive; but it is another matter to assert that Espronceda was always Byronic or had no originality of his own.
In considering Espronceda's writings in detail, we need concern ourselves little with his dramatic and prose writings. The quickest road to literary celebrity was the writing of a successful play. Espronceda seems never to have completely relinquished the hope of achieving such a success. His first attempt was a three-act verse comedy, "Ni el To ni el Sobrino" (1834), written in collaboration with Antonio Ros de Olano. Larra censured it for its insipidity and lack of plan. A more ambitious effort was "Amor venga sus agravios" (1838), written in collaboration with Eugenio Moreno Lpez. This was a five-act costume play, in prose, portraying the life at the court of Philip IV. It was produced without regard to expense, but with indifferent success. Espronceda's most ambitious play was never staged, and has only recently become easily accessible: this was "Blanca de Borbn," a historical drama of the times of Peter the Cruel in five acts, in verse. The first two acts were written in Espronceda's early Classic manner; the last three, written at a later period, are Romantic in tone. The influence of "Macbeth" is apparent. "Blanca de Borbn" could never be a success on the stage. The verse, too, is not worthy of the author. Espronceda was too impetuous a writer to comply with the restrictions of dramatic technique. The dramatic passages in "El Estudiante de Salamanca" and "El Diablo Mundo" are his best compositions in dialogue.
"Sancho Saldaa" is Espronceda's most important prose work. It is a historical novel of the thirteenth century, written frankly in imitation of Walter Scott's Waverley Novels. The romance contains many tiresome descriptions of scenery, and drags along tediously as most old-fashioned novels did. But Espronceda had none of Sir Walter's archaeological erudition, none of his ability to seize the characteristics of an epoch, and above all none of his skill as a creator of interesting characters. The personages in "Sancho Saldaa" fail to interest. The most that can be said of the work is that among the numerous imitations of Scott's novels which appeared at the time it is neither the best nor the worst. Of his shorter prose works only two, "De Gibraltar a Lisboa, viaje histrico" and "Un Recuerdo," are easily accessible. They are vivid portrayals of certain episodes of his exile, and may still be read with interest. His most important polemical work is "El Ministerio Mendizbal" (Madrid, 1836). In this screed we find the fiery radical attacking as unsatisfactory the ultra-liberal Mendizbal. This and shorter political articles interest the historian and the biographer, but hardly count as literature. His rare attempts at literary criticism have even less value.
Espronceda shows true greatness only as a lyric poet. For spirit and perfection of form what could be more perfect than the "Cancin del Pirata"? Like Byron in the "Corsair," he extols the lawless liberty of the buccaneer. Byron was here his inspiration rather than Hugo. The "Chanson de Pirates" cannot stand comparison with either work. But Espronceda's indebtedness to Byron was in this case very slight. He has made the theme completely his own. "El Mendigo" and "El Canto del Cosaco," both anarchistic in sentiment, were inspired by Branger. Once more Espronceda has improved upon his models, "Les Gueux" and "Le Chant du Cosaque." Compare Espronceda's refrain in the "Cossack Song" with Branger's in the work which suggested it:
Hurra, Cosacos del desierto! Hurra! La Europa os brinda esplndido botn Sangrienta charca sus campias sean, De los grajos su ejrcito festn.
Hennis d'orgueil, o mon coursier fidle! Et foule aux pieds les peuples et les rois.
The "Canto del Cosaco" was a prime favorite with the revolutionary youth of Spain, who thundered out the "hurras" with telling effect. "El Reo de Muerte" and "El Verdugo" are in a similar vein, though much inferior. "Serenata," "A la Noche," "El Pescador" (reminiscent of Goethe), "A una Estrella," and "A una Rosa, soneto" are lighter works. They make up in grace what they lack in vigor. "El Himno al Sol" is the most perfect example of Espronceda's Classic manner, and is rightly considered one of his masterpieces. It challenges comparison with the Duque de Rivas' very similar poem. Of the numerous patriotic poems "Al Dos de Mayo" and "A la Patria" deserve especial mention. He attempted satire in "El Pastor Clasiquino," recently reprinted by Le Gentil from "El Artista." In this poem he assails academic poetry like that produced by his old fellow-academicians of the Myrtle. It betrays the peevishness of a Romanticist writing when Romanticism was already on the wane.
