Modern Spanish Lyrics
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ELIJAH CLARENCE HILLS, PH. D., LITT.D. Professor of Romance Languages in Colorado College


S. GRISWOLD MORLEY, PH. D. University of Colorado



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The present volume aims to furnish American students of Spanish with a convenient selection of the Castilian lyrics best adapted to class reading. It was the intention of the editors to include no poem which did not possess distinct literary value. On the other hand, some of the most famous Spanish lyrics do not seem apt to awaken the interest of the average student: it is for this reason that scholars will miss the names of certain eminent poets of the siglo de oro. The nineteenth century, hardly inferior in merit and nearer to present-day readers in thought and language, is much more fully represented. No apology is needed for the inclusion of poems by Spanish-American writers, for they will bear comparison both in style and thought with the best work from the mother Peninsula.

The Spanish poems are presented chronologically, according to the dates of their authors. The Spanish-American poems are arranged according to countries and chronologically within those divisions. Omissions are indicated by rows of dots and are due in all cases to the necessity of bringing the material within the limits of a small volume. Three poems (the Fiesta de toros of Moratin, the Castellano leal of Rivas and the Leyenda of Zorrilla) are more narrative than lyric. The romances selected are Page iv the most lyrical of their kind. A few songs have been added to illustrate the relation of poetry to music.

The editors have been constantly in consultation in all parts of the work, but the preparation of the Prosody, the Notes (including articles on Spanish-American literature) and the part of the Introduction dealing with the nineteenth century, was undertaken by Mr. Hills, while Mr. Morley had in charge the Introduction prior to 1800, and the Vocabulary. Aid has been received from many sources. Special thanks are due to Professor J.D.M. Ford and Dr. A.F. Whittem of Harvard University, Don Ricardo Palma of Peru, Don Ruben Dario of Nicaragua, Don Rufino Blanco-Fombona of Venezuela, Professor Carlos Bransby of the University of California, and Dr. Alfred Coester of Brooklyn, N.Y.



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PREFACE INTRODUCTION: I. Spanish Lyric Poetry to 1800 II. Spanish Lyric Poetry of the Nineteenth Century III. Spanish Versification


ROMANCES: Abenamar Fonte-frida El conde Arnaldos La constancia El amante desdichado El prisionero VINCENTE (GIL) (1470-1540?) Cancion TERESA DE JESUS (SANTA) (1515-1582) Letrilla (que llevaba por registro en su breviario) LEON (FRAY LUIS DE) (1527-1591) Vida retirada ANONIMO A Cristo crucificado VEGA (LOPE DE) (1562-1635) Cancion de la Virgen Manana QUEVEDO (FRANCISCO DE) (1580-1645) Epistola satirica al conde de Olivares Letrilla satirica VILLEGAS (ESTEBAN MANUEL DE) (1589-1669) Cantilena: De un pajarillo CALDERON DE LA BARCA (PEDRO) (1600-1681) "Estas que fueron pompa y alegria," Consejo de Crespo a su hijo GONZALEZ (FRAY DIEGO) (1733-1794) El murcielago alevoso page vi MORATIN (NICOLAS F. DE) (1737-1780) Fiesta de toros en Madrid JOVELLANOS (GASPAR M. DE) (1744-1811) A Arnesto MELENDEZ VALDES (JUAN) (1754-1817) Rosana en los fuegos QUINTANA (MANUEL JOSE) (1772-1857) Oda a Espana, despues de la revolucion de marzo SOLIS (DIONISIO) (1774-1834) La pregunta de la nina GALLEGO (JUAN NICASIO) (1777-1853) El Dos de Mayo MARTINEZ DE LA ROSA (FRANCISCO) (1787-1862) El nido RIVAS (DUQUE DE) (1791-1865) Un castellano leal AROLAS (PADRE JUAN) (1805-1849) "Se mas feliz que yo" ESPRONCEDA (JOSE DE) (1808-1842) Cancion del pirata A la patria ZORRILLA (JOSE) (1817-1893) Oriental Indecision La fuente A buen juez, mejor testigo TRUEBA (ANTONIO DE) (1821-1889) Cantos de pajaro La perejilera SELGAS (JOSE) (1821-1882) La modestia ALARCON (PEDRO ANTONIO DE) (1833-1891) El Mont-Blanc El secreto BECQUER (GUSTAVO A.) (1836-1870) Rimas: II VII LIII LXXIII page vii QUEROL (VINCENTE WENCESLAO) (1836-1889) En Noche-Buena CAMPOAMOR (RAMON DE) (1817-1901) Proximidad del bien iQuien supiera escribir! El mayor castigo NUNEZ DE ARCE (GASPAR) (1834-1903) iExcelsior! Tristezas iSursum Corda! PALACIO (MANUEL DEL) (1832-1895) Amor oculto BARTRINA (JOAQUIN MARIA) (1850-1880) Arabescos REINA (MANUEL) (1860-) La poesia


ECHEVERRIA (O. ESTEBAN) (1805-1851) Cancion de Elvira ANDRADE (OLEGARIO VICTOR) (1838-1882) Atlantida Prometeo OBLIGADO (RAFAEL) (1852-) En la ribera


ORTIZ (JOSE JOAQUIN) (1814-1892) Colombia y Espana CARO (JOSE EUSEBIO) (1817-1853) El cipres MARROQUIN (JOSE MANUEL) (1827-) Los cazadores y la perrilla CARO (MIGUEL ANTONIO) (1843-1909) Vuelta a la patria page viii ARRIETA (DIOGENES A.) (1848-) En la tumba de mi hijo GUTIERREZ PONCE (IGNACIO) (1850-) Dolora GARAVITO A. (JOSE MARIA) (1860-) Volvere manana


HEREDIA (JOSE MARIA) (1803-1839) En el teocalli de Cholula El Niagara "PLACIDO" (GABRIEL DE LA CONCEPCION VALDES) (1809-1844) Plegaria a Dios AVELLANEDA (GERTRUDIS GOMEZ DE) (1814-1873) A Washington Al partir


OLMEDO (JOSE JOAQUIN) (1780-1847) La victoria de Junin


PESADO (JOSE JOAQUIN DE) (1801-1861) Serenata CALDERON (FERNANDO) (1809-1845) La rosa marchita ACUNA (MANUEL) (1849-1873) Nocturno: A Rosario PEZA (JUAN DE DIOS) (1852-1910) Reir llorando Fusiles y munecas


DARIO (RUBEN) (1864-) A Roosevelt page ix VENEZUELA

BELLO (ANDRES) (1781-1865) A la victoria de Bailen La agricultura de la zona torrida PEREZ BONALDE (JUAN ANTONIO) (1846-1892) Vuelta a la patria MARTIN DE LA GUARDIA (HERACLIO) (1830-) Ultima ilusion


La carcelera Riverana La cachucha La valenciana Cancion devota La jota gallega El tragala Himno de Riego Himno nacional de Mexico Himno nacional de Cuba



[Transcriber's note a: The vocabulary section has not been submitted for transcription.}




It has been observed that epic poetry, which is collective and objective in its nature, always reaches its full development in a nation sooner than lyric poetry, which is individual and subjective. Such is certainly the case in Spain. Numerous popular epics of much merit existed there in the Middle Ages.[1] Of a popular lyric there are few traces in the same period; and the Castilian lyric as an art-form reached its height in the sixteenth, and again in the nineteenth, centuries. It is necessary always to bear in mind the distinction between the mysterious product called popular poetry, which is continually being created but seldom finds its way into the annals of literature, and artistic poetry. The chronicler of the Spanish lyric is concerned with the latter almost exclusively, though he will have occasion to mention the former not infrequently as the basis of some of the best artificial creations.

[Footnote 1: The popular epics were written in assonating lines of variable length. There were also numerous monkish narrative poems (mester de clerecia) in stanzas of four Alexandrine lines each, all riming (cuaderna via).]

If one were to enumerate ab origine the lyric productions of the Iberian Peninsula he might begin with the vague references of Strabo to the songs of its primitive inhabitants, and then pass on to Latin page xii poets of Spanish birth, such as Seneca, Lucan and Martial. The later Spaniards who wrote Christian poetry in Latin, as Juvencus and Prudentius, might then be considered. But in order not to embrace many diverse subjects foreign to the contents of this collection, we must confine our inquiry to lyric production in the language of Castile, which became the dominating tongue of the Kingdom of Spain.

Such a restriction excludes, of course, the Arabic lyric, a highly artificial poetry produced abundantly by the Moors during their occupation of the south of Spain; it excludes also the philosophical and religious poetry of the Spanish Jews, by no means despicable in thought or form. Catalan poetry, once written in the Provencal manner and of late happily revived, also lies outside our field.

Even the Galician poetry, which flourished so freely under the external stimulus of the Provencal troubadours, can be included only with regard to its influence upon Castilian. The Galician dialect, spoken in the northwest corner of the Peninsula, developed earlier than the Castilian of the central region, and it was adopted by poets in other parts for lyric verse. Alfonso X of Castile (reigned 1252-1284) could write prose in Castilian, but he must needs employ Galician for his Cantigas de Santa Maria. The Portuguese nobles, with King Diniz (reigned 1279-1325) at their head, filled the idle hours of their bloody and passionate lives by composing strangely abstract, conventional poems of love and religion in the manner of the Provencal canso, dansa, balada and pastorela, which had had such a luxuriant growth in Southern France in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. A highly elaborated metrical system mainly distinguishes these writers, but some of page xiii their work catches a pleasing lilt which is supposed to represent the imitation of songs of the people. The popular element in the Galician productions is slight, but it was to bear important fruit later, for its spirit is that of the serranas of Ruiz and Santillana, and of villancicos and eclogues in the sixteenth century.

It was probably in the neighborhood of 1350 that lyrics began to be written in Castilian by the cultured classes of Leon and Castile, who had previously thought Galician the only proper tongue for that use, but the influence of the Galician school persisted long after. The first real lyric in Castilian is its offspring. This is the anonymous Razon feyta d'amor or Aventura amorosa (probably thirteenth century), a dainty story of the meeting of two lovers. It is apparently an isolated example, ahead of its time, unless, as is the case with the Castilian epic, more poems are lost than extant. The often quoted Cantica de la Virgen of Gonzalo de Berceo (first half of thirteenth century), with its popular refrain Eya velar, is an oasis in the long religious epics of the amiable monk of S. Millan de la Cogolla. One must pass into the succeeding century to find the next examples of the true lyric. Juan RUIZ, the mischievous Archpriest of Hita (flourished ca. 1350), possessed a genius sufficiently keen and human to infuse a personal vigor into stale forms. In his Libro de buen amor he incorporated lyrics both sacred and profane, Loores de Santa Maria and Canticas de serrana, plainly in the Galician manner and of complex metrical structure. The serranas are particularly free and unconventional. The Chancellor Pero LOPEZ DE AYALA (1332-1407), wise statesman, brilliant historian and trenchant page xiv satirist, wrote religious songs in the same style and still more intricate in versification. They are included in the didactic poem usually called El rimado de palacio.

