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One of the leading political and military figures in the court of Juan II of Castile (1405-54), Íñigo López de Mendoza y de la Vega, the first marquis of Santillana (most commonly referred to by scholars as simply el marqués de Santillana), was born at Carrión de los Condes, Castile, to a high-ranking noble family with close ties to the arts in Castile. His grandfather Pedro González de Mendoza and his father, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (admiral of the Castilian fleet), were also accomplished poets. His uncle was Pero López de Ayala, a celebrated poet and historian who served as chancellor of Castile during the last quarter of the fourteenth century.
The Marqués de Santillana's father died when he was still very young, and as a result he was forced to spend part of his childhood living in his grandmother's household, where he received a rigorous education at the hands of his grandmother and important intellectuals of the day, such as Pero Sánchez del Castillo (a member of the royal council), Alfonso Fernández de Valladolid, and his great-uncle Gutierre Álvarez de Toledo, who in 1443 would become archbishop of Toledo. As a young man, the Marqués de Santillana also spent a good deal of time in the court of the Aragonese king Alfons V el Magnànim, and it was here that he was exposed to the work of Catalan and Provençal poets (such as Ausiàs March, whom he admired greatly), the Latin and medieval Italian literary tradition (such as Virgil and Dante Alighieri), and the work of Iberian poets such as Enrique de Villena, who composed verses in Castilian and Catalan.
A self-conscious admirer of Italian literary figures such as Dante, Giovanni Boccaccio, and Francesco Petrarch, as well as earlier Galician-Portuguese lyric, the Marqués de Santillana is perhaps best known for his serranillas, poems that tell of amorous encounters between knights and rustic mountain girls. During the final two decades of his life, he also composed several sonnets, which are considered to be the first written in Castilian. Tese follow the style and form of the Italian dolce stil nuovo (which by the fifteenth century was no longer so new), and they speak predominantly of unrequited love. He also composed several narrative allegorical pieces in verse called decires, of which the Triunphete de Amor (Triumph of love), El infierno de los enamorados (Te lovers' hell), the allegorical Comedieta de Ponça (Short play on Ponza), and the Bías contra Fortuna (Bias against fortune) stand out. His Proemio e carta al condestable don Pedro de Portugal (1449; Preface and letter to the constable Don Pedro of Portugal) is generally considered to be the earliest work of Castilian literary criticism.
Lejos de vos y cerca de cuidado
Lejos de vos y cerca de cuidado,
pobre de gozo y rico de tristeza,
fallido de reposo y abastado
de mortal pena, congoja y braveza,
desnudo de esperanza y abrigado
de inmensa cuita y visto de aspereza,
la mi vida me fuye, mal mi grado,
la muerte me persigue sin pereza.
Ni son bastantes a satisfacer
la sed ardiente de mi gran deseo
Tajo al presente, ni me socorrer
la enferma Guadiana, ni lo creo.
Sólo Guadalquivir tiene poder
de me guarir y sólo aquel deseo.
Moza tan fermosa
Moza tan fermosa
no vi en la frontera,
como una vaquera
de la Finojosa.
Faciendo la vía
a Santa María,
vencido del sueño,
por tierra fragosa
perdí la carrera,
do vi la vaquera
de la Finojosa.
En un verde prado
de rosas y flores,
Far From You and Close to Unease
Far from you and close to unease,
poor in pleasure and rich in sadness,
deprived of repose and brimming
with mortal fear, grief, and biterness,
stripped of hope and wrapped in
immense despair, and dressed in harshness,
my life flees from me against my will,
death pursues me relentlessly.
Neither is the Tagus enough to satisfy
the burning thirst of my great desire,
nor is the feeble Guadiana able
to succor me, nor do I believe they are.
Only the Guadalquivir has the power
to heal me, and that same desire.
A Girl as Beautiful
A girl as beautiful
I've never seen in the border zone
as a certain cowherd
5 Making the trip
from the Calatraveño Pass
to Santa María,
conquered by fatigue,
I lost the path
10 in the rocky terrain, and
there I saw the cowherd
In a green meadow
filled with roses and flowers,
15 taking care of her herd
con otros pastores,
la vi tan graciosa
que apenas creyera
que fuese vaquera
de la Finojosa.
No creo las rosas
de la primavera
sean tan fermosas
ni de tal manera,
fablando sin glosa,
si antes supiera
de aquella vaquera
de la Finojosa.
No tanto mirara
su mucha beldad,
porque me dejara
en mi libertad.
Mas dije: "Donosa
(por saber quién era),
¿dónde es la vaquera
de la Finojosa?"
Bien como riendo,
dijo: "Bien vengades;
que ya bien entiendo
lo que demandades;
non es deseosa
de amar, ni lo espera,
de la Finojosa."
with other cowherds,
she seemed to me so graceful
that I hardly believed
that she was a cowherd
20 from Hinojosa.
I don't believe that
the roses of spring
are as beautiful
or as graceful,
25 to put matters directly:
had I only known before
of that cowherd
Had I not looked so
30 long upon her beauty,
I would now be
a free man.