"El Diablo Mundo," Espronceda's most ambitious work, is commonly considered his masterpiece; an unfinished masterpiece, however. Even if death had spared him, it is doubtful if he could have finished so all-embracing a theme as he proposed:
Nada menos te ofrezco que un poema Con lances raros y revuelto asunto, De nuestro mundo y sociedad emblema.... Fiel traslado ha de ser, cierto trasunto De la vida del hombre y la quimera Tras de que va la humanidad entera. Batallas, tempestades, amoros, Por mar y tierra, lances, descripciones De campos y ciudades, desafos, Y el desastre y furor de las pasiones, Goces, dichas, aciertos, desvaros, Con algunas morales reflexiones Acerca de la vida y de la muerte, De mi propia cosecha, que es mi fuerte.
Adam, hero of the epic, is introduced in Canto I as an aged scholar disillusioned with life, but dreading the proximity of Death, with whom he converses in a vision. The Goddess of Life grants him the youth of Faust and the immortality of the Wandering Jew. Unlike either, he has the physical and mental characteristics of an adult joined to the navet of a child. In Canto III Adam appears in a casa de huspedes, naked and poor, oblivious of the past, without the use of language, with longings for liberty and action. Here his disillusionment begins. His nakedness shocks public morality; and the innocent Adam who is hostile to nobody, and in whom the brilliant spectacle of nature produces nothing but rejoicing, receives blows, stonings, and imprisonment from his neighbors. Childlike he touches the bayonet of one of his captors, and is wounded. This symbolizes the world's hostility to the innocent. In Canto IV we find Adam in prison. His teachers are criminals. He was born for good; society instructs him in evil. In Canto V he experiences love with the manola Salada, but sees in this passion nothing but impurity. He longs for higher things. Circumstances abase him to crime. He joins a band of burglars, and, falling in love with the lady whose house they are pillaging, protects her against the gang. In Canto VI he continues along his path of sorrow. He enters a house where a beautiful girl is dying, while in another room revelers are making merry. This leads him to speculate on life's mysteries and to reason for himself. The poem ends where Adam has become thoroughly sophisticated. He is now like any other man.
Evidently it was the poet's intention to make Adam go through a series of adventures in various walks of life, everywhere experiencing disillusionment. In spite of the elaborate prospectus quoted above, we may agree with Pieyro that the poet started writing with only the haziest outline planned beforehand. Espronceda frankly reveals to us his methods of poetic composition:
Oh cmo cansa el orden! no hay locura Igual a la del lgico severo.
Terco escribo en mi loco desvaro Sin ton ni sn, y para gusto mo.... Sin regla ni comps canta mi lira: Slo mi ardiente corazn me inspira!
"El Diablo Mundo" is no mere imitation of Byron's "Don Juan" and Goethe's "Faust," though the influence of each is marked. It has numerous merits and originalities of its own. Inferior as Espronceda is to Byron in wit and to Goethe in depth, he can vie with either as a harmonious versifier.
The philosophy of "El Diablo Mundo" is the commonplace pessimism of Romanticism. The following excerpt shows how the author's skepticism leads him to doubt his very doubts; hence his return to a questioning acceptance of Christianity:
Las creencias que abandonas, Los templos, las religiones Que pasaron, y que luego Por mentira reconoces, Son quiz menos mentira Que las que ahora te forges? No sern tal vez verdades Los que t juzgas errores?
Canto II of "El Diablo Mundo" consists of the poem "A Teresa. Descansa en Paz." This has not the slightest connection with the rest of the poem, and can only be understood as a separate unity. It is included in the present collection because it is the supreme expression of our poet's subjective method. As such it stands in excellent contrast to "El Estudiante de Salamanca," which is purely objective. No reader knows Espronceda who has read merely his objective poems. For self-revelation "A Jarifa en una Orga" alone may be compared with "A Teresa." We may agree with Escosura that Espronceda is here giving vent to his rancor rather than to his grief, that it is the menos hidalgo of all his writings. But for once we may be sure that the poet is writing under the stress of genuine emotion. For once he is free from posing.