Poetry flourished in and about the courts of the monarchs of the Trastamara family; and what may be supposed a representative collection of the work done in the reigns of Henry II (1369-1379), John I (1379-1388), Henry III (1388-1406) and the minority of John II (1406-1454), is preserved for us in the Cancionero which Juan Alfonso de Baena compiled and presented to the last-named king. Two schools of versifiers are to be distinguished in it. The older men, such as Villasandino, Sanchez de Talavera, Macias, Jerena, Juan Rodriguez del Padron and Baena himself, continued the artificial Galician tradition, now run to seed. In others appears the imitation of Italian models which was to supplant the ancient fashion. Francisco Imperial, a worshiper of Dante, and other Andalusians such as Ruy Paez de Ribera, Pero Gonzalez de Uceda and Ferran Manuel de Lando, strove to introduce Italian meters and ideas. They first employed the Italian hendecasyllable, although it did not become acclimated till the days of Boscan. They likewise cultivated the metro de arte mayor, which later became so prominent (see below, p. lxxv ff.). But the interest of the poets of the Cancionero de Baena is mainly historical. In spite of many an illuminating side-light on manners, of political invective and an occasional glint of imagination, the amorous platitudes and wire-drawn love-contests of the Galician school, the stiff allegories of the Italianates leave us cold. It was a transition period and the most talented were unable to master the undeveloped poetic language. page xv

The same may be said, in general, of the whole fifteenth century. Although the language became greatly clarified toward 1500 it was not yet ready for masterly original work in verse. Invaded by a flood of Latinisms, springing from a novel and undigested humanism, encumbered still with archaic words and set phrases left over from the Galicians, it required purification at the hands of the real poets and scholars of the sixteenth century. The poetry of the fifteenth is inferior to the best prose of the same epoch; it is not old enough to be quaint and not modern enough to meet a present-day reader upon equal terms.

These remarks apply only to artistic poetry. Popular poetry,—that which was exemplified in the Middle Ages by the great epics of the Cid, the Infantes de Lara and other heroes, and in songs whose existence can rather be inferred than proved,—was never better. It produced the lyrico-epic romances (see Notes, p. 253), which, as far as one may judge from their diction and from contemporary testimony, received their final form at about this time, though in many cases of older origin. It produced charming little songs which some of the later court poets admired sufficiently to gloss. But the cultured writers, just admitted to the splendid cultivated garden of Latin literature, despised these simple wayside flowers and did not care to preserve them for posterity.

The artistic poetry of the fifteenth century falls naturally into three classes, corresponding to three currents of influence; and all three frequently appear in the work of one man, not blended, but distinct. One is the conventional love-poem of the Galician school, seldom containing a fresh or personal note. Another is the stilted allegory with erotic or historical page xvi content, for whose many sins Dante was chiefly responsible, though Petrarch, he of the Triunfi, and Boccaccio cannot escape some blame. Third is a vein of highly moral reflections upon the vanity of life and certainty of death, sometimes running to political satire. Its roots may be found in the Book of Job, in Seneca and, nearer at hand, in the Proverbios morales of the Jew Sem Tob (ca. 1350), in the Rimado de Palacio of Ayala, and in a few poets of the Cancionero de Baena.

John II was a dilettante who left the government of the kingdom to his favorite, Alvaro de Luna. He gained more fame in the world of letters than many better kings by fostering the study of literature and gathering about him a circle of "court poets" nearly all of noble birth. Only two names among them all imperatively require mention. Inigo LOPEZ DE MENDOZA, MARQUIS OF SANTILLANA (1398-1458) was the finest type of grand seigneur, protector of letters, student, warrior, poet and politician. He wrote verse in all three of the manners just named, but he will certainly be longest remembered for his serranillas, the fine flower of the Provencal-Galician tradition, in which the poet describes his meeting with a country lass. Santillana combined the freshest local setting with perfection of form and left nothing more to be desired in that genre. He also wrote the first sonnets in Castilian, but they are interesting only as an experiment, and had no followers. Juan de MENA (1411-1456) was purely a literary man, without other distinction of birth or accomplishment. His work is mainly after the Italian model. The Laberinto de fortuna, by which he is best known, is a dull allegory with much of Dante's apparatus. There are historical passages where the poet's patriotism leads him page xvii to a certain rhetorical height, but his good intentions are weighed down by three millstones: slavish imitation, the monotonous arte mayor stanza and the deadly earnestness of his temperament. He enjoyed great renown and authority for many decades.

Two anonymous poems of about the same time deserve mention. The Danza de la muerte, the Castilian representative of a type which appeared all over Europe, shows death summoning mortals from all stations of life with ghastly glee. The Coplas de Mingo Revulgo, promulgated during the reign of Henry IV (1454-1474), are a political satire in dialogue form, and exhibit for the first time the peculiar peasant dialect that later became a convention of the pastoral eclogues and also of the country scenes in the great drama.

The second half of the century continues the same tendencies with a notable development in the fluidity of the language and an increasing interest in popular poetry. Gomez Manrique (d. 1491?) was another warrior of a literary turn whose best verses are of a severely moral nature. His nephew JORGE MANRIQUE (1440-1478) wrote a single poem of the highest merit; his scanty other works are forgotten. The Coplas por la muerte de su padre, beautifully translated by Longfellow, contain some laments for the writer's personal loss, but more general reflections upon the instability of worldly glory. It is not to be thought that this famous poem is in any way original in idea; the theme had already been exploited to satiety, but Manrique gave it a superlative perfection of form and a contemporary application which left no room for improvement.

There were numerous more or less successful love-poets of the conventional type writing in page xviii octosyllabics and the inevitable imitators of Dante with their unreadable allegories in arte mayor. The repository for the short poems of these writers is the Cancionero general of Hernando de Castillo (1511). It was reprinted many times throughout the sixteenth century. Among the writers represented in it one should distinguish, however, Rodrigo de Cota. His dramatic Dialogo entre el amor y un viejo has real charm, and has saved his name from the oblivion to which most of his fellows have justly been consigned. The bishop Ambrosio Montesino (Cancionero, 1508) was a fervent religious poet and the precursor of the mystics of fifty years later.

The political condition of Spain improved immensely in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella (1479-1516) and the country entered upon a period of internal homogeneity and tranquility which might be expected to foster artistic production. Such was the case; but literature was not the first of the arts to reach a highly refined state. The first half of the sixteenth century is a period of humanistic study, and the poetical works coming from it were still tentative. JUAN DEL ENCINA (1469-1533?) is important in the history of the drama, for his eglogas, representaciones and autos are practically the first Spanish dramas not anonymous. As a lyric poet Encina excels in the light pastoral; he was a musician as well as a poet, and his bucolic villancicos and glosas in stanzas of six-and eight-syllable lines are daintily written and express genuine love of nature. The Portuguese GIL VICENTE (1470-1540?) was a follower of Encina at first, but a much bigger man. Like most of his compatriots of the sixteenth century he wrote in both Portuguese and Castilian, though better in the former tongue. He was close to the people in his thinking and writing page xix and some of the songs contained in his plays reproduce the truest popular savor.

The intimate connection between Spain and Italy during the period when the armies of the Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain: reigned 1516-1555) were overrunning the latter country gave a new stimulus to the imitation of Italian meters and poets which we have seen existed in a premature state since the reign of John II. The man who first achieved real success in the hendecasyllable, combined in sonnets, octaves, terza rima and blank verse, was Juan BOSCAN ALMOGAVER (1490?-1542), a Catalan of wealth and culture. Boscan was handicapped by writing in a tongue not native to him and by the constant holding of foreign models before his eyes, and he was not a man of genius; yet his verse kept to a loftier ideal than had appeared for a long time and his effort to lift Castilian poetry from the slough of convention into which it had fallen was successful. During the rest of the century the impulse given by Boscan divided Spanish lyrists into two opposing hosts, the Italianates and those who clung to the native meters (stanzas of short, chiefly octosyllabic, lines, for the arte mayor had sunk by its own weight).

The first and greatest of Boscan's disciples was his close friend GARCILASO DE LA VEGA (1503-1536) who far surpassed his master. He was a scion of a most noble family, a favorite of the emperor, and his adventurous career, passed mostly in Italy, ended in a soldier's death. His poems, however (eglogas, canciones, sonnets, etc.), take us from real life into the sentimental world of the Arcadian pastoral. Shepherds discourse of their unrequited loves and mourn amid surroundings of an idealized Nature. page xx The pure diction, the Vergilian flavor, the classic finish of these poems made them favorites in Spain from the first, and their author has always been regarded as a master.

With Garcilaso begins the golden age of Spanish poetry and of Spanish literature in general, which may be said to close in 1681 with the death of Calderon. It was a period of external greatness, of conquest both in Europe and beyond the Atlantic, but it contained the germs of future decay. The strength of the nation was exhausted in futile warfare, and virile thought was stifled by the Inquisition, supported by the monarchs. Hence the luxuriant literature of the time runs in the channels farthest from underlying social problems; philosophy and political satire are absent, and the romantic drama, novel and lyric flourish. But in all external qualities the poetry written during this period has never been equaled in Spain. Its polish, color and choiceness of language have been the admiration and model of later Castilian poets.

The superficial nature of this literature is exhibited in the controversy excited by the efforts of Boscan and Garcilaso to substitute Italian forms for the older Spanish ones. The discussion dealt with externals; with meters, not ideas. Both schools delighted in the airy nothings of the conventional love lyric, and it matters little at this distance whether they were cast in lines of eleven or eight syllables.

The contest was warm at the time, however. Sa de Miranda (1495-1558), the chief exponent of the Italian school in Portugal, wrote effectively also in Castilian. Gutierre de Cetina (1518?-1572?) and Fernando de Acuna (1500?-1580?) are two others who supported the new measures. One whose example had more influence is Diego Hurtado de page xxi Mendoza (1503-1575), a famous diplomat, humanist and historian. He entertained his idle moments with verse, writing cleverly in the old style but turning also toward the new. His sanction for the latter seems to have proved decisive.

Cristobal de CASTILLEJO (1490-1556) was the chief defender of the native Spanish forms. He employed them himself in light verse with cleverness, clearness and finish, and also attacked the innovators with all the resources of a caustic wit. In this patriotic task he was for a time aided by an organist of the cathedral at Granada, Gregorio Silvestre (1520-1569), of Portuguese birth. Silvestre, however, who is noted for the delicacy of his poems in whatever style, was later attracted by the popularity of the Italian meters and adopted them.

This literary squabble ended in the most natural way, namely, in the co-existence of both manners in peace and harmony. Italian forms were definitively naturalized in Spain, where they have maintained their place ever since. Subsequent poets wrote in either style or both as they felt moved, and no one reproached them. Such was the habit of Lope de Vega, Gongora, Quevedo and the other great writers of the seventeenth century.