I said to her: "Beautiful girl
(to find out who she was),
35 where is the cowherd
she said: "Welcome;
I already understand well
40 what you're asking;
and she neither wants
love nor hopes for it,
Ausiàs March was born in Gandia, Valencia, to a family that had achieved noble status just a few decades earlier. His father and his uncle (Pere and Jaume, respectively) were also well-known poets. As a young man, Ausiàs was knighted and participated in the military campaigns in Sardinia and Corsica organized by the Aragonese king Alfons V. He also took part in military efforts against pirates off the coasts of North Africa and Sicily. In 1425, March settled down in Gandia to manage his family's estates, and he also began writing poetry. By 1445, he had already achieved considerable fame as a poet. He was married twice, first to Isabel Martorell (sister of Joanot Martorell, author of Tirant lo Blanc [Tirant the White]) and then to Joana Escorna. Both of his wives died before giving birth to any legitimate heirs, but it is known that March had fathered at least five illegitimate children before his death in Valencia on March 3, 1459.
Influenced by the troubadour tradition, Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarch, and the moralist poets of his time, Ausiàs March is commonly viewed as a poetic innovator who breaks from the troubadour tradition and stands among the very first poets from the Crown of Aragon to compose poetry in Catalan instead of Provençal. March certainly sought to distance himself from the ornamental language of the troubadours, those medieval poet-musicians who, in the words of Linda Paterson, " 'invented' courtly love and who profoundly influenced the poetics and sentiment of Europe from the twelfth century to the present day." However, while March's poetry does display a shit away from certain aspects of troubadour lyric, the troubadours' influence on his poetry cannot be denied. And one must be careful when making sweeping claims about March's linguistic break from the troubadours, as the verses of his friend and compatriot Jordi de Sant Jordi likewise engage in something of a decisive move toward Catalan over Provençal as a language of lyric expression.
One aspect of Ausiàs March's poetry that is quite similar to troubadour lyric is its form: March tends to employ a ten-syllable verse with a caesura between the fourth and fifth syllables, and he most often uses octaves organized into a rhyme scheme of abba:cddc. These eight-line stanzas or "cobles" can also be classified as "capcaudades," meaning that the rhyme in the last line of a stanza is often linked to the first line of the following stanza. Instead of using the typical imagery of the troubadours, however, March's poetic oeuvre (comprising some 128 poems and 10,000 verses) employs allegories and comparisons that can be disconcerting, revealing what many critics have pointed to as commentary on the realities of life in fifteenth-century Valencia. Ausiàs March was translated into Castilian in the sixteenth century by Baltasar de Romaní, Jorge de Montemayor, F. Sánchez de Brozas (el Brocense) and Francisco de Quevedo. His works largely influenced prominent poets of the Castilian Golden Age, including Joan Boscà, Garcilaso de la Vega, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, Fernando Herrera, and Gutierre de Cetina, among others, and his poetry still remains popular within modern Catalan poetic and performative traditions.
Lleixant a part l'estil dels trobadors
Lleixant a part l'estil dels trobadors
qui per escalf trespassen veritat,
e sostraent mon voler afectat
perqué no em torb, diré el que trop en vós.
Tot mon parlar als qui no us hauran vista
res no valrà, car fe no hi donaran,
e los veents que dins vós no veuran,
en creure a mi, llur arma serà trista.
L'ull de l'hom pec no ha tan fosca vista
que vostre cos no jutge per gentil;
no el coneix tal com lo qui és subtil:
hoc la color, mas no sap de la llista.
Quant és del cos menys de participar
ab l'espirit, coneix bé lo grosser:
vostra color i el tall pot bé saber,
mas ja del gest no porà bé parlar.
Tots som grossers en poder explicar
ço que mereix un bell cos e honest;
jóvens gentils, bons, sabents, l'han request
e, famejants, los cové endurar.
Lo vostre seny fa ço que altre no basta,
que sap regir la molta subtilea.
En fer tot bé, s'adorm en vós perea.
Verge no sou perqué Déu ne volc casta.
Sol per a vós bastà la bona pasta
que Déu retenc per fer singulars dones.
Fetes n'ha assats, molt sàvies e bones,
mas compliment dona Teresa el tasta,
havent en si tan gran coneiximent
que res no el fall que tota no es conega.
A l'hom devot sa bellesa encega;
past d'entenents és son enteniment.
Venicians no han lo regiment
tan pacific com vostre seny regeix
Leaving Aside the Style of the Troubadours
Leaving aside the style of the troubadours,
who for the sake of ardor overstep truth,
and setting apart my intense desire,
of which I am not ashamed, I'll say what I find in you.
5 All my words, to those who have not seen you,
will be worth nothing, because they will not be believed.
And as for those who have seen you but not within you,
in believing me, their soul will be saddened.
The eyes of a beastly man could not have such dim sight
10 as not to judge your body noble.
Yet such a man doesn't know that body the way someone who is refined would:
he knows the color, but he doesn't see the design.