"THE STUDENT OF SALAMANCA"
"El Estudiante de Salamanca" represents the synthesis of two well-known Spanish legends, the Don Juan Tenorio legend and the Miguel Maara legend. The first of these may be briefly stated as follows: Don Juan Tenorio was a young aristocrat of Seville famous for his dissolute life, a gambler, blasphemer, duelist, and seducer of women. Among numerous other victims, he deceives Doa Ana de Ulloa, daughter of the Comendador de Ulloa. The latter challenges Don Juan to a duel, and falls. Later Don Juan enters the church where the Commander lies buried and insults his stone statue, after which he invites the statue to sup with him that night. At midnight Don Juan and his friends are making merry when a knock is heard at the door and the stone guest enters. Don Juan, who does not lose his bravery even in the presence of the supernatural, plays the host, maintaining his air of insulting banter. At the end of the evening the guest departs, offering to repay the hospitality the following night if Don Juan will visit his tomb at midnight. Though friends try to dissuade him, Don Juan fearlessly accepts the invitation. At the appointed hour he visits the tomb. Flames emerge from it, and Don Juan pays the penalty of his misdeeds, dying without confession.
This is the outline of the story as told by Tirso de Molina in "El Burlador de Sevilla o el Convidado de Piedra." The same theme has been treated by Molire, Goldoni, Mozart, Byron, and Zorrilla, to mention but a few of the hundreds of writers who have utilized it. In the hands of non-Spanish writers the character of Don Juan loses the greater part of its essential nobility. To them Don Juan is the type of libertine and little more. He was a prime favorite with those Romanticists who, like Gautier, felt "Il est indcent et mauvais ton d'tre vertueux." But as conceived in Spain Don Juan's libertinage is wholly subsidiary and incidental. He is a superman whose soaring ambition mounts so high that earth cannot satisfy it. The bravest may be permitted to falter in the presence of the supernatural; but Don Juan fears neither heaven nor hell. His bravery transcends all known standards, and this one virtue, though it does not save him from hell, redeems him in popular esteem.
Don Flix de Montemar is the typical Don Juan type, a libertine, gambler, blasphemer, heartless seducer, but superhumanly brave. Yet the plot of Espronceda's poem bears closer resemblance to the story told of Miguel Maara.
Miguel Maara (often erroneously spelled Maraa) Vicentelo de Leca (1626-1679) was an alderman (veintecuatro) of Seville and a knight of Calatrava. As a youth his character resembled that of Don Juan. One day some hams sent to him from the country were intercepted by the customs. He started out to punish the offending officers, but on the way repented and thenceforth led a virtuous life. In 1661, after his wife's death, he entered the Hermandad de la Caridad, later becoming superior of that order. In his will he endowed the brotherhood with all his wealth and requested that he be buried under the threshold of the chapel of San Jorge. His sole epitaph was to be "Here repose the bones and ashes of the worst man who ever existed in the world." Don Miguel's biography was written by his friend the Jesuit Juan de Cardeas and was added to by Diego Lpez de Haro, "Breve relacin de la muerte, de la vida y virtudes de Don Miguel de Maara," Seville, 1680.
There soon sprang up a legend around the name of Maara. He is said to have fallen in love with the statue on the Giralda tower. On one occasion the devil gave him a light for his cigar, reaching across the Guadalquivir to do so. Again, he pursued a woman into the very cathedral, forcibly pulled aside her mantilla and discovered a skeleton. Yet more surprising, he was present, when still alive, at his own funeral in the Church of Santiago. But these stories associated with the name of Maara are much older than he. Antonio de Torquemada, "Jardn de Flores Curiosas," Salamanca, 1570, tells of an unnamed knight who fell in love with a nun. He enters her convent with false keys only to find a funeral in progress. On inquiring the name of the deceased, he is told that it is himself. He then runs home pursued by two devils in the form of dogs who tear him to pieces after he has made pious repentance. Cristbal Bravo turned this story into verse, Toledo, 1572. One or other of these versions appears to have been the source of Zorrilla's "El Capitn Montoya." Gaspar Cristbal Lozano, "Soledades de la Vida y Desengaos del Mundo" (Madrid, 1663), tells the same story, and is the first to name hero and heroine, Lisardo and Teodora. Lozano, too, is the first to make the male protagonist a Salamanca student. Lozano's version inspired two ballads entitled "Lisardo el Estudiante de Crdova." These were reprinted by Durn, Romancero general, Vol. I, pp. 264-268, where they are readily accessible.
