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out for every day in the week: for Sunday it was the name of our Saviour, for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the Holy Ghost, the holy Trinity and Santiago, and for the three remaining days, the Angels, All Saints, and Our Lady. These outward and visible signs of devotion were in character with an armament concerning which its commander had affirmed in General Orders that' first and before all things, it was to be understood by all persons embarked in it, that the principal foundation and cause which had moved the king to set forth this expedition was to serve God, and to return · unto his church a great many contrite souls, who were then op
pressed by the heretics, enemies to the holy Catholic faith. For this reason it was commanded that all persons who came on board should tirst be duly shriven and receive the sacrament, with competent contrition for their sins ; that no person should blaspheme or rage against God or our Lady, or any of the Saints, without suffering condign punishment for the offence; that no gambling should be allowed, and all quarrels, angers, defiances, and injuries, of whatever standing or character, be suspended between individuals so long as the expedition lasted. Lope de Vega entered fully into the spirit of these regulations, and regarded the expedition as a true Catholic and Apostolic crusade. He stood in need of such a feeling to console him for the accumulated miseries which he endured during its disastrous course. His brother died in his arms, whether from a wound, or from the fatigues and hardships to which he was exposed, is not stated. He himself was more fortunate, and perhaps considered the portion of his life which was spent in this voyage as not the least profitable part of it, every day having been one continued penance, which would be duly debited in the account of his good works. Camden has finely described the appearance of this formidable armament when the English first obtained sight of it: “They discovered the Spanish feet with lofty turrets like castles, in front like a half-moon, the wings thereof spreading out about the length of seven miles, sailing very slowly with full sails, the winds being as it were wearied with carrying them, and the ocean groaning under their weight. It was not for a Spaniard, after the failure of the Invincible Armada, to dwell in like manner upon its imposing magnitude and force. Lope de Vega gives only an animated picture of its outset, and then says of himself, who would have thought that this chin, which had scarcely a hair upon it, should have been sometimes found in the morning so shagged with snow—that it might have been mistaken for a comet!
During the voyage, he tells us that he bade adieu to logic as well as love, suffering Aristotle to sleep, with matter and forms and causes and accidents. But he continued constant to poetry, and amid all the danger and confusion in which he lived, composed a A 4
long poem of twenty cantos, entitled, La Hermosura de Angelicaof this and of his other works it will be more convenient to speak after the sketch of his personal history is completed. Returning to Madrid, he obtained an appointment first as secretary to the Marques de Malpica, afterwards to the Conde de Lemos, and soon married for his second wife Doña Juana de Guardio, who was of noble family, and exceedingly beautiful. He speaks of this marriage as a happy one: yet among his sonnets there are two which may excite a suspicion that his heart was placed on another object. Let the reader judge for himself.
Seven long and tedious years did Jacob serve,
When snows before the genial breath of spring
* Sirvio Jacob los siete largos años,
Y que tuvieron terminos sus daños;
Lo que un engaño al sufrimiento cuesta,
Ay de aquel alma a pauecer dispuesta Pero en effecto vive, y considera,
Que espera su Rachel en la otra vida, Que la podra gozar antes que muera, Y tiene a Lia para siempre en esta.
Segunda Parte de las Rimas de Lope de Vega. Barcelona, 1604. Soneto V. + Quando la Madre antigua reverdeze, Quando en agua la nieve se deshaze, Bello pastor y a quanto vive aplaze, Por en Sol que en el Aries resplandeze,
Upon the first of these poems it may be observed that Leah and Rachel were, in that age, used almost as trivially for examples by poets as by theologians. Camoens, in particular, has a remarkable sonnet upon the subject, which is cited by Lorenzo Gracian as an instance of what he calls, una exagerada ponderacion. But Camoens took up the story as a subject for a serious epigram in form of a sonnet, which class of composition was then greatly in vogue among the Spanish poets. Lope de Vega, on the contrary, gives it a direct personal allusion to himself; and if he writes from his real feelings, as he certainly does in his own person, the inference to be deduced from the first of these poems, is, that he did not love the woman whom he had married, and from the second, that he had formed a miserable attachment to the wife of another man. This last inference will be much strengthened if there be any reason for supposing that he has shadowed out his own character in the Dorotea,-one of the most singular, and unless such a supposition be admitted, the most unaccountable of all his works.
If, however, he thus went astray, a good heart and good principles brought him back from these aberrations. His wife obtained the love which she deserved ; and it is worthy of notice that when he tells us this, he alludes again to Leah and Jacob.
Who could have thought that I should find a wife
Sweet for the love which ruled her life,
Dear for the sorrows which she bore?