Who lets his body interact less
with the spirit knows well what is base:
15 your color and cut can be well known,
but of your manner such a man struggles to speak.
We're all vulgar in claiming to be able to explain
what a beautiful and honest body merits.
Young and wise nobles have sought it,
20 and, famished, they lacked endurance.
Your wisdom does what no other could;
it knows how to command great subtlety.
You do only what is good, and so sloth sleeps within you.
You are no virgin because God wishes you to have descendants.
25 Only for you was provided the good substance
that God saves for extraordinary women.
Many were made, very wise and good,
but Dona Teresa experiences perfection,
having such great knowledge
30 that she knows all and fails at nothing.
Her beauty blinds the devoted man;
her intellect is food for the enlightened.
Venetians have not ruled as peacefully
as your sense commands
subtilitats que l'entendre us nodreix
e del cos bell sens colpa el moviment.
Tan gran delit tot hom entenent ha
e ocupat se troba en vós entendre
que lo desig del cos no es pot estendre
a lleig voler, ans com a mort està.
Llir entre cards, lo meu poder no fa
tant que pogués fer corona invisible.
Meriu-la vós, car la qui és visible
no es deu posar lla on miracle està.
Alt e amor, d'on gran desig s'engendra
Alt e amor, d'on gran desig s'engendra,
e esper, vinent per tots aquests graons,
me són delits, mas dóna'm passions
la por del mal, qui em fa magrir carn tendra,
e port al cor sens fum continu foc,
e la calor no em surt a part de fora.
Socorreu-me dins los térmens d'una hora,
car mos senyals demostren viure poc!
Metge escient no té lo cas per joc
com la calor no surt a part extrema.
L'ignorant veu que lo malalt no crema
e jutja'l sa puis que mostra bon toc.
Lo pacient no porà dir son mal,
tot aflebit, ab llengua mal diserta.
Gests e color assats fan descoberta
part de l'afany, que tant com lo dir val.
Plena de seny, dir-vos que us am no cal,
puis crec de cert que us ne teniu per certa,
si bé mostrau que us està molt coberta
cella perqué amor és desegual.
35 the subtleties that your understanding nourishes
and the innocent movement of your beautiful body.
All enlightened men experience such great delight
and become so occupied in trying to understand you
that bodily desire dies and can never
40 turn into repulsive urges.
Lily among thistles, my power is not enough
to make for you the invisible crown
that you deserve; and one that is visible
should not be placed where a miracle stands.
Allure and Love, Which Engender Great Desire
Allure and Love, which engender great desire
and hope from all their stages,
are for me delights. But passions come from
the fear of evil, which makes my tender flesh waste away,
5 and I carry in my heart a continuous fire without smoke,
and a heat that cannot escape.
Help me before this hour ends,
for there are many signs that I have little time to live!
A wise physician does not make light of such a case,
10 when heat does not reach the extremities.
The ignorant one sees that the patient does not burn
and judges him well to the touch.
The patient will not be able to say what his ailment is—
much weakened, with his tongue unable to speak.
15 His gestures and color show well enough his fervor,
which is worth as much as spoken words.
Sensible lady, it is unnecessary to say that I love you,
as I'm sure that you already know this to be true,
even if your actions show that it is well hidden from you
20 why love must be so unjust.
Excerpted from DREAMS of WAKING Copyright © 2013 by The University of Chicago. Excerpted by permission of The University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Part I: Janus
Íñigo López de Mendoza, Marqués de Santillana (1398–1458)
Ausiàs March (1400?–1459)
Joan Roís de Corella (1435–1497)
Gil Vicente (1465?–1537)
Garcia de Resende (1470–1536)
Bernardim Ribeiro (1482?–1550?)
Cristóbal de Castillejo (1491–1556)
Part II: Venus
Francisco de Sá de Miranda (1481–1558)
Joan Boscà (1490?–1542)
Garcilaso de la Vega (1501–1536)
António Ferreira (1528–1569)
Pero de Andrade Caminha (1520?–1589)
Fray Luis de León (1527–1591)
Luisa Sigea de Velasco (1522?–1560)
Fernando de Herrera (1534–1598)
Francisco de Aldana (1537?–1578)
San Juan de la Cruz (1542–1591)
Santa Teresa de Ávila (1515–1582)
Jorge de Montemayor (Montemor) (1520?–1561)
Joan Timoneda (1518?–1583)
Aljamiado poetry (second half of 16th century)
Luís Vaz de Camões (1524?–1580)
Part III: Bacchus
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616)
Lope Félix de Vega y Carpio (1562–1635)
Luis de Góngora y Argote (1561–1627)
Francisco Rodrigues Lobo (1580–1622)
Francesc Vicenç Garcia i Torres (el Rector de Vallfogona) (1580?–1623)
Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1645)
Tomás de Noronha (d. 1651)
Sóror Violante do Céu (1602–1693)
Francisco Manuel de Melo (1608–1666)
Francesc Fontanella (1622–1682?)
Gregório de Matos (1636–1696)
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1649?–1695)
Juan del Valle y Caviedes (1645?–1697?)
Index of First Lines