This ballad of Lisardo the Student of Cordova was undoubtedly Espronceda's main source in writing "The Student of Salamanca," and to it he refers in line 2 with the words antiguas historias cuentan. Yet the indebtedness was small. Espronceda took from the ballad merely the idea of making the hero of the adventure a Salamanca student, and the episode of a man witnessing his own funeral. Needless to say Espronceda's finished versification owed nothing to the halting meter of the original. Lisardo, a Salamanca student, though a native of Cordova, falls in love with Teodora, sister of a friend, Claudio. Teodora is soon to become a nun. One night he makes love to her and is only mildly rebuked. But a ghostly swordsman warns him that he will be slain if he does not desist. Nevertheless he continues his wooing in spite of the fact that Teodora has become a nun. She agrees to elope. While on his way to the convent to carry out this design, his attention is attracted by a group of men attacking an individual. This individual proves to be himself, Lisardo. Lisardo, then, witnesses his own murder and subsequent funeral obsequies. This warning is too terrible not to heed. He gives over his attempt at seduction and leads an exemplary life.
There are many other examples in the literature of Spain of the man who sees his own funeral. Essentially the same story is told by Lope de Vega, "El Vaso de Eleccin. San Pablo." Bvotte thinks that Mrime in "Les Ames du purgatoire" was the first to combine the Don Juan and the Miguel de Maara legends, so closely alike in spirit, into a single work. But Said Armesto finds this fusion already accomplished in a seventeenth-century play, "El Nio Diablo." Dumas owed much to Mrime in writing his allegorical play "Don Juan de Maraa," first acted April 30, 1836. This became immediately popular in Spain. A mutilated Spanish version appeared, Tarragona, 1838, Imprenta de Chuli. It is doubtful whether Espronceda owes anything to either of these French works, although both works contain gambling scenes very similar to that in which Don Flix de Montemar intervened. In the Dumas play Don Juan stakes his mistress in a game, as Don Flix did his mistress's portrait. It seems likely that Espronceda derived his whole inspiration for this scene from Moreto's "San Franco de Sena," which he quotes.
The legend of the man who sees his own funeral belongs to the realm of folk-lore. Like superstitions are to be found wherever the Celtic race has settled. In Spain they are especially prevalent in Galicia and Asturias. There the estantigua or "ancient enemy" appears to those soon to die. These spirits, or almas en pena, appear wearing winding-sheets, bearing candles, a cross, and a bier on which a corpse is lying. Don Quijote in attacking the funeral procession probably thought he had to do with the estantigua. Furthermore, Said Armesto in his illuminating study "La Leyenda de Don Juan" proves that the custom of saying requiem masses for the living was very ancient in Spain. One recalls, too, how Charles V in his retirement at Yuste rehearsed his own funeral, actually entering the coffin while mass was being said.