A Sevillan Italianate was Fernando de HERRERA (1534?-1597), admirer and annotator of Garcilaso. Although an ecclesiastic, his poetic genius was more virile than that of his soldier master. He wrote Petrarchian sonnets to his platonic lady; but his martial, patriotic spirit appears in his canciones, especially in those on the battle of Lepanto and on the expedition of D. Sebastian of Portugal in Africa. In these stirring odes Herrera touches a sonorous, grandiloquent chord which rouses the page xxii reader's enthusiasm and places the writer in the first rank of Spanish lyrists. He is noteworthy also in that he made an attempt to create a poetic language by the rejection of vulgar words and the coinage of new ones. Others, notably Juan de Mena, had attempted it before, and Gongora afterward carried it to much greater lengths; but the idea never succeeded in Castilian to an extent nearly so great as it did in France, for example; and to-day the best poetical diction does not differ greatly from good conversational language.

Beside Herrera stands a totally different spirit, the Salamancan monk Luis DE LEON (1527-1591). The deep religious feeling which is one strong trait of Spanish character has its representatives in Castilian literature from Berceo down, but Leon was the first to give it fine artistic expression. The mystic sensation of oneness with the divine, of aspiration to heavenly joys, breathes in all his writings. He was also a devoted student of the classics, and his poems (for which he cared nothing and which were not published till 1631) show Latin rather than Italian influence. There is nothing in literature more pure, more serene, more direct or more polished than La vida del campo, Noche serena and others of his compositions.

The other great mystics cared less for literature, either as a study or an accomplishment. The poems of Saint Theresa (1515-1582) are few and mostly mediocre. San Juan de la Cruz, the Ecstatic Doctor (1542-1591), wrote the most exalted spiritual poems in the language; like all the mystics, he was strongly attracted by the Song of Songs which was paraphrased by Pedro Malon de Chaide (1530-1596?). It is curious to note that the stanza adopted in the great mystical lyrics is one page xxiii invented by Garcilaso and used in his amatory fifth Cancion. It has the rime-scheme of the Spanish quintilla, but the lines are the Italian eleven-and seven-syllable (cf. pp. 9-12). Religious poems in more popular forms are found in the Romancero espiritual (1612) of Jose de Valdivielso, and in Lope de Vega's Rimas sacras (1614) and Romancero espiritual (1622).

There were numerous secular disciples of Garcilaso at about the same period. The names most deserving mention are those of Francisco de la Torre (d. 1594?), Luis Barahona de Soto (1535?-1595) and Francisco de Figueroa (1536?-1620), all of whom wrote creditably and sometimes with distinction in the Italian forms. Luis de Camoens (1524?-1580), author of the great Portuguese epic Os Lusiadas, employed Castilian in many verses with happy result.

These figures lead to the threshold of the seventeenth century which opened with a tremendous literary output in many lines. Cervantes was writing his various novels; the romance of roguery took on new life with Guzman de Alfarache (1599); the drama, which had been developing rather slowly and spasmodically, burst suddenly into full flower with Lope de Vega and his innumerable followers. The old meter of the romance was adopted as a favorite form by all sorts and conditions of poets and was turned from its primitive epic simplicity to the utmost variety of subjects, descriptive, lyric and satiric.

From out this flood of production—for every dramatist was in a measure a lyric poet, and dramatists were legion—we can select for consideration only the men most prominent as lyrists. First in the impulse which he gave to literature for more than a century following stands Luis de ARGOTE Y GONGORA (1561-1627), a Cordovan page xxiv who chose to be known by his mother's name. His life was mainly that of a disappointed place-hunter. His abrupt change of literary manner has made some say that there were in him two poets, Gongora the Good and Gongora the Bad. He began by writing odes in the manner of Herrera and romances and villancicos which are among the clearest and best. They did not bring their author fame, however, and he seems deliberately to have adopted the involved metaphoric style to which Marini gave his name in Italy. Gongora is merely the Spanish representative of the movement, which also produced Euphuism in England and preciosite in France. But he surpassed all previous writers in the extreme to which he carried the method, and his Soledades and Polifemo are simply unintelligible for the inversions and strained metaphors with which they are overloaded.

His influence was enormous. Gongorism, or culteranismo, as it was called at the time, swept the minor poets with it, and even those who fought the movement most vigorously, like Lope and Quevedo, were not wholly free from the contagion. The second generation of dramatists was strongly affected. Yet there are few lyric poets worth mentioning among Gongora's disciples for the reason that such a pernicious system meant certain ruin to those who lacked the master's talent. The most important names are the Count of Villamediana (1580-1622), a satirist whose sharp tongue caused his assassination, and Paravicino y Arteaga (1580-1633), a court preacher.

Obviously, such an innovation could not pass without opposition from clear-sighted men. LOPE DE VEGA (1562-1635) attacked it whenever opportunity offered, and his verse seldom shows signs of corruption. It page xxv is impossible to consider the master-dramatist at length here. He wrote over 300 sonnets, many excellent eclogues, epistles, and, in more popular styles, glosses, letrillas, villancicos, romances, etc. Lope more than any other poet of his time kept his ear close to the people, and his light poems are full of the delicious breath of the country.

The other principal opponent of Gongorism was Francisco GOMEZ DE QUEVEDO Y VILLEGAS (1580-1645), whose wit and independence made him formidable. In 1631 he published the poems of Luis de Leon and Francisco de la Torre as a protest against the baleful mannerism in vogue. But he himself adopted a hardly less disagreeable style, called conceptism, which is supposed to have been invented by Alonso de Ledesma (1552-1623). It consists in a strained search for unusual thoughts which entails forced paradoxes, antitheses and epigrams. This system, combined with local allusions, double meanings and current slang, in which Quevedo delighted, makes his poems often extremely difficult of comprehension. His romances de jaques, written in thieves' jargon, are famous in Spain. Quevedo wrote too much and carelessly and tried to cover too many fields, but at his best his caustic wit and fearless vigor place him high.

There were not lacking poets who kept themselves free from taint of culteranismo, though they did not join in the fight against it. The brothers Argensola (LUPERCIO LEONARDO DE ARGENSOLA, 1559-1613, BARTOLOME LEONARDO DE ARGENSOLA, 1562-1631), of Aragonese birth, turned to Horace and other classics as well as to Italy for their inspiration. Their pure and dignified sonnets, odes and translations rank high. Juan MARTINEZ DE JAUREGUI page xxvi (1583-1641) wrote a few original poems, but is known mainly for his excellent translation of Tasso's Aminta. He too succumbed to Gongorism at times. The few poems of Francisco de RIOJA (1586?-1659) are famous for the purity of their style and their tender melancholy tone. A little apart is Esteban Manuel de VILLEGAS (1589-1669), an admirer of the Argensolas, "en versos cortos divino, insufrible en los mayores," who is known for his attempts in Latin meters and his successful imitations of Anacreon and Catullus.

The lyrics of CALDERON (1600-1681) are to be found mostly in his comedias and autos. There are passages which display great gifts in the realm of pure poetry, but too often they are marred by the impertinent metaphors characteristic of culteranismo.

His name closes the most brilliant era of Spanish letters. The decline of literature followed close upon that of the political power of Spain. The splendid empire of Charles V had sunk, from causes inherent in the policies of that over-ambitious monarch, through the somber bigotry of Philip II, the ineptitude of Philip III, the frivolity of Philip IV, to the imbecility of Charles II; and the death of the last of the Hapsburg rulers in 1700 left Spain in a deplorably enfeebled condition physically and intellectually. The War of the Succession (1701-1714) exhausted her internal strength still more, and the final acknowledgment of Philip V (reigned 1701-1746) brought hardly any blessing but that of peace. Under these circumstances poetry could not thrive; and in truth the eighteenth century in Spain is an age devoted more to the discussion of the principles of literature than to the production of it. At first the decadent remnants of page xxvii the siglo de oro still survived, but later the French taste, following the principles formulated by Boileau, prevailed almost entirely. The history of Spanish poetry in the eighteenth century is a history of the struggle between these two forces and ends in the triumph of the latter.

The effects of Gongorism lasted long in Spain, which, with its innate propensity to bombast, was more fertile soil for it than other nations. Innumerable poetasters of the early eighteenth century enjoyed fame in their day and some possessed talent; but the obscure and trivial style of the age from which they could not free themselves deprived them of any chance of enduring fame. One may mention, as the least unworthy, Gabriel Alvarez de Toledo (1662-1714) and Eugenio Gerardo Lobo (1679-1750).

Some one has said that the poetry of Spain, with the exception of the romances and the drama of the siglo de oro, has always drawn its inspiration from some other country. Add to the exceptions the medieval epic and the statement would be close to the truth. First Provence through the medium of Galicia; then Italy and with it ancient Rome; and lastly France and England, on more than one occasion, have molded Spanish poetry. The power of the French classical literature, soon dominant in Europe, could not long be stayed by the Pyrenees; and Pope, Thomson and Young were also much admired. Philip V, a Frenchman, did not endeavor to crush the native spirit in his new home, but his influence could not but be felt. He established a Spanish Academy on the model of the French in 1714.

It was some time before the reaction, based on common sense and confined to the intellectuals, could take deep root, and, as was natural, it went too far and condemned much of the siglo de oro entire. The Diario page xxviii de los literatos, a journal of criticism founded in 1737, and the Poetica of Ignacio de Luzan, published in the same year, struck the first powerful blows. Luzan (1702-1754) followed in general the precepts of Boileau, though he was able to praise some of the good points in the Spanish tradition. His own poems are frigid. The Satira contra los malos escritores de su tiempo (1742) of Jorge Pitillas (pseudonym of Jose Gerardo de Hervas, d. 1742) was an imitation of Boileau which had great effect. Blas Antonio Nasarre (1689-1751), Agustin Montiano (1697-1765) and Luis Jose Velazquez (1722-1772) were critics who, unable to compose meritorious plays or verse themselves, cut to pieces the great figures of the preceding age.

Needless to say, the Gallicizers were vigorously opposed, but so poor were the original productions of the defenders of the national manner that their side was necessarily the losing one. Vicente Garcia de la Huerta (1734-1787) was its most vehement partisan, but he is remembered only for a tragedy, Raquel.

Thus it is seen that during a century of social and industrial depression Spain did not produce a poet worthy of the name. The condition of the nation was sensibly bettered under Charles III (reigned 1759-1788) who did what was possible to reorganize the state and curb the stifling domination of the Roman Church and its agents the Jesuits and the Inquisition. The Benedictine Feijoo (1675-1764) labored faithfully to inoculate Spain, far behind the rest of Europe, with an inkling of recent scientific discoveries. And the budding prosperity, however deceitful it proved, was reflected in a more promising literary generation. page xxix

Nicolas FERNANDEZ DE MORATIN (1737-1780) followed the French rules in theory and wrote a few mediocre plays in accordance with them; but he showed that at heart he was a good poet and a good Spaniard by his ode A Pedro Romero, torero insigne, some romances and his famous quintillas, the Fiesta de toros en Madrid. Other followers of the French, in a genre not, strictly speaking, lyric at all, were the two fabulists, Samaniego and Iriarte. F. Maria de SAMANIEGO (1745-1801) gave to the traditional stock of apologues, as developed by Phaedrus, Lokman and La Fontaine, a permanent and popular Castilian form. Tomas de IRIARTE (1750-1791), a more irritable personage who spent much time in literary polemics, wrote original fables (Fabulas literarias, 1781) directed not against the foibles of mankind in general, but against the world of writers and scholars.