Could only have been mine, or Jacob's lot.* By this lady he had two children, a son and daughter: the daughter, Feliciana de Vega, lived to inherit his property: Carlos, the son, died at eight years of age, and the mother did not long survive hiin. Lope did not upon this, as upon his former widowhood, express his feelings in pastoral lamentations : this was a deeper as well as a double grief; the one loss was irreparable, and he was no longer at an age when the other could easily be repaired. In Catholic countries the church provides a fitting station for all persons who would enter its service, whatever may be their circumstances of age or rank. It has offices in which the fanatic may be harmlessly, if not usefully
La yerva nace, la nacida crece,
De la cierta verdad, o la fingida; Canta el silguero, el corderillo pace, Si espera fin, ninguna pena es pena. Tu pecho aquien su pena satisface
Ay del que tiene por su mal consejo
El remedio impossible de su vida
Segunda Parte de las Riinas de Lope de Vega. Barcelona, 1604. Soneto XI.
O fuera de Jacob, o fuera mio.
employed, occupation for the enthusiast, and a place of rest for the weary spirit and the broken heart. Men, therefore, engage in it oftentimes at mature age, and with undistracted minds, seeking consolation under irremediable sorrows in the conscientious discharge of religious duties. Lope de Vega, when his domestic happiness was broken up, entered the church with enough of this feeling to render him an excellent and exemplary priest; but not with so much as to renounce his literary career, or even abate the ardour with which he pursued it. He was admitted into the congregation of priests, natives of Madrid; so eminent a man was considered as doing honour to the society which he had chosen, and he was very speedily elected the first chaplain, in compliment to his endowments, and in testimony of the exactness with which he discharged his priestly offices. Upon the publication of bis Corona Tragica, a poem upon the death of Mary, queen of Scots, which he dedicated to Urban VIII., that pontiff wrote him a complimentary letter, made him Promotor Fiscal of the Reverend Apostolic Chamber, sent him the habit of St. John, and conferred upon him the degree of Doctor in Theology. His biographers have not stated in what year he took orders,—it was probably when he was about forty years of age; he lived to be seventy three,-but towards the . close of his life, his mind as well as body seems to have given way; abandoning himself to the Manichean superstitions of the corrupted church of Rome, he refused to eat meat when his declining health rendered it necessary, because he thought it expedient for the health of the body to mortify the soul,—and he practised self-flagellation with such severity, that it is supposed to have hastened his death : after a cruel discipline of this kind, on Friday the 22d of August, - 1635, he fell ill, and expired on the Monday following.
His death produced what in the phraseology of the present day is called, a great sensation,-it caused, says one of the Spanish biographers, an universal commotion in the court and in the whole kingdom. Many ministers, knights and prelates were present when he expired; among others the duke of Sesa, who had been the most munificent of his patrons, whom he appointed his executor, and who was at the expense of his funeral, a mode by which the great in that country were fond of displaying their regard for men of Jetters. It was a public fueral, and it was not performed till the third day after his death, that there might be time for rendering it more splendid, and securing a more honourable attendance. The grandees and nobles who were about the court were all invited as inourners; a novenary or service of nine days was performed for him, at which the musicians of the royal chapel assisted : after which there were exequies on three successive days, at which three bishops officiated in full pontificals, and on each day a funeral ser
mon was preached by one of the most famous preachers of the age. Such honours were paid to the memory of Lope de Vega, the most prolific and, during his life, the most popular of all poets, ancient or modern.
The reader will not wonder that the Spaniards should talk of the monstrosily of Lope's genius, when he hears that more įhan eighteen hundred plays and four hundred sacramental dramas of his composition were said to have been acted and printed. This statement has been generally followed without suspicion. Lord Holland perceives that it is greatly exaggerated, and this indeed may easily be shown, from the statement itself, and from what the author himself has told us,—to say nothing of the physical impossibility which it involves. More than eighteen hundred plays and four hundred autos sacramentales are said to be comprized in twenty-six printed volumes, which would be more than fourscore plays in a volume, for the autos sacramentales are not inferior to the ordinary dramas in length ;-now the bulkiest volume of Spanish plays in our collection, which is not a very scanty one, does not contain more than twenty: this far exceeds the average contents of such volumes; but assuming this as the average, three fourths must be deducted from the number ascribed to bim. The computation will thus come very near the number which he himself gives us in his Arte de Hacer Comedias published in 1609, where he says that he had then written four hundred and eighty-three,-he was at that time forty-six years of age, and in orders; and it cannot be doubted that the far greater part of his dramatic compositions must have been written while he was a layman, and had to provide for himself and his family by the produce of his pen. In conformity with this, the list given by Lord Holland of those which are supposed to be extant, amounts to four hundred and ninety-seven. Should it be objected, that in the Egloga a Claudio, which was published after his death, Lope de Vega says he had composed fifteen hundred dramatic fables, the reply is, that he includes his Loas and Entremeses, which are interludes and pieces of a single scene, and of which there may probably be enough extant to make up the sum. Of the plays which were printed it is not reasonable to suppose that many can have been lost;—and the supposition that more than three-fourths should have perished in this manner is palpably absurd.
The number of verses which he composed has been not less exaggerated. He himself has said that he wrote five sheets every day of his life; upon this datum a calculatiou bas been made that the number of sheets amounted to 133,225, and the number of verses which they contained, after a due deduction for that small portion of his works which is written in prose, to 21,318,000. When we