Of all Espronceda's poems "El Estudiante de Salamanca" is the most popular. It has a unity and completeness lacking in both the "Pelayo" and "El Diablo Mundo." Every poet of the time was busy composing leyendas. Espronceda attempted this literary form but once, yet of all the numerous "legends" written in Spain this is the most fitted to survive. Nowhere else has the poet shown equal virtuosity in the handling of unusual meters. Nowhere among his works is there greater variety or harmony of verse. Though not the most serious, this is the most pleasing of his poems. Espronceda follows the Horatian precept of starting his story "in the middle of things." In the first part he creates the atmosphere of the uncanny, introduces the more important characters, and presents a striking situation. Part Second, the most admired, is elegiac in nature. It pleases by its simple melancholy. This part and the dramatic tableau of Part Three explain the cause of the duel with which Part One begins. Part Four resumes the thread of the narration where it was broken off in Part One, and ends with the Dance of Death which forms the climax of the whole. The character of Don Flix de Montemar is vigorously drawn. Originality cannot be claimed for it, as it is the conventional Don Juan Tenorio type. The character of Doa Elvira hardly merits the high praise of Spanish critics. She is a composite portrait of Ophelia, Marguerite, and two of Byron's characters, Doa Julia and Haide, a shadowy, unreal creation, as ghostly in life as in death. "The Student of Salamanca" tells a story vigorously and sweetly. It does not abound in quotable passages like the "Diablo Mundo." It is neither philosophic nor introspective. It teaches no lesson. Its merit is its perfection of form.
The best biography of Espronceda is that of Jos Cascales y Muoz, "D. Jos de Espronceda, su poca, su vida y sus obras," Madrid, 1914. This is an expansion of the same author's "Apuntes y Materiales para la Biografa de Espronceda," Revue hispanique, Vol. XXIII, pp. 5-108. See also a shorter article by the same author in La Espaa Moderna, Vol. CCXXXIV, pp. 27-48. Less critical, but useful, is Antonio Cortn, "Espronceda," Madrid, 1906. The very uncritical book by E. Rodrguez Sols, "Espronceda: su tiempo, su vida y sus obras," Madrid, 1883, is chiefly valuable now as the best source for Espronceda's parliamentary speeches. J. Fitzmaurice-Kelly's "Espronceda," The Modern Language Review, Vol. IV, pp, 20-39, is admirable as a biography and a criticism, though partially superseded by later works containing the results of new discoveries. P.H. Churchman, "Byron and Espronceda," Revue hispanique, Vol. XX, pp. 5-210, gives a short biography, though the study is in the main a penetrating investigation of Espronceda's sources. E. Pieyro has written two articles on Espronceda: "Poetas Famosos del Siglo XIX," Madrid, 1883, and "El Romanticismo en Espaa," Paris, 1904. This last was first printed in the Bulletin hispanique for 1903. The older biography of D.A. Ferrer del Ro, "Galera de la Literatura," Madrid, 1846, still has a certain value; but the most important source for Espronceda's youthful adventures is "El Discurso del Excmo. Seor D. Patricio de la Escosura, individuo de nmero de la Academia Espaola, ledo ante esta corporacin en la sesin pblica inaugural de 1870," Madrid, 1870. This matter is expanded in five very important articles which appeared in "La Ilustracin Espaola y Americana" for 1876 (February 8, February 22, June 22, July 8, September 22), partially reproduced in the book of Cascales y Muoz. See also Lpez Nez, "Jos de Espronceda, Biografa Anecdtica," Madrid, 1917 and A. Donoso, "La Juventud de Espronceda," Revista Chilena, July, 1917. The best study of Espronceda's philosophy is Bonilla y San Martn's, "El Pensamiento de Espronceda," La Espaa Moderna, Vol. CCXXXIV. For a recent short article see Cejador y Frauca, "Historia de la Lengua y Literatura Castellana," VII, Madrid, 1917, PP. 177-185.
The best bibliography of Espronceda's writings is that of Churchman, "An Espronceda Bibliography," Revue hispanique, XVII, pp. 741-777. This should be supplemented by reference to Georges Le Gentil, "Les Revues littraires de l'Espagne pendant la premire moiti du XIXe sicle," Paris, 1909. The least bad edition of Espronceda's poems is "Obras Poticas y Escritos en Prosa," Madrid, 1884. (The second volume, which was to contain the prose writings, never appeared.) See also the "Obras Poticas de Espronceda," Valladolid, 1900, and "Espronceda," Barcelona, 1906. Also "Pginas Olvidadas de Espronceda," Madrid, 1873. There has been a recent reprint of "Sancho Saldaa," Madrid, 1914, Repulls. Churchman has published "Blanca de Borbn," Revue hispanique, Vol. XVII, and also "More Inedita" in the same volume. There is said to be an English translation of "The Student of Salamanca," London, 1847. An excellent French version is that of R. Foulch-Delbosc, "L'tudiant de Salamanque," Paris, 1893. Mary J. Serrano has made splendid translations of "The Pirate" and "To Spain: An Elegy," Warner's Library of the World's Best Literature, Vol. XIV.