The best work which was done under the classical French influence, however, is to be found in the writers of the so-called Salamancan school, which was properly not a school at all. The poets who are thus classed together, Cadalso, Diego Gonzalez, Jovellanos, Forner, Melendez Valdes, Cienfuegos, Iglesias, were personal friends thrown together in the university or town of Salamanca, but they were not subjected to a uniform literary training and possessed no similarity of style or aim as did the men of the later Sevillan school.

Jose de CADALSO (1741-1782), a dashing soldier of great personal charm killed at the siege of Gibraltar, is sometimes credited with founding the school of Salamanca. He was a friend of most of the important writers of his time and composed interesting prose satires; his verse (Noches lugubres, etc.) is not remarkable. FRAY DIEGO GONZALEZ (1733-1794) is one of the masters of page xxx idiomatic Castilian in the century. He admired Luis de Leon and imitated him in paraphrases of the Psalms. The volume of his verse is small but unsurpassed in surety of taste and evenness of finish. The Murcielago alevoso has passed into many editions and become a favorite in Spain. The pure and commanding figure of JOVELLANOS (1744-1811) dominated the whole group which listened to his advice with respect. It was not always sure, for he led Diego Gonzalez and Melendez Valdes astray by persuading them to attempt philosophical poetry instead of the lighter sort for which they were fitted. He was in fact a greater man than poet, but his satires and Epistola al duque de Veragua are strong and dignified.

Juan MELENDEZ VALDES (1754-1817) was on the contrary a greater poet than man. Brilliant from the first, he was petted by Cadalso and Jovellanos who strove to develop his talent. In 1780 he won a prize offered by the Academy for an eclogue. In 1784 his comedy Las bodas de Camacho, on a subject suggested by Jovellanos (from an episode in Don Quijote, II, 19-21), won a prize offered by the city of Madrid, but failed on the stage. His first volume of poems was published in 1785; later editions appeared in 1797 and 1820. He attached himself to the French party at the time of the invasion in 1808, incurred great popular odium and died in France. He is the most fluent, imaginative poet of the eighteenth century and is especially successful in the pastoral and anacreontic styles. Fresh descriptions of nature, enchanting pictures of love, form an oasis in an age of studied reasonableness. His language has been criticized for its Gallicisms. Jose IGLESIAS DE LA CASA (1748-1791), a native of Salamanca and a priest, wrote much light satirical verse, epigrams, parodies page xxxi and letrillas in racy Castilian; he was less successful in the graver forms. Nicasio ALVAREZ DE CIENFUEGOS (1764-1809) passes as a disciple of Melendez; he was a passionate, uneven writer whose undisciplined thought and habit of coining words lead to obscurity. Politically he opposed the French with unyielding vigor, barely escaped execution at their hands and died in exile. The verse of Cienfuegos prepared the way for Quintana. Differing from him in clarity and polish are Fr. Sanchez Barbero (1764-1819) and Leandro F. de Moratin, the dramatist (1760-1828).

One curious result of rationalistic doctrines was the "prosaism" into which it led many minor versifiers. These poetasters, afraid of overstepping the limits of good sense, tabooed all imagination and described in deliberately prosy lines the most commonplace events. The movement reached its height at the beginning of the reign of Charles IV (1788-1808) and produced such efforts as a poem to the gout, a nature-poem depicting barn-yard sounds, and even Iriarte's La musica (1780), in which one may read in carefully constructed silvas the definition of diatonic and chromatic scales.



Early in the nineteenth century the armies of Napoleon invaded Spain. There ensued a fierce struggle for the mastery of the Peninsula, in which the latent strength and energy of the Spaniards became once more evident. The page xxxii French devastated parts of the country, but they brought with them many new ideas which, together with the sharpness of the conflict, served to awaken the Spanish people from their torpor and to give them a new realization of national consciousness. During this period of stress and strife two poets, Quintana and Gallego, urged on and encouraged their fellow countrymen with patriotic songs.

Manuel Jose QUINTANA (1772-1857) had preeminently the "gift of martial music," and great was the influence of his odes Al armamento de las provincias contra los franceses and A Espana despues de la revolucion de marzo. He also strengthened the patriotism of his people by his prose Vidas de espanoles celebres (begun in 1806): the Cid, the Great Captain (Gonzalo de Cordoba), Pizarro and others of their kind. In part a follower of the French philosophers of the eighteenth century, Quintana sang also of humanity and progress, as in his ode on the invention of printing. In politics Quintana was a liberal; in religious beliefs, a materialist. Campoamor has said of Quintana that he sang not of faith or pleasures, but of duties. His enemies have accused him of stirring the colonies to revolt by his bitter sarcasm directed at past and contemporaneous Spanish rulers, but this is doubtless an exaggeration. It may be said that except in his best patriotic poems his verses lack lyric merit and his ideas are wanting in insight and depth; but his sincerity of purpose was in the main beyond question and he occasionally gave expression to striking boldness of thought and exaltation of feeling. In technique Quintana was a follower of the Salamancan school.

The cleric Juan Nicasio GALLEGO (1777-1853) rivaled Quintana as a writer of patriotic verses. A liberal in politics like Quintana, Gallego also took the page xxxiii side of his people against the French invaders and against the servile Spanish rulers. He is best known by the ode El dos de mayo, in which he exults over the rising of the Spanish against the French on the second of May, 1808; the ode A la defensa de Buenos Aires against the English; and the elegy A la muerte de la duquesa de Frias in which he shows that he is capable of deep feeling. Gallego was a close friend of Quintana, whose salon in Madrid he frequented. Gallego wrote little, but his works are more correct in language and style than those of Quintana. It is interesting that although the writings of these two poets evince a profound dislike and distrust of the French, yet both were in their art largely dominated by the influence of French neo-classicism. This is but another illustration of the relative conservatism of belles-lettres.

In the year 1793 there had been formed in Seville by a group of young writers an Academia de Letras Humanas to foster the cultivation of letters. The members of this academy were admirers of Herrera, the Spanish Petrarchist and patriotic poet of the sixteenth century, and they strove for a continuation of the tradition of the earlier Sevillan group. The more important writers of the later Sevillan school were Arjona, Blanco, Lista and Reinoso. Manuel Maria de ARJONA (1771-1820), a priest well read in the Greek and Latin classics, was an imitator of Horace. Jose Maria BLANCO (1775-1841), known in the history of English literature as Blanco White, spent much time in England and wrote in English as well as in Castilian. Ordained a Catholic priest he later became an Unitarian. The best-known and most influential writer of the group was Alberto LISTA (1775-1848), an educator and page xxxiv later canon of Seville. Lista was a skilful artist and like Arjona an admirer and imitator of Horace; but his ideas lacked depth. His best-known poem is probably a religious one, A la muerte de Jesus, which abounds in true poetic feeling. Lista exerted great influence as a teacher and his Lecciones de literatura espanola did much to stimulate the study of Spanish letters. Felix Jose REINOSO (1772-1814), also a priest, imitated Milton in octava rima. As a whole the influence of the Sevillan school was healthful. By insisting upon purity of diction and regularity in versification, the members of the school helped somewhat to restrain the license and improve the bad taste prevailing in the Spanish literature of the time. The Catalonian Manuel de CABANYES (1808-1833) remained unaffected by the warring literary schools and followed with passionate enthusiasm the precepts of the ancients and particularly of Horace.

In the third decade of the nineteenth century romanticism, with its revolt against the restrictions of classicism, with its free play of imagination and emotion, and with lyricism as its predominant note, flowed freely into Spain from England and France. Spain had remained preeminently the home of romanticism when France and England had turned to classicism, and only in the second half of the eighteenth century had Spanish writers given to classicism a reception that was at the best lukewarm. Now romanticism was welcomed back with open arms, and Spanish writers turned eagerly for inspiration not only to Chateaubriand, Victor Hugo and Byron, but also to Lope de Vega and Calderon. Spain has always worshiped the past, for Spain was once great, and the appeal of romanticism was page xxxv therefore the greater as it drew its material largely from national sources.

In 1830 a club known as the Parnasillo was formed in Madrid to spread the new literary theories, much as the Cenacle had done in Paris. The members of the Parnasillo met in a wretched little cafe to avoid public attention. Here were to be found Breton de los Herreros, Estebanez Calderon, Mesonero Romanos, Gil y Zarate, Ventura de la Vega, Espronceda and Larra. The influence of Spanish epic and dramatic poetry had been important in stimulating the growth of romanticism in England, Germany and France. In England, Robert Southey translated into English the poem and the chronicle of the Cid and Sir Walter Scott published his Vision of Don Roderick; in Germany, Herder's translation of some of the Cid romances and the Schlegel brothers' metrical version of Calderon's dramas had called attention to the merit of the earlier Spanish literature; and in France, Abel Hugo translated into French the Romancero and his brother Victor made Spanish subjects popular with Hernani and Ruy Blas and the Legendes des siecles. But Spain, under the despotism of Ferdinand VII, the "Tyrant of Literature," remained apparently indifferent or even hostile to its own wonderful creations, and clung outwardly to French neo-classicism.[2] Boehl von Faber,[3] the German consul at Cadiz, who was influenced by the Schlegel brothers, had early called attention to the merit of the Spanish literature of the Golden Age and had even had some of Calderon's plays performed at Cadiz. And in page xxxvi 1832 Duran published his epoch-making Romancero. In 1833 Ferdinand VII died and the romantic movement was hastened by the home-coming of a number of men who had fled the despotism of the monarch and had spent some time in England and France, where they had come into contact with the romanticists of those countries. Prominent amongst these were Martinez de la Rosa, Antonio Alcala Galiano, the Duke of Rivas and Espronceda.

[Footnote 2: Cf. l'Epopee castillane, Ramon Menendez Pidal, Paris, 1910, pp. 249-252.]

[Footnote 3: The father of Fernan Caballero.]

In this period of transition one of the first prominent men of letters to show the effects of romanticism was Francisco MARTINEZ DE LA ROSA (1787-1862). Among his earlier writings are a Poetica and several odes in honor of the heroes of the War of Independence against the French. After his exile in Paris he returned home imbued with romanticism, and his two plays, Conjuracion de Venecia (1834) and Aben Humeya (1836: it had already been given in French at Paris in 1830), mark the first public triumph of romanticism in Spain. But Martinez de la Rosa lacked force and originality and his works merely paved the way for the greater triumph of the Duke of Rivas. Angel de Saavedra, DUQUE DE RIVAS (1791-1865), a liberal noble, insured the definite triumph of romanticism in Spain by the successful performance of his drama Don Alvaro (1835). At first a follower of Moratin and Quintana, he turned, after several years of exile in England, the Isle of Malta and France, to the new romantic school, and casting off all classical restraints soon became the acknowledged leader of the Spanish romanticists. Among his better works are the lyric Al faro de Malta, the legendary narrative poem El moro exposito and his Romances historicos. The Romances are more sober in tone and less fantastic,—and it should be added, less popular to-day,—than the legends of page xxxvii Zorrilla. After a tempestuous life the Duke of Rivas settled quietly into the place of director of the Spanish Academy, which post he held till his death.

Jose de ESPRONCEDA (1808-1842) was preeminently a disciple of Byron, with Byron's mingling of pessimism and aspiration, and like him in revolt against the established order of things in politics and social organization. His passionate outpourings, his brilliant imagery and the music of his verse give to Espronceda a first place amongst the Spanish lyrical poets of the nineteenth century. Some of his shorter lyrics (e.g. Canto a Teresa) are inspired by his one-time passion for Teresa with whom after her marriage to another he eloped from London to Paris. The poet's best known longer works are the Diablo mundo and the Estudiante de Salamanca, which are largely made up of detached lyrics in which the subjective note is strikingly prominent. Espronceda was one of those fortunate few who shine in the world of letters although they work little. Both in lyric mastery and in his spirit of revolt, Espronceda holds the place in Spanish literature that is held in English by Byron. He is the chief Spanish exponent of a great revolutionary movement that swept over the world of letters in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Jose ZORRILLA (1817-1893) first won fame by the reading of an elegy at the burial of Larra. Zorrilla was a most prolific and spontaneous writer of verses, much of which is unfinished in form and deficient in philosophical insight. But in spite of his carelessness and shallowness he rivaled Espronceda in popularity. His verses are not seldom melodramatic or childish, but they are rich in coloring and poetic fancy and they form a page xxxviii vast enchanted world in which the Spaniards still delight to wander. His versions of old Spanish legends are doubtless his most enduring work and their appeal to Spanish patriotism is not less potent to-day than when they were written. Zorrilla's dramatic works were successful on the stage by reason of their primitive vigor, especially Don Juan Tenorio, El Zapatero y el rey and Traidor, inconfeso y martir. This "fantastic and legendary poet" went to Mexico in 1854 and he remained there several years. After that date he wrote little and the little lacked merit.

Gertrudis Gomez de AVELLANEDA (1814-1873) was born in Cuba but spent most of her life in Spain. Avellaneda was a graceful writer of lyrics in which there was feeling and melody but little depth of thought. With her the moving impulse was love, both human and divine. Her first volume of poems (1841) probably contains her best work. Her novels Sab and Espatolino were popular in their day but are now fallen into oblivion. Some of her plays, especially Baltasar and Munio, do not lack merit. Avellaneda is recognized as the foremost poet amongst the women of nineteenth-century Spain.

Two of the most successful dramatists of this period, Garcia Gutierrez and Hartzenbusch, were also lyric poets. Antonio GARCIA GUTIERREZ (1813-1884), the author of El trovador, published two volumes of mediocre verses. Juan Eugenio HARTZENBUSCH (1806-1880) was, like Fernan Caballero, the child of a German father and a Spanish mother. Though an eminent scholar and critic, he did not hesitate in his Amantes de Teruel to play to the popular passion for sentimentality. He produced some lyric verse of worth. Manuel BRETON DE LOS HERREROS (1796-1873) was primarily a humorist and satirist, who turned from page xxxix lyric verse to drama as his best medium of expression. He delighted in holding up to ridicule the excesses of romanticism. Mention should be made here of two poets who had been, like Espronceda, pupils of Alberto Lista. The eclectic poet MARQUES DE MOLINS (Mariano Roca de Togores: 1812-1889) wrote passively in all the literary genres of his time. VENTURA DE LA VEGA (1807-1865) was born in Argentina, but came to Spain at an early age. He was a well-balanced, cautious writer of mediocre verses that are rather neo-classic than romantic.

A marked reaction against the grandiose exaggerations of later romanticism appears in the works of Jose SELGAS y Carrasco (1824-1882), a clever writer of simple, sentimental verses. At one time his poetry was highly praised and widely read, but for the most part it is to-day censured as severely as it was once praised. Among the contemporaries of Selgas were the writer of simple verses and one-time popular tales, Antonio de TRUEBA (1821-1889) and Eduardo BUSTILLO, the author of Las cuatro estaciones and El ciego de Buenavista. Somewhat of the tradition of the Sevillan school persisted in the verses of Manuel CANETE and Narciso CAMPILLO (1838-1900) and in those of the poet and literary critic Jose AMADOR DE LOS RIOS.

The Sevillan Gustavo Adolfo BECQUER (1836-1870) wrote perhaps the most highly polished Spanish verse of the nineteenth century. His Rimas are charged with true poetic fancy and the sweetest melody, but the many inversions of word-order that were used to attain to perfection of metrical form detract not a little from their charm. His writings are contained in three small volumes in which are found, together with the Rimas, a collection of prose legends. His prose work is page xl filled with morbid mysticism or fairy-like mystery. His dreamy prose is often compared to that of Hoffmann and his verses to those of Heine, although it is doubtful if he was largely influenced by either of these German writers. Becquer sings primarily of idealized human love. His material life was wretched and it would seem that his spirit took flight into an enchanted land of its own creation. Most human beings love to forget at times their sordid surroundings and wander in dreamland; hence the enduring popularity of Becquer's works and especially of the Rimas. Becquer has been widely imitated throughout the Spanish-speaking world, but with little success. In this connection it should be noted that the Spanish poets who have most influenced the Spanish literature of the nineteenth century, both in the Peninsula and in America, are the Tyrtaean poet Quintana, the two leading romanticists Espronceda and Zorrilla and the mystic Becquer.

Like most writers in Latin lands, Juan VALERA y Alcala Galiano (1824-1905) and Marcelino MENENDEZ Y PELAYO (1856-1912) began their literary career with a volume or two of lyric verses. Valera's verses have perfect metrical form and evince high scholarship, but they are too learned to be popular. The lyrics of Menendez y Pelayo have also more merit in form than in inspiration and are lacking in human interest. Both authors turned soon to more congenial work: Valera became the most versatile and polished of all nineteenth century Spanish writers of essays and novels; and Menendez y Pelayo became Spain's greatest scholar in literary history. The popular novelist, Pedro Antonio de ALARCON (1833-1891), wrote lyrics in which there is a curious blending of humor and skepticism. page xli The foremost Spanish poet of the closing years of the nineteenth century was Ramon de CAMPOAMOR y Campoosorio (1817-1901) who is recognized as the initiator in Spain of a new type of verse in his Doloras and Pequenos poemas. The doloras are, for the most part, metrical fables or epigrams, dramatic or anecdotal in form, in which the author unites lightness of touch with depth of feeling. The pequeno poema is merely an enlarged dolora. Campoamor disliked Byron and he disliked still more the sonorous emptiness that is characteristic of too much Spanish poetry.[4] In philosophy he revered Thomas a Kempis; in form he aimed at conciseness and directness rather than at artistic perfection. His poetry lacks enthusiasm and coloring, but it has dramatic interest.

[Footnote 4: Menendez y Pelayo (Ant. Poetas Hisp.-Am., I, p. lv) says: "Al fin espanoles somos, y a tal profusion de luz y a tal estrepito de palabras sonoras no hay entre nosotros quien resista."]

The poets Manuel del PALACIO (1832-1895) and Federico BALART (1831-1905), though quite unlike in genius, won the esteem of their contemporaries. Palacio wrote excellent sonnets and epigrams. In his Leyendas y poemas he proved his mastery of Spanish diction; he had, moreover, the saving grace of humor which was so noticeably lacking in Zorrilla's legends. The poet and literary critic, Balart, achieved fame with his Dolores, in which he mourns with sincere grief the death of his beloved wife. Mention should also be made of the following poets who deserve recognition in this brief review of the history of Spanish lyric poetry: Vicente Wenceslao QUEROL (1836-1889), a Valencian, whose El eclipse, Cartas a Maria, and La fiesta de Venus, evince a remarkable technical skill and an unusual correctness of diction; Teodoro page xlii LLORENTE (cf. p. 279); Jose GALIANO ALCALA whose verses have delicate feeling and lively imagination; Emilio FERRARI (b. 1853), the author of Abelardo e Hipatia and Aspiracion; the pessimistic poets, Joaquin Maria de BARTRINA (1850-1880) and Gabino TEJADO; Salvador RUEDA (b. 1857), author of El bloque, En tropel and Cantos de la vendimia; and the poet and dramatist, Eduardo MARQUINA.

After the death of Campoamor in the first year of the twentieth century, the title of doyen of Spanish letters fell by universal acclaim to Gaspar NUNEZ DE ARCE (1834-1903). Nunez de Arce was a lyric poet, a dramatist and a writer of polemics, but first of all a man of action. With him the solution of political and sociological problems was all-important, and his literary writings were mostly the expression of his sociological and political views. Nunez de Arce is best known for his Gritos del combate (1875), in which he sings of liberty but opposes anarchy with energy and courage. As a satirist he attacks the excesses of radicalism as well as the vices and foibles common to mankind.[5] As a poet he is neither original nor imaginative, and often his ideas are unduly limited; but he writes with a manly vigor that is rare amongst Spanish lyric poets, most of whom have given first place to the splendors of rhetoric.

[Footnote 5: Speaking of Nunez de Arce's satire, Juan Valera says humorously, in Florilegio de poesias castellanas del siglo XIX, Madrid, 1902, Vol. I, p. 247: "Esta el poeta tan enojado contra la sociedad, contra nuestra descarriada civilizacion y contra los crimenes y maldades de ahora, y nos pinta tan perverso, tan vicioso y tan infeliz al hombre de nuestros dias, atormentado por dudas, remordimientos, codicias y otras viles pasiones, que, a mi ver, lejos de avergonzarse este hombre de descender del mono, debiera ser el mono quien se avergonzara de haberse humanado."]

Most writers on the history of European literatures have page xliii called attention to the fact that at the beginning of the nineteenth century there was a great outpouring of lyricism, which infused itself into prose as well as verse. When this movement had exhausted itself there came by inevitable reaction a period of materialism, when realism succeeded romanticism and prose fiction largely replaced verse. And now sociological and pseudo-scientific writings threaten the very existence of idealistic literature. And yet through it all there has been no dearth of poets. Browning in England and Campoamor in Spain, like many before them, have given metrical form to the expression of their philosophical views. And other poets, who had an intuitive aversion to science, have taken refuge in pure idealism and have created worlds after their own liking. To-day prose is recognized as the best medium for the promulgation of scientific or political teachings, and those who are by nature poets are turning to art for art's sake. Poetry is less didactic than formerly, and it is none the less beautiful and inspiring.

The Notes to this volume contain historical sketches of the literatures of Argentina (p. 279), Colombia (p. 285), Cuba (p. 291), Ecuador and Peru (p. 296), Mexico (p. 307), and Venezuela (p. 315). It is to be regretted that lack of space has excluded an account of the literatures of other Spanish-American countries, and especially of Chile and Uruguay.



Spanish versification is subject to the following general laws:

(1) There must be a harmonious flow of syllables, in which harsh combinations of sounds are avoided. This page xliv usually requires that stressed syllables be separated by one or more unstressed syllables.[6]

[Footnote 6: By stress is meant secondary as well as primary syllabic stress. Thus, en nuestra vida has primary stress on vi-, and secondary stress on nues-.]

(2) Verse must be divided into phrases, each of which can be uttered easily as one breath-group. The phrases are normally of not less than four nor more than eight syllables, with a rhythmic accent on the next to the last syllable of each phrase.[7] Phrases of a fixed number of syllables must recur at regular intervals. There may or may not be a pause at the end of the phrase.

[Footnote 7: The unstressed syllable may be lacking, or there may be two unstressed syllables, after the rhythmic accent. See under Syllabication.]

(a) In the n-syllable binary line the phrases may recur at irregular intervals. In lines with regular ternary movement phrasing is largely replaced by rhythmic pulsation (cf. p. lxx).

(3) There must be rime of final syllables, or final vowels, recurring at regular intervals.

(a) In some metrical arrangements of foreign origin the rimes recur at irregular intervals, or there is no rime at all. See the silva and versos sueltos under Strophes.

Whether normal Spanish verse has, or ever had, binary movement, with the occasional substitution of a "troche" for an "iambic," or vice-versa, is in dispute.[8] That is, whether in Spanish verse, with the usual movement, (1) the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables is essential, or whether (2) the mere balancing of page xlv certain larger blocks of syllables is sufficient. For instance, in this line of Luis de Leon:

ya muestra en esperanza el fruto cierto,

is there regular rhythmic pulsation, much less marked than in English verse, doubtless,—but still an easily discernible alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables? If so, there must be secondary stress on es-. Or is ya muestra en esperanza one block, and el fruto cierto another, with no rhythmic stresses except those on -anza and cierto?

[Footnote 8: There are in Spanish certain types of verses in which there is regular ternary movement throughout. These are treated separately. Cf. p. lxx.]

The truth seems to be that symmetry of phrases (the balancing of large blocks of syllables) is an essential and important part of modern Spanish versification; but that, in musical verse of the ordinary type, there is also a subtle and varied binary movement, while in some recitative verse (notably the dramatic romance verse) the binary movement is almost or quite negligible.[9]

[Footnote 9: A count of Spanish verses (none from drama), by arbitrarily assuming three contiguous atonic syllables to be equal to-[/-]-(with secondary stress on the middle syllable), gave the following results (cf. Romanic Review, Vol. III, pp. 301-308):

Common syllabic arrangements of 8-syllable lines:

(1) / / / / (): Esta triste voz oi.

(2) _ / _ / _ _ / (_): Llorando dicen asi.

(3) _ / _ _ / _ / (_): Mi cama las duras penas.

Of 933 lines, 446 (nearly one-half) were in class (1); 257 in class (2); and 191 in class (3). The remaining lines did not belong to any one of these three classes.

Common syllabic arrangements of 11-syllable lines:

(1) / / / / / (): Veras con cuanto amor llamar porfia.

(2) / / / / / (): Cuantas veces el angel me decia.

(3) / / / / / (): Este matiz que al cielo desafia.

Of 402 lines, 216 (slightly more than one-half) were in class (1); 94 were in class (2); and 75 in class (3). The remaining lines did not belong to any one of these three classes. Note that, in these arrangements of the 11-syllable lines, the irregularities in rhythm are found only in the first four syllables.] page xlvi Some poets have used at times a quite regular binary movement in Spanish verse; but they have had few or no followers, as the effect was too monotonous to please the Spanish ear. Thus, Solis:

Siempre orillas de la fuente Busco rosas a mi frente, Pienso en el y me sonrio, Y entre mi le llamo mio, Me entristezco de su ausencia, Y deseo en su presencia La mas bella parecer. (p. 53, ll. 6-12)

The Colombian poet, Jose Eusebio Caro, wrote much verse thus, under the influence of the English poets.

On the other hand, some recent "decadent" poets have written verses in which the principle of symmetry of phrases, or of a fixed number of syllables, is abandoned, and rhythm and rime are considered sufficient to make the lines musical. Thus, Leopoldo Lugones (born 1875?), of Argentina, in verses which he calls "libres" (cf. Lunario sentimental, Buenos Aires, 1909):

Luna, quiero cantarte iOh ilustre anciana de las mitologias! Con todas las fuerzas de mi arte.

Deidad que en los antiguos dias Imprimiste en nuestro polvo tu sandalia, No alabare el liturgico furor de tus orgias Ni su erotica didascalia, Para que alumbres sin mayores ironias, Al poligloto elogio de las Guias, Noches sentimentales de mises en Italia. (Himno a la luna)

This is largely a harking back to primitive conditions, for in the oldest Castilian narrative verse the rule of "counted syllables" apparently did not prevail. Cf. the Cantar de mio Cid, where there is great irregularity in the number of syllables. And, although in the page xlvii old romances the half-lines of eight syllables largely predominate, many are found with seven or nine syllables, and some with even fewer or more. The adoption of the rule of "counted syllables" in Spanish may have been due to one or more of several causes: to the influence of medieval Latin rhythmic songs;[10] to French influence; or merely to the development in the Spanish people of a feeling for artistic symmetry.

[Footnote 10: Such as:

Stabat Mater dolorosa Juxta crucem lachrymosa Dum pendebat filius.]

Other poets of to-day write verses in which the line contains a fixed number of syllables or any multiple of that number. Thus, Julio Sesto (Blanco y Negro, Nov. 5, 1911):

iComo desembarcan..., como desembarcan esas pobres gentes...! Desde la escalera de la nave todo Nueva York abarcan de un vistazo: muelles, rio, casas, puentes... Y despues que todos sus cinco sentidos ponen asombrados en ver la ciudad, como agradecidos, miran a la estatua de la Libertad. iElla es la Madona, ella es la Madona, que de la Siberia saca a los esclavos, que a los regicidas la vida perdona, y que salva a muchos de contribuyentes, pobres, perseguidos, subditos y esclavos!...

(La tierra prometida)

Spanish poets have often tried to write verses in classical meters with the substitution of stress for quantity. Thus, Villegas in the following hexameters:

Seis veces el verde soto corono su cabeza de nardo, de amarillo trebol, de morada vioela, en tanto que el pecho frio de mi casta Licoris al rayo del ruego mio deshizo su hielo.[11]

[Footnote 11: Apparently trebol instead of trebol. These lines are quoted by Eugenio Mele, in La poesia barbara in Ispagna, Bari, 1910.] page xlviii Jose Eusebio Caro wrote similar hexameters, and, strange to say, made alternate lines assonate:

iCefiro rapido lanzate! irapido empujame y vivo! iMas redondas mis velas pon: del proscrito a los lados, haz que tus silbos susurren dulces y dulces suspiren! iHaz que pronto del patrio suelo se aleje mi barco! (En alta mar)

The number of these direct imitations is large; but few succeeded. They are, at best, foreign to the spirit of Castilian poetry.

In singing Spanish verses two facts are of especial interest: that, where the rules of prosody require synalepha, hiatus sometimes occurs (especially in opera), thus:

Recogete—ese panuelo. (Olmedo, Folk-lore de Castilla, p. 133)

Y el pajaro—era verde. (Ledesma, Cancionero salmantino, p. 53)

And that musical accents do not necessarily coincide with syllabic stresses, even at the end of a phrase. Thus,

iCuantas veces, vida mia, Te asomaras al balcon![12]

iCuerpo bueno, alma divina, Que de fatigas me cuestas!

iBendiga Dios ese cuerpo, Tan llenisimo de gracia! (Hernandez, Flores de Espana)

[Footnote 12: The grave accent mark (') indicates a strong musical accent.] page xlix


In most modern Spanish verse there is a fixed number of syllables in a line up to and including the last stressed syllable.[13] In counting these syllables consideration must be given to the following facts:

[Footnote 13: The number of unstressed syllables at the end of a line is not fixed. See p. lvi.

In order to have the correct number of syllables, poets sometimes (1) shorten a word or (2) shift the accent:

(1) ?Ya que mi puro espirtu sucias carnes... (Cabanyes, A Cintio)

(2) Puede querer...? Abrale... (Zorrilla, Don Juan Tenorio, primeraa parte, III, 6) Deben de ser angeles. (Lope de Vega, El mejor alcalde el rey, II)

Note the artificial separation of lines in some dramatic romance-verse:

... Soy un cate- Cumeno muy diligente. (Calderon, El Jose de las mujeres, II)

De una vil hermana, de un Falso amigo, de un infame Criado...

(Calderon, No hay burlas con el amor, III)]


Within a word two or three contiguous vowels usually combine to form a diphthong or a triphthong respectively (this is called "syneresis"): bai le, rey, oi go, ciu dad, cui da do, es tu diar, es tu diais, dien te, lim pio, gra cio so, muy, bien, pue de, buey, etc. Exceptions:

(a) A stressed "weak" vowel (i, u) may not combine with a "strong" vowel (a, e, o) to form a diphthong: di a,ri e, fri o, ra iz, le i do, o i do, page l con ti nu a, con ti nu e, con ti nu o, ba ul, sa bi a, sa bri ais, ca i ais, etc.[14]

[Footnote 14: Note that in these combinations the weak vowel receives the accent mark. Some Spanish-American poets have sinned grievously, by reason of their local pronunciation, in diphthongizing a strong vowel with a following stressed weak vowel, as maiz, a taud, oi do, for ma iz, a ta ud, o i do, respectively, etc.]

Exceptions are rare:

Su pe que se ria di cho so (Calderon, No hay burlas con el amor, III)

Cf. also rendios, etc., where the o of os combines with the i by synalepha.

(b) ua, uo, are usually disyllabic, except after c, g, and j: a due a na, sue a ve; but cua tro, san ti guo, Juan, etc. Syneresis may occur: sua ve.

(c) ui is usually disyllabic, except in muy: flu i do.

(d) Two unstressed strong vowels, if they follow the stress, regularly form a diphthong; but if they precede they may form a diphthong or they may be dissyllabic, usually at the option of the poet.

Que del em pi r=eo e=n el ce nit fi na ba.[15] (p. 180, l. 11) Las mar mo r=ea=s , y aus te ras es cul tu ras. (p. 138, l. 22) La ne gra ad ver si dad , con fe rr=ea= ma no. (p. 144, l. 20) El tiem po en tre sus plie gues r=o e= do res. (p. 85, l. 24) page li Te van a ar mar do c=a e= ras in cau ta. (p. 40, l. 24) La f=e a=l dad del vi cio ; pe ro hu yo se...[16] (p. 39, l. 14) En tan fra gil r=ea= li dad. (p. 97, l. 18) La sub li me p=oe= si a re ver be ra. (p. 149,1. 19)

[Footnote 15: Note that here poetic usage differs from the rules for syllabication that obtain in prose. Thus, in empireo the i receives the accent mark, since it is held to be in the antepenultimate syllable, but in verse empireo is regularly trisyllabic.]

[Footnote 16: The ea of fealdad is normally disyllabic by analogy with feo. Cf. (f) below.]

(e) Two strong vowels, if one is stressed, are usually disyllabic:

pa se a, re cre o, ca no a, etc.

A rran ca a rran ca , Dios mi o, De la men te del p=o e= ta Es te pen sa mien to im pi o Que en un de li rio cr=e o=. (p. 83, ll. 7-10) ?Que se hi cie ron tus mu ros to rr=e a= dos, Oh mi pa tria que ri da? ?Don de fue ron tus he roes es for za dos, Tu es pa da no ven ci da? (p. 78, ll. 1-4) A na cr=e o=n te, el vi no y la a le gri a. (p. 150, l. 4) Sa e ta que vo la do ra... (p. 121, l. 15) De o ro la n=a o= ga di ta na a por ta. (p. 39, l. 24) Y no se es me re en l=o a=r la. (p. 43, l. 18) Don de a c=a e=r vol ve ra. (p. 121, l. 22) page lii Syneresis is rare, but may occur, except in ea, eo and oa, provided the second vowel does not receive a rhythmic accent:

Es cri ba no al c=ae=r el sol. (p. 109, l. 3) C=ae=n es ta llan do de los fuer tes gon ces. (p. 57, l. 19) Cual na ve r=ea=l en triun fo em pa ve sa da. (p. 40, l. 15)

(f) In some words vowels that would normally form a diphthong are usually disyllabic by analogy with other forms derived from the same stem: fi e, fi o (cf. fi o), ri o, ri e ron (cf. ri o), con ti nu e (cf. con ti nu o), di a rio (cf. di a), bri o so (cf. bri o), hu i, hu i mos (cf. hu yo), etc.

Syneresis is rare, but possible, as in brio so for bri o so.

(g) Prefixes, except a-, usually form separate syllables: pre in ser to, re im pri mir, re hu sar; but aho gar. If the syllable after a-is stressed, dieresis usually occurs:

A los que a ho ra a cla ma. (p. 220, l. 3) En la sub li me so le dad a ho ra... (p. 188, l. 3)


By poetic license vowels that normally form one syllable may often be dissolved into separate syllables (this is called "dieresis") at the will of the poet: glo rio so or glo ri o so, rui do or rue i do, etc.[17] See also (1), d, above.

[Footnote 17: Note that the dieresis mark is generally used in dieresis of two weak vowels, or of strong and weak vowels where the strong vowel is stressed.] page liii But dieresis is impossible if the diphthong is ie or ue from Latin [e] and [o] respectively, as in bien, siente, huevo, puedo.


The final vowel or diphthong of one word and the initial vowel or diphthong of an immediately following word in the same line usually combine to form one syllable (this is called "synalepha")[18] as in:

Cuan do re cuer do la pie dad sin ce ra Con qu=e e=n m=i e= dad pri me ra En tra b=a e=n nues tras vie jas ca te dra les. (p. 137, ll. 19-21) La cien c=ia au= daz , cuan do de ti s=e a= le ja. (p. 143, l. 16) iEs t=a e=s Es pa n=a! A= to ni t=a y= mal tre cha... (p. 147, l. 3) Que mi can tar so no ro A com pa n=o ha=s t=a a= qui ; n=o a= pri sio na do... (p. 49, ll. 6-7)

[Footnote 18: Note that the union of vowels in separate words is called synalepha, while the union of vowels within a word is called syneresis. But synalepha may occur in combinations of vowels in which syneresis would be impossible. Compare te ni a and ca no a with:

A si al man ce bo in te rrum pe (p. 94, l. 13). Ni la mi ra da que lan zo al sos la yo (p. 219, l. 8).]

The vowels of three words may thus combine if the middle word is a (or ha) (see also (4), a):

Le di j=o e=s t=e a u= na mu jer. (p. 79, l. 15) Sal v=a a e=s ta so cie dad des ven tu ra da. (p. 143, l. 12) page liv (4) HIATUS

(a) Hiatus (i.e. the final vowel of one word and the initial vowel of the immediately following word form separate syllables)[19] is caused by the interposition of a weak unstressed vowel, as in:

En sus re cuer dos de hiel. (p. 84, l. 3) De sus a la mos y huer tos. (p. 91, l. 8) Y hoy en sus can ta res llo ra. (p. 84, l. 18)

[Footnote 19: Note that hiatus between words is equivalent to dieresis within a word.]

Note that, similarly, the vowels of three words may not combine, if the middle word is y, e (or he), o (or oh), u:

O las de pla ta y a zul. (p. 73, l. 12) Que la al ma no che o el bri llan te di a. (p. 180, l. 20) ?Quien cal ma ra, iOh Es pa na! tus pe sa res? (p. 79, l. 7)

And in all such expressions as: o cio so e i rri ta do, Se vi lla u O vie do, etc.

Except when a vowel is repeated:

Si he es cu cha do cuan do ha bla bas. (Calderon, No hay burlas con el amor, III)

In modern Spanish, h, being silent, has no effect, but in older Spanish, h for Latin f, being then pronounced, prevented synalepha, as in:

Por el mes e ra de ma yo cuan do ha ce la ca lor. (p. 7, l. 1-2) page lv Hiatus was common in Old Spanish, except when the first of two words was the definite article, a personal pronoun-object or the preposition de; or when the vowels were the same.

(b) Hiatus is usual when the initial vowel of the second word has a strong accent (usually the rhythmic accent at the end of a line or phrase):

Pues en fin me de jo una (Calderon). Ta les fue ron ya es tos cual her mo so (Herrera). Tal de lo al to tem pes tad des he cha (Maury). No hay pla ce res en su al ma. (p. 85, l. 4) Cuan do po bre de a nos y pe sa res (p. 221, l. 9) Con ti go se fue mi hon ra. (p. 103, l. 19) De gra na das es pi gas ; tu la u va... (p. 215, l. 5) Por que es pa ra el ser que a ma. (p. 84, l. 9) Muy mas her mo sa la ha llan (p. 44, l. 5) El ne va do cue llo al za (p. 43, l. 4) Por que tam bien e ra u so. (p. 115, l. 9) Que en la bo ca, y so lo u no. (p. 52, l. 26) Gen te en es te mon te an da... Ya que de tu vis ta hu ye. (Calderon) Gi gan te o la que el vien to...[20] (p. 121, l. 23)

[Footnote 20: Synalepha is usually to be avoided when it would bring together two stressed syllables as in gigante ola, querido hijo, etc.] page lvi But synalepha is possible (especially of de o-):

To do e le va ba mi a ni mo in tran qui lo. (p. 139, l. 22) Yo le da re ; mas no en el ar pa de o ro... (p. 49, l. 5)

And synalepha is the rule, if stress on the initial syllable is weak:

A o tra per so na en Ma drid. (p. 36, l. 19) To da, to da e res per fec ta. (p. 44, l. 22)

If the vowels are the same, they usually combine into one:

Del sol en la al ta cum bre (p. 49, l. 13) Tem blar en tor no de el : un ar co in men so... (p. 180, l. 10)


In estimating the number of syllables in a Spanish verse-line one final unstressed syllable after the last stressed syllable is counted whether it be present or not; or, if there be two unstressed syllables at the end of the line, only one is counted.[21] Thus the following are considered 8-syllable lines although, in fact, one line has nine syllables and another has only seven:

La sal pi ca con es com bros De cas ti llos y de al ca za res... Pa ra vol ver a bro tar...

[Footnote 21: In Spanish, a word stressed on the final syllable is called agudo; a word with one syllable after the stress is called grave or llano; one with two syllables after the stress, esdrujulo: farol, pluma, pajaro.] page lvii This system of counting syllables obtains in Spanish because there is one and only one unstressed syllable at the end of most verse-lines. It would, perhaps, be more logical to stop the count with the last stressed syllable, as the French do. For instance, a Spanish 11-syllable line would be called a "feminine" 10-syllable line by the French; but the French language has only one vowel (e) that may occur in a final unstressed syllable, while in Spanish there are several (a, e, o, rarely i, u).


Spanish poetry may be in rimed verse or in blank verse. (1) Rimed verse may have "consonance," in which there is rime of the last stressed vowel and of any consonants and vowels that may follow in the line, as in:

En las presas Yo divido Lo cogido Por igual: Solo quiero Por riqueza La belleza Sin rival. (p. 75, ll. 5-12)

Madre mia, yo soy nina; No se enfade, no me rina, Si fiada en su prudencia Desahogo mi conciencia, (p. 51, ll. 10-13)

iCuan solitaria la nacion que un dia Poblara inmensa gente! iLa nacion cuyo imperio se extendia Del ocaso al oriente! (p. 76, ll. 19-22) page lviii iOh tu, que duermes en casto l=echo=, De sinsabores ajeno el p=echo=, Y a los encantos de la hermos=ura= Unes las gracias del coraz=on=, Deja el descanso, doncella p=ura=, Y oye los ecos de mi canc=ion=! (p. 199, ll. 1-6)

In a diphthong consisting of a strong and a weak vowel the weak vowel may be disregarded in rime. Cf. above: prudencia, conciencia; corazon, cancion; igual, rival.

(2) Or rimed verse may have "assonance," in which there is rime of the last accented vowel and of any final vowel that may follow in the line, but not of consonants.[22]

[Footnote 22: Assonance is rare in popular English verse, but it occurs in some household rimes; e. g.:

Little Tommy Tucker, He cried for his supper. What shall little Tommy Tucker have for his supper? Black-eyed beans and bread and butter.

Here the assonance is u-er (final unstressed -er in standard present-day English represents vocalic r).]

Assonance of alternate lines is the usual rime of the romances, as in:

Cabellos de mi cabeza lleganme al corvej=o=n; los cabellos de mi barba por manteles tengo y=o=: las unas de las mis manos por cuchillo tajad=o=r. (P. 7, ll. 15-20)

Here the assonance is o. page lix iAbenamar, Abenamar, moro de la morer=ia=, el dia que tu naciste grandes senales hab=ia=! Estaba la mar en calma, la luna estaba crec=i=d=a=: moro que en tal signo nace, no debe decir ment=i=r=a=. (P. 1, 11. 1-8)

Here the assonance is i-a.[23]

[Footnote 23: The romances viejos were originally in lines of approximately sixteen syllables, and every line then had assonance.]

Del salon en el angulo obscuro, De su dueno tal vez olvid=a=d=a=, Silenciosa y cubierta de polvo Veiase el =a=rp=a=. iCuanta nota dormia en sus cuerdas, Como el pajaro duerme en las r=a=m=a=s, Esperando la mano de nieve Que sabe arranc=a=rl=a=s! (P. 122, ll. 12-19)

Here the assonance is a-a.

The following rules for assonance should be noted:

(a) In modern Spanish a word stressed on the final syllable may not assonate with one stressed on a syllable preceding the final.[24]

[Footnote 24: In the old romances and in the medieval epic, a could assonate with a-a. In singing these old verses every line was probably made to end in an unstressed vowel by adding paragogic e to a final stressed syllable. Thus, son was sung as sone, dar as dare, temi as temie, etc. Cf. Men. Pel., Ant. V, 65; XI, 86, 92; and Men. Pid., Cantar de mio Cid, I, 65 f.]

(b) A word stressed on the penult may assonate with one page lx stressed on the antepenult. Vowels between the stressed syllable and the final syllable are disregarded, as in cruza, cupula (u-a), bane, margenes, arabes (a-e).

(c) In stressed diphthongs and triphthongs only the vowels receiving the stress assonate, as in vale, aire (a-e), cabellos, suelo (e-o), envolviendo, aposento (e-o), guardias, alta (a-a), pleito, siento (e-o), mucho, triunfo (u-o).

(d) In unstressed diphthongs and triphthongs only the strong vowels assonate, as in turba, lluvia (u-a), licencia, quisierais (e-a), pido, continuo (i-o). Similarly, e or o, before another strong vowel, is disregarded in an unstressed diphthong, as in modo, erroneo (o-o), crece, heroe (e-e).

(e) In final unstressed syllables, i and u (not in diphthongs) assonate with e and o, respectively, as in verde, debil (e-e), amante, facil (a-e), liquido, espiritu (i-o).

(3) In Spanish blank verse (versos sueltos, libres, blancos) there is usually no rime; or if there be rime it is merely incidental. Blank verse usually consists of 11-syllable lines.

iOh! icuanto rostro veo, a mi censura, De palidez y de rubor cubierto! Animo, amigos, nadie tema, nadie, Su punzante aguijon; que yo persigo En mi satira el vicio, no al vicioso. (P. 39, ll. 3-7)

Blank verse is little used in Spanish. It occurs chiefly in serious satirical or philosophical poems. But separate versos sueltos are introduced into some varieties of compositions, such as the romance, seguidilla, silva, etc.[25]

[Footnote 25: The versos sueltos are, with regard to the absence of rime, in imitation of classic Greek and Latin verse. They came into Spain by way of Italy during the Renaissance movement. Abjured by the romanticists, they were restored to favor by Nunez de Arce.]



[Footnote 26: The term "binary" is used here to distinguish ordinary Spanish verse from that with regular ternary movement. Cf. p. lxx.]

In modern Spanish this verse is commonly found in lines of seven, eight or eleven syllables. It may occur in lines of any length; but in lines of five or six syllables the binary and ternary movements are generally mingled. In Old Spanish binary lines of approximately 8+8 and 7+7 syllables were common, and lines of 6+6, or of nine, syllables were then, as now, also occasionally used.[27]

[Footnote 27: Verses of three or four syllables are best treated as half-lines, with inner rime (versos leoninos).]

The most popular measure, and the one of most importance in the history of Spanish verse, is the 8+8-syllable line of the old romances, which was later divided into two 8-syllable lines, and became the most common measure in the drama and in popular songs. This line usually has only one rhythmic accent, which falls on the seventh syllable.[28]

[Footnote 28: By "rhythmic accent" is meant the musical accent on the last stressed syllable of a phrase and not syllabic stresses that may occur within a phrase.]

Mis arreos son las armas, mi descanso el pelear, mi cama las duras penas, mi dormir siempre velar (p. 5, ll. 1-4) page lxii Rarely 8-syllable lines are written with a fixed accent on the third syllable (cf. p. 51, l. 10 f.).[29] There is then sometimes pie quebrado in alternate lines, as in:

Hijo mio mucho amado, Para mientes; No contrastes a las gentes Mal su grado. Ama: e seras amado; Y podras Hazer lo que no haras Desamado.[30]

[Footnote 29: They are less common in Spanish than in Italian:

Sai tu dirme, o fanciullino, In qual pasco gita sia La vezzosa Egeria mia Ch'io pur cerco dal mattino? (Paolo A. Rolli)]

[Footnote 30: Note the example of hiatus in this older Spanish.]

Next to the popular 8-syllable line the most important measure in modern Spanish verse is that of eleven syllables, with binary movement, which came to Spain from Italy in the fifteenth century, and was generally accepted by the writers of the Siglo de Oro. This 11-syllable line, though of foreign origin, has held the boards as the chief erudite measure in Spanish verse for four centuries, and taken all in all it is the noblest metrical form for serious poems in modern Spanish. A striking peculiarity of the line is its flexibility. It is not divided into hemistichs as were its predecessors, the 14-syllable Alexandrine and the 12-syllable arte mayor verse; but it consists of two phrases and the position of the inner rhythmic accent is usually variable. page lxiii A well constructed line of this type has a rhythmic accent on the sixth syllable, or a rhythmic accent on the fourth syllable (usually with syllabic stress on the eighth), beside the necessary accent in the tenth position. Generally the inner accent falls on the sixth syllable approximately twice as often as on the fourth.

Y con diversas flores va esparciendo... (Leon) Y para envejecerse florecieron... (Calderon) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cuna y sepulcro en un boton hallaron... (Calderon) Se mira al mundo a nuestros pies tendido... (Zorrilla)

Logically, the close of the first phrase should coincide with the end of the word that receives the inner rhythmic accent, and this is usually so, as in:

?Que tengo yo, que mi amistad procuras?... (Lope) Son la verdad y Dios, Dios verdadero... (Quevedo)

But in some lines the rhetorical and the rhythmic accents do not coincide, as in:

... pero huyose El pudor a vivir en las cabanas... (Jovellanos) Del plectro sabiamente meneado... (Leon) Que a mi puerta, cubierto de rocio... (Lope)

The 11-syllable line may be used alone. Cf. the sonnets of Lope de Vega (p. 14) and Calderon (p. 18), the Epistola satirica of Quevedo (p. 15), the blank verse of Jovellanos (p. 38) and Nunez de Arce (p. 144), et al. The neo-classic poets of the eighteenth century and some of the earlier romanticists even used it in redondillas or assonated: page lxiv

En pago de este amor que, mal mi gr=ado=, Hasta el crimen me lleva en su del=irio=, Y a no verse por ti menospreci=ado= Mi virtud elevara hasta el mart=irio=...

?Por que de nuevo palida tristeza Tus rosadas mejillas descol=o=r=a=? ?Por que tu rostro en lagrimas se inunda? ?Por que suspiras, nina, y te acong=o=j=a=s? (Breton de los Herreros, ?Quien es ella?)

But the poets of the Siglo de Oro and the neo-classic poets generally used it in combination with 7-syllable lines, as in Leon's verses:

iQue descansada vida la del que huye el mundanal rueido, y sigue la escondida senda por donde han ido los pocos sabios que en el mundo han sido!

Strophes of three 11-syllable lines and one 5-syllable line (versos saficos) are not uncommon in highly lyric poems. Usually, in the long lines, the inner accent falls on the fourth syllable, with syllabic stress on the eighth, and with cesura after the fifth syllable. Thus:[31]

Dulce vecino de la verde selva, Huesped eterno del Abril florido, Vital aliento de la madre Venus, Cefiro blando. (Villegas, Al cefiro)

[Footnote 31: Mele (op. cit) states that the Sapphic ode was introduced into Spain from Italy by Antonio Agustin, bishop of Tarragona, in the first half of the sixteenth century, and quotes these lines by Agustin:

Jupiter torna, como suele, rico: Cuerno derrama Jove copioeso, Ya que bien puede el pegaseo monte Verse y la cumbre. page lxv The romanticists used the versos saficos with rime. Thus, Zorrilla:

Huye la fuente al manantial ingrata, El verde musgo en derredor lamiendo, Y el agua limpia en su cristal retrata Cuanto va viendo. (p. 86, ll. 3-6)

In the Sapphic strophe of Francisco de la Torre (d. 1594), the short line has seven syllables, and the long line may have inner rhythmic accent on the sixth, or on the fourth syllable. Thus:

El frio Boreas y el helado Noto Apoderados de la mar insana Anegaron agora en este puerto Una dichosa nave. (iTirsi, Tirsi! vuelve y endereza)

The Sapphic strophe of Francisco de la Torre has been not infrequently imitated. Thus, Becquer:

Volveran las obscuras golondrinas En tu balcon sus nidos a colgar, Y, otra vez, con el ala a sus cristales Jugando llamaran. (p. 122, l. 24-p. 123, l. 2)[32]

[Footnote 32: These long lines are especially cantabile, as most are accented on the third and sixth syllables. Only one is accented on the fourth and eighth.]

The 7-syllable line is commonly used in combination with those of eleven syllables (see above). In the seventeenth century, particularly, the 7-syllable line was used in anacreontics, artistic romances, quintillas, page lxvi etc., in imitation of the Italian settenario, as in Villegas' Cantilena beginning:

Yo vi sobre un tomillo Quejarse un pajarillo, Viendo su nido amado, De quien era caudillo, De un labrador robado.

In present-day songs the 7-syllable line is rather rare, except in combination with lines of five syllables, as in:

Camino de Valencia, Camino largo...


A la puerta del cielo Venden zapatos...

In these lines there is no fixed inner rhythmic accent.

The Old Spanish Alexandrine verse-line was composed of two 7-syllable half-lines. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries numerous monkish narrative poems (mester de clerecia) were written in this measure:

En el nonbre del Padre,—que fizo toda cosa, E de don Jhesu Christo,—Fijo dela Gloriosa, Et del Spiritu Sancto,—que egual dellos posa, De un confessor sancto—quiero fer vna prosa... (Gonzalo de Berceo)

The old Alexandrine fell before the rising popularity of the arte mayor verse early in the fifteenth century. In the eighteenth century a 13-syllable Alexandrine appears in Spanish in imitation of the classic French line. This later Spanish Alexandrine is not composed of two distinct half-lines. It also has, like its French page lxvii prototype, alternate couplets of masculine and feminine lines (versos agudos and versos llanos or graves). Thus, Iriarte:

En cierta catedral una campana habia Que solo se tocaba algun solemne dia Con el mas recio son, con pausado compas, Cuatro golpes o tres solia dar, no mas.

There is an inner rhythmic accent on the sixth syllable. Iriarte also revived the older Alexandrine, but without hiatus:

Cuando veo yo algunos,—que de otros escritores A la sombra se arriman,—y piensan ser autores...

Recent poets have revived the old Alexandrine.[33] Thus, Ruben Dario uses it, even retaining the hiatus between the half-lines; but instead of grouping the lines in quatrains with monorime, as the old monks did, he uses assonance in alternate lines, which is, so far as I know, without precedent:

Es con voz de la Biblia—o verso de Withman Que habria que llegar—hasta ti, icazador! Primitivo y moderno,—sencillo y complicado, Con un algo de Washington—y mucho de Nemrod... (p. 211, ll. 1-4)

[Footnote 33: For their use of this line with ternary movement, see p. lxxix.]

Lines of five or six syllables usually have a mingled binary and ternary movement:

Una barquera Halle bizarra, De pocos anos Y muchas gracias. (N. Moratin) page lxviii Sali a las diez A ver a Clori (No lo acerte): Horas menguadas Debe de haber... (L. Moratin)

Lines of 5+5 syllables (versos asclepiadeos) are occasionally written:

Id en las alas—del raudo cefiro, Humildes versos,—de las floridas Vegas que diafano—fecunda el Arlas, Adonde lento—mi patrio rio Ve los alcazares—de Mantua excelsa. (L. Moratin)

The Mexican poet Pesado used the same line in his Serenata:

iOh tu que duermes—en casto lecho, De sinsabores—ajeno el pecho, Y a los encantos—de la hermosura Unes las gracias—del corazon, Deja el descanso,—doncella pura, Y oye los ecos—de mi cancion! (P. 199, ll. 1-6)

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