For a very full treatment and bibliography of the Don Juan Tenorio legend see G.G. de Bvotte, "La Lgende de Don Juan," Paris, 1911. Also Farinelli, Giornale Storico, XXVII, and "Homenaje a Menndez y Pelayo," Vol. I, p. 295; A.L. Stiefel, Jahresberichte fr neuere deutsche Litteraturgeschichte, 1898-1899, Vol. I, 7, pp. 74-79.
NOTES ON ESPRONCEDA'S VERSIFICATION
To enjoy the work of so musical an artist as Espronceda, the student must be able to read his verse in the original. This cannot be done without some knowledge of the rules which govern the writing of Spanish poetry. It therefore becomes necessary to give some account of the elementary principles of Spanish prosody. This is not the place for a complete treatment of the subject: only so much will be attempted as is necessary for the intelligent comprehension of our author's writings. A knowledge of English prosody will hinder rather than help the student; for the Spanish poet obeys very different laws from those which govern the writer of English verse.
The two essentials of Spanish poetry are (1) a fixed number of syllables in each verse (by verse we mean a single line of poetry); (2) a rhythmical arrangement of the syllables within the verse. Rime and assonance are hardly less important, but are not strictly speaking essential.
When a verse is stressed on the final syllable, it is called a verso agudo or masculine verse.
When a verse is stressed on the next to the last syllable, it is called a verso llano or feminine verse.
When a verse is stressed on the second from the last syllable, the antepenult, it is called a verso esdrjulo.
For the sake of convenience, the verso llano is considered the normal verse. Thus, in an eight-syllable verse of this type the final stress always falls on the seventh syllable, in a six- syllable verse on the fifth syllable, etc., always one short of the last. In the case of the verso agudo, where the final stress falls on the final syllable, a verse having actually seven syllables would nevertheless be counted as having eight. One syllable is always added in counting the syllables of a verso agudo, and, contrariwise, one is always subtracted from the total number of actual syllables in a verso esdrjulo. These three kinds of verses are frequently used together in the same strophe (copla or stanza) and held to be of equal length. Thus:
Turbios sus ojos, Sus graves prpados Flojos caer.
Theoretically these are all five-syllable verses. The first is a verso llano, the normal verse. It alone has five syllables. The second is a verso esdrjulo. It actually has six syllables, but theoretically is held to have five. The third is a verso agudo. It actually has but four syllables, but in theory is designated a five-syllable verse. All three verses agree in having the final stress fall upon the fourth syllable.
It would be simpler if, following the French custom, nothing after the final stress were counted; but Spaniards prefer to consider normal the verse of average length. It follows from this definition that a monosyllabic verse is an impossibility in Spanish. Espronceda writes:
Leve, Breve Sn.
He is not here dropping from dissyllabic to monosyllabic verse, but the last verse too must be considered a line of two syllables.
Espronceda never uses a measure of more than twelve syllables in the selections included in this book. Serious poets never attempt anything longer than a verse of sixteen syllables.
Spanish vowels are divided into two classes: the strong vowels, a, o, e, and the weak vowels, u, i. According to the Academy rules, followed by most grammarians, there can be no diphthongization of two strong vowels in the proper pronunciation of prose; only when a strong unites with a weak or two weaks unite can diphthongization take place. In verse, on the other hand, diphthongization of two strong vowels is not only allowable but common. This would probably not be the case if the same thing did not have considerable justification in colloquial practice. As a matter of fact we frequently hear ahora pronounced ora with diphthongization and shift of stress.
Of the three strong vowels, a is "dominant" over o and e; o is dominant over e; and any one of the three is dominant over u or i. A dominant vowel is one which has the power of attracting to itself the stress which, except for diphthongization, would fall on the other vowel with which it unites. The vowel losing the stress is called the "absorbed" vowel. This principle, which we find exemplified in the earliest poetic monuments of the language, must be thoroughly understood by the student of modern Spanish verse.
Syneresis is the uniting of two or three vowels, each of which is ordinarily possessed of full syllabic value, into a diphthong or a triphthong, thereby reducing the number of syllables in the word; h does not interfere with syneresis. Thus, area is normally a word of four syllables. In this verse it counts as three.
Mstica y area dudosa visin (12)
(The numbers in parentheses indicate the syllables in the verse. Remember that the figure represents the theoretical number of syllables in the line, and indicates the actual number only in the case of the verso llano. Furthermore, the figure has been determined by a comparison with adjacent lines in the same stanzas, verses which offer no metrical difficulties.) So likewise in:
Y en area fantstica danza (10)
In the following we have double syneresis, and the word has but two syllables:
Aerea como dorada mariposa (11)
Examples of syneresis after the tonic stress:
Rechinan girando las frreas veletas (12) Todos atropellndoos en montn (11) Palpa en torno de s, y el impio jura (11)
Impio, usually impo, is one of a number of words admitting of two stresses. Such are called words of double accentuation. The principle is different from that governing the stress-shift explained above. The word has its ordinary value in the following:
Bienvenida la luz, dijo el impo (11)
Examples of syneresis before the tonic stress:
Se siente con sus lgrimas ahogar (11) Tu pecho de roedor remordimiento (11) Ay! El que la triste realidad palp! (12) Toda la sangre coagulada enva (11) Quin en su propia sangre los ahog? (11) Tanto delirio a realizar alcanza (11) Ahogar me siento en infernal tortura (11)
Examples of syneresis under stress:
El blanco ropaje que ondeante se ve (12) Las piedras con las piedras se golpearon (11) Ahora adelante? Dijo, y en seguida (11)
In the first two examples there is no stress-shift. In the third, the stress travels from the o of Ahora to the initial a. In the following example ahora has three syllables:
Ser ms tarde que ahora (8)
The rule regarding syneresis under stress is that it is allowable, with or without resulting stress-shift, except when the combinations a, o, a, are involved. Espronceda violates the rule in this instance:
Veame en vuestros brazos y mteme luego (12)
This is a peculiarly violent and harsh syneresis. The stress shifts from the first e to the a, giving a pronunciation very different from that of the usual vame. Such a syneresis is more pardonable at the beginning of a verse than in any other position; but good modern poets strive to avoid such harshnesses. Espronceda sometimes makes ro monosyllabic:
Los rios su curso natural reprimen (11)
In the poetry of the Middle Ages and Renaissance such pronunciations as teni for tena are common.
Dieresis is the breaking up of vowel-combinations in such a way as to form an additional syllable in the word. It is the opposite of syneresis. Dieresis never occurs in the case of the diphthongs ie and ue derived from Latin (e), and (o), in words like tierra, bueno, etc. U and u are regularly dissyllabic except after c, g, and j. Examples:
Y en su blanca luz save (8) En la playa un adar (8) En vez de desafaros (8) Compaero eterno su dolor crel (12) Grandosa, satnica figura (11) El carado, lvido esqueleto (11) La Luna en el mar rela (8) Clera, impetuoso torbellino (11) Horas de confianza y de delicias (11) En crdenos matices cambiaban (11) Rido de pasos de gente que viene (12)
The same word without dieresis:
Por las losas deslzase sin ruido (11)
In certain words, such as cruel, metrical custom preserves a pronunciation in which the adjacent vowels have separate syllabic value. Traditional grammar, represented by the Academy, asserts that such is the correct pronunciation of these words to this day; but the actual speech of the best speakers diphthongizes these vowels, and their separation in poetry must rank as a dieresis. In printing poetry it is customary to print the mark of dieresis on many words in which dieresis is regular as well as on those in which it is exceptional.
Synalepha is the combining into one syllable of two or more adjacent vowels or diphthongs of different words. It is the same phenomenon as syneresis extended beyond the single word. H does not prevent synalepha. The number of synalephas possible in a single verse is theoretically limited only by the number of syllables in that verse. A simple instance:
De alguna arruinada iglesia (8)
The number of vowels entering into a synalepha is commonly two or three; rarely four, and, by a tour de force, even five:
Ni envidio a Eudoxia ni codicio a Eulalia (11)
Synalepha is not prevented by any mark of punctuation separating the two words nor by the caesural pause (see below). In dramatic verse a synalepha may even be divided between two speakers. In the short lines of "El Mendigo," Espronceda mingles four- with five-syllable verses. But as the five-syllable verses begin with vowels and the preceding four-syllable verses end with vowels, the former sound no longer than the rest. In very short lines synalepha may occur between one verse and another following it. See also line 1389 of "El Estudiante de Salamanca."
1. The simplest case is where both vowels entering into synalepha occur in unstressed syllables:
Informes, en que se escuchan (8)
When the two vowels coming together are identical, as here, they fuse into a single sound (s'escuchan), with only a slight gain in the quantity of the vowel. Se here has no individual accent in the stress-group. Where the vowels in synalepha are different, each is sounded, but the stronger or more dominant is the one more distinctly heard:
Vagar, y allan los perros (8)
2. The second case is where the vowel or diphthong ending the first word in the synalepha bears the stress, and the initial vowel or diphthong of the second word is unstressed. Examples which do not involve stress-shift:
Del que mat en desafo (8) Que no he seguido a una dama (8)
(He is without stress in the group.)
JUGADOR PRIMERO No tardar.
JUGADOR TERCERO Envido.
JUGADOR PRIMERO Quiero. (8)
In the following examples stress-shift occurs, because the unstressed vowel is dominant while the stressed vowel is absorbed. Such stress-shifts as these are sanctioned only when they do not coincide with a strong rhythmic stress (see below) in the verse. They are less offensive at the beginning than at the end:
All en la triste soledad se hallaron (11) T el aroma en las flores exhalas (10) Al punto aqu castigar al medroso (11)
The following are disagreeably harsh:
Que estas torres llegu a ver (8) De inciertos pesares por qu hacerla esclava (12)
3. The third case is where the second vowel or diphthong bears the stress, while the first is unstressed:
Teida de palo y grana (8)
In cases like these we are dealing with a form of synalepha which, if not true elision, approaches it closely. According to Benot, the pronunciation is not quite d'palo, but "there is an attempt at elision." In other words, the second vowel or diphthong, if dominant, so predominates over the first that it is scarcely audible. Under this case, too, there may arise stress-shift:
Se hizo el bigote, requiri la espada (11)
This is a very bad verse. But such instances are rare in Espronceda and good modern poets. They are never sanctioned in connection with a strong rhythmic stress. In such a case hiatus (see below) is favored as the lesser of two evils.
4. The fourth case is where each of the two vowels bears the stress:
As, ante nosotros pasa en ilusin (12)
What happens here is that one of the two stresses becomes subordinate to the other, the stress being wholly assumed by the more dominant of the two.
Where three or more vowels unite in a synalepha, two things must be borne in mind: (1) Stress-shift is not harsh to the Spanish ear, and is always permissible, if more than two vowels are involved. This is Espronceda's justification in the following:
Si se muri, a lo hecho, pecho (8) Necesito ahora dinero (8) Su pecho ahogado (5)
(2) The vowels of three words may not combine if the middle word is y, e, he, o, or u. Examples:
Pues no ha hecho mal disparate! (8) Que conduce a esta mansin (8) But: Cuando en sueo y en silencio (8) Si tal vez suena o est (8) Alma fiera e insolente (8)
There is one case in the text where he as middle word does enter into synalepha, but this is merely the fusion of three identical vowels:
Yo me he echado el alma atrs (8)
Hiatus is the breaking up into two syllables of vowel combinations in adjacent words capable of entering into synalepha. It is an extension to the word-group of dieresis, which applies only to a single word.
Many authorities on Spanish versification recognize as hiatus various cases which should not be so classified. In words like yo, yerro, hierro, huevo, etc., the first phonetic element is in each case a semi-vowel, and these semi-vowels have the value of consonants in the words cited. To classify the following as examples of hiatus is to be phonetically unsound: