as mourners.

predominated more and more. Much of his poetry| to a moral grandeur, which the Castilian, with all composed at this time expressed them ; and at last the tragic coloring of his pencil, could never they rose to such a height, that he was almost con

reach. Both fascinated their audiences by that stantly in a state of excited melancholy, or, as it was then beginning to be called, of hypochondria. sweet and natural flow of language, that seemed Early in the month of August, he felt himself to set itself to music as it was uttered. But, extremely weak, and suffered more than ever from however much alike in other points, there was that sense of discouragement which was breaking one distinguishing feature in each, which removed down his resources and strength. His thoughts, them and their dramas far as the poles asunder. however, were so exclusively occupied with his

Shakspeare's great object was the exhibition spiritual condition, that, even when thus reduced, of character. To this everything was directed. he continued to fast, and on one occasion went through with a private discipline so cruel, that the Situation, dialogue, story-all were employed walls of the apartment where it occurred were only to this great end. This was in perfect afterwards found sprinkled with his blood. From accordance with the taste of his nation, as shown this he never recovered. He was taken ill the through the whole of its literature, from Chaucer same night; and, after fulfilling the offices pre- to Scott. Lope de Vega, on the other hand, scribed by his church with the most submissive made so little account of character that he reprodevotion-mourning that he had ever been engaged duces the same leading personages, in his differin any occupations but such as were exclusively religious—he died on the 25th of August, 1635, ent plays, over and over again, as if they had nearly seventy-three years old.

been all cast in the same mould. The galan, the The sensation produced by his death was such dama, the gracioso, or buffoon, recur as regularly as is rarely witnessed even in the case of those as the clown in the old English comedy, and their upon whom depends the welfare of nations. The rôle is even more precisely defined. Duke of Sessa, who was his especial patron, and to whom he left his manuscripts, provided for the intrigue—the story. His plays were, what Mr,

The paramount object with Lope was the funeral in a manner becoming his own wealth and

And rank. It lasted nine days. The crowds that Ticknor well styles them, dramatic novels. thronged to it were immense. Three bishops this, as our author remarks, was perfectly conofficiated, and the first nobles of the land attended formable to the prevalent spirit of Spanish litera

Eulogies and poems followed on all ture-clearly narrative—as shown in its long sides, and in numbers all but incredible. Those epics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, its written in Spain make one considerable volume, host of ballads, its gossiping chronicles, its chivand end with a drama in which his apotheosis was

alrous romances. brought upon the public stage. Those written in

The great purpose of Lope

to excite and maintain an interest in the Italy are hardly less numerous, and fill another. But more touching than any of them was the story. Keep the dénouement in suspense,” he prayer of that much-loved daughter, who had been says ; “if it be once surmised, your audience shut up from the world fourteen years, that the will turn their backs on you.” He frequently long funeral procession might pass by her convent complicates his intrigues in such a manner that and permit her once more to look on the face she only the closest attention can follow them. He so tenderly venerated ; and more solemn than any cautions his hearers to give this attention, especwas the mourning of the multitude, from whose dense mass audible sobs burst forth, as his remains ially at the outset. slowly descended from their sight into the house Lope, with great tact, accommodated his theappointed for all living.

atre to the prevailing taste of his countrymen.

“ Plautus and Terence,” he says, “I throw into Mr. Ticknor follows up his biographical sketch the fire when I begin to write ;''—thus showing of Lope with an analysis of his plays, concluding that it was not by accident, but on a settled printhe whole with a masterly review of his qualities ciple, that he arranged the forms of his dramas. as a dramatic writer. The discussion has a It is the favorite principle of modern economists, wider import than at first appears. For Lope de that of consulting the greatest happiness of the Vega, although he built on the foundations of the greatest number. Lope did so, and was rewarded ancient drama, yet did this in such a manner as for it, not merely by the applause of the million, to settle the forms of this department of literature but by that of every Spaniard, high and low, in forever for his countrymen.

the country. In all this, Lope de Vega acted on It would be interesting to compare the great strictly philosophical principles. He conformed Spanish dramatist with Shakspeare, who four- to the romantic, although the distinction was not ished at the same period, and who, in like man- then properly understood ; and he thought it ner, stamped his own character on the national necessary to defend his departure from the rules theatre. Both drew their fictions from every of the ancients. But, in truth, such rules were source indiscriminately, and neither paid regard not suited to the genius and usages of the Spanto probabilities of chronology, geography, or iards, any more than of the English ; and more scarcely history. Time, place, and circumstance than one experiment proved that they would be as were of little moment in the eyes. Both built little tolerated by the one people as the other. their dramas on the romantic model, with its It is remarkable that the Spaniards, whose lanmagic scenes of joy and sorrow, in the display of guage rests so broadly on the Latin, in the same which each was master in his own way; though manner as with the French and the Italians, the English poet could raise the tone of sentiment should have refused to rest their literature, like



them, on the classic models of antiquity, and have shall find the amount of what was received with chosen to conform to the romantic spirit of the favor, as it came from the press, quite unparalleled. more northern nations of the Teutonic family. It And when to this we are compelled to add his own was the paramount influence of the Gothic ele- assurance, just before his death, that the greater ment in their character, coöperating with the part of his works still remained in manuscript, we

pause in astonishment, and, before we are able to peculiar, and most stimulating influences of their believe the account, demand some explanation that early history.

will make it credible ;-an explanation which is We close our remarks on Lope de Vega with the more important, because it is the key to much some excellent reflections of our author on the of his personal character, as well as of his poetical rapidity of his composition, and showing to what

And it is this. No poet of any considextent his genius was reverenced by his contem

erable reputation ever had a genius so nearly related

to that of an improvisator, or ever indulged his poraries.

genius so freely in the spirit of improvisation. Lope de Vega's immediate success, as we have This talent has always existed in the southern seen, was in proportion to his rare powers and countries of Europe; and in Spain has, from the favorable opportunities. For a long time, nobody first, produced, in different ways, the most extraorelse was willingly heard on the stage ; and during dinary results. We owe to it the invention and the whole of the forty or fifty years that he wrote perfection of the old ballads, which were originally for it, he stood quite unapproached in general pop- improvisated and then preserved by tradition ; and ularity. His unnumbered plays and farces, in all we owe to it the seguidillas, the loleros, and all the the forms that were demanded by the fashions of other forms of popular poetry that still exist in the age, or permitted by religious authority, filled Spain, and are daily poured forth by the fervent the theatres both of the capital and the provinces ; imaginations of the uncultivated classes of the peoand so extraordinary was the impulse he gave to ple, and sung to the national music, that sometimes dramatic representations, that, though there were

seems to fill the air by night as the light of the sun only two companies of strolling players at Madrid does by day. when he began, there were, about the period of his

In the time of Lope de Vega, the passion for death, no less than forty, comprehending nenrly a such improvisation had risen higher than it ever thousand persons.

rose before, if it had not spread out more widely. Abroad, too, his fame was hardly less remark- Actors were expected sometimes to improvisate on able. In Rome, Naples, and Milan, his drainas themes given to them by the audience. Extempowere performed in their original language ; in raneous dramas, with all the varieties of verse deFrance and Italy, his name was announced in manded by a taste formed in the theatres, were not order to fill the theatres when no play of his was

of rare occurrence. Philip the Fourth, Lope's to be performed ; and once even, and probably patron, had such performed in his presence, and oftener, one of his dramas was represented in the bore a part in them himself. And the famous seraglio at Constantinople. But perhaps neither

Count de Lemos, the viceroy of Naples, to whom all this popularity, nor yet the crowds that fol- Cervantes was indebted for so much kindness, kept, lowed him in the streets and gathered in the balco- as an apanage to his viceroyalty, a poetical court, nies to watch him as he passed along, nor the name of which the two Argensolas were the chief ornaof Lope, that was given to whatever was esteemed ments, and in which extemporaneous plays were

acted with brilliant success. singularly good in its kind, is so striking a proof of his dramatic success, as the fact, so often com

Lope de Vega's talent was undoubtedly of near plained of by himself and his friends, that multi- kindred to this genius of improvisation, and proindes of his plays were fraudulently noted down as duced its extraordinary results by a similar process, they were acted, and then printed for profit through- and in the same spirit. He dictated verse, we are out Spain ; and that multitudes of other plays could take it down ; and wrote out an entire play

told, with ease, more rapidly than an amanuensis appeared under his name, and were represented all over the provinces, that he had never even heard in two days, which could with difficulty be tranof till they were published and performed.

scribed by a copyist in the same time. He was A large income naturally followed such popu

not absolutely an improvisator, for his education larity, for his plays were liberally paid for by the and position naturally led him to devote himself to actors; and he had patrons of a munificence un

written composition, but he was continually on the known in our days, and always undesirable. But borders of whatever belongs to an improvisator's he was thrifiless and wasteful; exceedingly char- peculiar province ; was continually showing, in his itable; and in hospitality to his friends, prodigal. merits and defects, in his ease, grace, and sudden He was, therefore, almost always embarrassed. resource, in his wildness and extravagance, in the At the end of his “ Jerusalem," printed as early happiness of his versification and the prodigal abunas 1609,

he complains of the pressure of his do- dance of his imagery, that a very little more freemestic affairs; and in his old age he addressed some dom, a very little more indulgence given to his verses, in the nature of a petition, to the still more

feelings and his fancy, would have made him at thriftless Philip the Fourth, asking the means of once, and entirely, not only an improvisator, but living for himself and daughter. After his death,

the most remarkable one that ever lived. his poverty was fully admitted by his executor; We

pass over the long array of dramatic writers and yet, considering the relative value of money, who trod closely in the footsteps of their great no poet, perhaps, ever received so large a compen- master, as well as a lively notice of the satirist sation for his works.

Quevedo, and come at once to Calderon de la It should, however, be remembered, that no other poet ever wrote so much with popular effect. Barca, the great poet who divided with Lope the For, if we begin with his dramatic compositions, empire of the Spanish stage. which are the best of his efforts, and go down to Our author has given a full biography of this his epics, which, on the whole, are the worst, we famous dramatist, to which we must refer the

reader; and we know of no other history in Eng-| Calderon's drama turns on the most exaggerated lish where he can meet with it at all. Calderon principles of honor, jealousy, and revenge, minlived in the reign of Philip the Fourth, which, gled with the highest religious exaltation. Some extending from 1621 to 1665, comprehends the of these sentiments, usually referred to the influmost flourishing period of the Castilian theatre. ence of the Arabs, Mr. Ticknor traces to the The elegant tastes of the monarch, with his gay ancient Gothic laws, which formed the basis of the and gracious manners, formed a contrast to the early Spanish jurisprudence. The passages he austere temper of the other princes of the house cites are pertinent, and his theory is plausible ; of Austria. He was not only the patron of the yet, in the relations with woman, we suspect much drama, but a professor of the dramatic art, and must still be allowed for the long contact with the indeed a performer. He wrote plays himself, and jealous Arabian. acted them in his own palace. His nobles, follow- Calderon's characters and sentiments are formed, ing his example, turned their saloons into theatres; for the most part, on a purely ideal standard. The and the great towns, and many of the smaller ones, incidents of his plots are even more startling than partaking of the enthusiasm of the court, had their those of Lope de Vega, more monstrous than the own theatres and companies of actors, which, alto- fictions of Dumas or Eugene Sue. But his thoughts gether, amounted, at one time, to no less than are breathed forth in the intoxicating language of three hundred. One may understand that it re- passion, with all the glowing imagery of the East, quired no small amount of material to keep such a and in tones of the richest melody of which the vast machinery in motion.

Castilian tongue is capable. At the head of this mighty apparatus was the

Mr. Ticknor has enlivened his analysis of Calpoet Calderon, the favorite of the court even more deron's drama with several translations, as usual, than Lope de Vega, but not more than he the from which we should be glad to extract, but must favorite of the nation. He was fully entitled to content ourselves with the concluding portion of this high distinction, if we are to receive half that his criticism, where he sums up the prominent is said of him by the German critics, among whom qualities of the bard. Schlegel particularly celebrates him as displaying Calderon neither effected nor attempted any great the purest model of the romantic ideal, the most changes in the forms of the drama. 'Two or three perfect development of the sentiments of love, hero- times, indeed, he prepared dramas that were either ism, and religious devotion. This exaggerated wholly sung, or partly sung and partly spoken; tone of eulogy calls forth the rebuke of Sismondi, but even these, in their structure, were no more who was educated in a different school of criticism, operas than his other plays, and were only a and whose historical pursuits led him to look below courtly luxury, which it was attempted to introthe surface of things to their moral tendencies. By into France by Louis the Fourteenth, with whose

duce, in imitation of the genuine opera just brought this standard, Calderon has failed. And yet it court that of Špain was now intimately connected. seems to be a just standard, even when criticizing But this was all. Calderon has added to the stage a work by the rules of art; for a disregard of the no new form of dramatic composition. Nor has he obvious laws of morality is a violation of the prin- much modified those forms which had been already ciples of taste, on which the beautiful must rest. arranged and settled by Lope de Vega. But he Not that Calderon's plays are chargeable with licen- his incidents, and arranged everything more skil

has shown more technical exactness in combining tiousness or indecency to a greater extent than was

fully for stage-effect. He has given to the whole common in the writers of the period. But they a new coloring, and in some respects, a new physishow a lamentable confusion of ideas in regard to ognomy. His drama is more poetical in its tone the first principles of morality, by entirely con- and tendencies, and, has less the air of truth and founding the creed of the individual with his reli- reality, than that of his great predecessor. In its gion. A conformity to the established creed is more successful portions—which are rarely objec

tionable from their moral tone-its seems almost virtue, the departure from it vice. It is impossible to conceive, without reading his perforinances, to gorgeous world, where the scenery is lighted up

as if we were transported to another and more what revolting consequences this confusion of the with unknown and preternatural splendor, and moral perceptions perpetually leads.

where the motives and passions of the personages Yet Calderon should not incur the reproach of that pass before us are so highly wrought, that we hypocrisy, but that of fanaticism. He was the must have our own feelings not a little stirred very dupe of superstition ; and the spirit of fanati- and excited before we can take an earnest interest cism he shares with the greater part of his coun- But even in this he is successful. The buoyancy

in what we witness or sympathize in its results. trymen—even the most enlightened—of that period. of life and spirit that he has infused into the gaver Hypocrisy may have been the sin of the Puritan, divisions of his drama, and the moving tenderness but fanaticism was the sin of the Catholic Span- that pervades its graver and more tragical portions, iard of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. lift us unconsciously to the height where a lone his The one quality may be thought to reflect more brilliant exhibitions can prevail with our imaginadiscredit on the heart, the other on the head. The tions-where alone we can be interested and de

luded, when we find ourselves in the midst, not philosopher may speculate on their comparative only of such a confusion of the different forms of moral turpitude; but the pages of history show the drama, but of such a confusion of the proper that fanaticism armed with power has been the limits of dramatic and lyrical poetry. most fruitful parent of misery to mankind.

To this elevated tone, and to the constant effort


necessary in order to sustain it, we owe much of It must not be supposed that the drama, though what distinguishes Calderon from his predecessors, the great natural diversion, was allowed to go on and nearly all that is most individual and charac- in Spain, any more than in other countries, in an teristic in his separate merits and defects. It makes him less easy, graceful, and natural than Lope. uninterrupted flow of prosperity. It met with It imparts to his style a mannerism, which, not considerable opposition more than once in its withstanding the marvellous richness and fluency of career; and, on the representations of the clergy, his versification, sometimes wearies and sometimes at the close of Philip the Second's reign, peroffends us. It leads him to repeat from himself till formances were wholly interdicted, on the ground inany of his personages become standing characters, of their licentiousness. For two years the and his heroes and their servants, his ladies and their theatre was closed. But, on the death of that confidants, his old men and his buffoons, seem to be produced, like the masked figures of the ancient gloomy monarch, the drama, in obedience to the theatre, to represent, with the same attributes and public voice, was renewed in greater splendor in the same costume, the different intrigues of his than before. It was urged by its friends that the various plots. It leads him, in short, to regard theatre was required to pay a portion of its prothe whole of the Spanish drama as a form, within ceeds to certain charitable institutions, and this whose limits his imagination may be indulged made all its performances in some sort an exerwithout restraint; and in which Greeks and Ro- cise of charity. Lope de Vega also showed his mans, heathen divinities, and the supernatural fictions of Christian tradition, may be all brought address by his Comedias de Santos, under which out in Spanish fashions and with Spanish feelings, pious name the life of some saint or holy man was and led, through a succession of ingenious and portrayed, which, however edifying in its close, interesting adventures, to the catastrophes their afforded, too often, as great a display of profligacy stories happen to require.

in its earlier portions as is to be found in any of In carrying out this theory of the Spanish the secular plays of the capa y espada. His drama, Calderon, as we have seen, often succeeds, experiment seems to have satisfied the consciences and often fails. But when he succeeds, his success is sometimes of no common character. He then of the opponents of the drama, or at least to have sets before us only models of ideal beauty, perfec- silenced their opposition. It reminds us of the tion, and splendor ;-a world, he would have it, manner in which some among us, who seem to into which nothing should enter but the highest have regarded the theatre with the antipathy elements of the national genius. There, the entertained by our Puritan fathers, have found fervid, yet grave, enthusiasm of the old Castilian their scruples vanish at witnessing these exhibiheroism; the chivalrous adventures of modern, tions under the more reputable names of " Athecourtly honor ; the generous self-devotion of individual loyalty; and that reserved, but passionate næum,” “ Museum," or " Lyceum.” love, which, in a state of society where it was so

Our author has paid due attention to the other rigorously withdrawn from notice, became a kind varieties of elegant literature which occupy this of unacknowledged religion of the heart ;-all prolific period. We can barely enumerate the seem to find their appropriate home. And when titles. Epic poetry has not secured to itself the he has once brought us into this land of enchant- same rank in Castile as in many other countries. ment, whose glowing impossibilities his own genius has created, and has called around him At the head stands the “ Araucana” of Ercilla, forms of such grace and loveliness as those of which Voltaire appears to have pr rred to Clara and Doña Angela, or heroic forms like those

" Paradise Lost”! Yet it is little more than a of Tuzani, Mariamne, and Don Ferdinand, then he chronicle done into rhyme ; and, notwithstanding has reached the highest point he ever attained, or certain passages of energy and poetic eloquence, ever proposed to himself;-he has set before us the it is of more value as the historical record of an grand show of an idealized drama, resting on the eye-witness than as a work of literary art. purest and noblest elements of the Spanish national character, and one which, with all its unquestion

In Pastoral poetry the Spaniards have better able defects, is to be placed among the extraordi- specimens. But they are specimens of an insipid nary phenomena of modern poetry.

kind of writing, notwithstanding it has found We shall not attempt to follow down the long favor with the Italians, to whom it was introduced file of dramatic writers who occupy the remainder by a Spaniard—a Spaniard in descent—the cele

brated author of the “ Arcadia." of the period. Their name is legion ; and we are filled with admiration, as we reflect on the

In the higher walks of Lyrical composition intrepid diligence with which our author has of Herrera, in particular, seems to equal, in its

they have been more distinguished. The poetry waded through this amount of matter, and the lidelity with which he has rendered to the respec- uity'; while the Muse of Luis de Leon is filled

dithyrambic flow, the best models of classic antiqtive writers literary justice. We regret, howevor, with the genuine inspiration of Christianity. Mr. that we have not space to select, as we had intended, some part of his lively account of the Ticknor has given a pleasing portrait of this Spanish players, and of the condition of the stage.

gentle enthusiast, whose life was consecrated It is collected from various obscure sources,

to Heaven, and who preserved a tranquillity of

and contains many curious particulars. They show temper unruffled by all the trials of an unmerited that the Spanish theatre was conducted in a man


We cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of quotner so dissimilar from what exists in other European nations as perfectly to vindicate its claims ing a translation of one of his odes, as the last

extract from our author. The subject is, the to originality.

feelings of the disciples on witnessing the ascen- | author's criticism on the historical writings of the sion of their Master.

age, in which he has penetrated below the surface And dost thou, hely Shepherd, leave

of their literary forms to the scientific principles Thine unprotected flock alone,

on which they were constructed. Here, in this darksome vale, to grieve,

Neither can we pause on the last of the three While thou ascend'st thy'glorious throne ? great periods into which our author has distributed

the work, and which extends from the accession 0, where can they their hopes now turn, Who never lived but on ihy love?

of the Bourbon dynasty in 1700 to some way into Where rest the hearts for thee that burn,

the present century.

The omission is of the less When thou art lost in light above ?

consequence, from the lamentable decline of the

literature, owing to the influence of French modHow shall those eyes now find repose

els, as well as to the political decline of the nation That turn, in vain, thy smile to see? What can they hear save mortal woes,

under the last princes of the Austrian dynasty. Who lose thy voice's melody?

The circumstances which opened the way both to

this social and literary degeneracy are well porAnd who shall lay his tranquil hand

trayed by Mr. Ticknor, and his account will be Upon the troubled ocean's might?

read with profit by the student of history. Who hush the winds by his command ? Who guide us through this starless night?

We regret still more that we can but barely

allude to the Appendix, which, in the eye of the For Thou art gone !—that cloud so bright,

Spanish critic, will form not the least important That bears thee from our love away, Springs upward through the dazzling light,

portion of the work.

Besides several long poems, And leaves us here to weep and pray!

highly curious for their illustration of the ancient

literature, now for the first time printed from the A peculiar branch of Castilian literature is its original manuscripts, we have, at the outset, a disProverbs ; those extracts of the popular wisdom-cussion of the origin and formation of the Castilian “short sentences from long experience,” as Cer- tongue, a truly valuable philological contribution. vantes styles them. They have been gathered, The subject has too little general attraction to allow more than once, in Spain, into printed collections. its appearance in the body of the text; but those One of these, in the last century, contains no less students who would obtain a thorough knowledge than twenty-four thousand of these sayings ! of the Castilian and the elements of which it is And a large number was still left floating among compounded, will do well to begin the perusal of the people. It is evidence of extraordinary the work with this elaborate essay. sagacity in the nation, that its humblest classes Neither have we room to say anything of our should have made such a contribution to its litera- author's inquiry into the genuineness of two works ture. They have an additional value with purists which have much engaged the attention of Castilian for their idiomatic richness of expression like the scholars, and both of which he pronounces apocryriboboli of the Florentine mob, which the Tuscan phal. The manner in which the inquiry is concritics hold in veneration as the racy runnings ducted affords a fine specimen of literary criticism. from the dregs of the people. These popular in one of these discussions occurs a fact worthy of maxims may be rather compared to the copper note. An ecclesiastic named Barrientos, of John coin of the country, which has the widest circula- the Second's court, has been accused of delivering tion of any, and bears the true stamp of antiquity to the flames, on the charge of necromancy, the —not adulterated, as is too often the case with library of a scholar then lately deceased, the famous the finer metals.

Marquis of Villena. The good bishop, from his The last department we shall notice is that of own time to the present, has suffered under this the Spanish Tales-rich, various, and highly grievous imputation, which ranks him with Omar. picturesque. One class—the picaresco tales—are Mr. Ticknor now cites a manuscript letter of the those with which the world has become familiar bishop himself, distinctly explaining that it was by in the specimen afforded by the “ Gil Blas” of Le the royal command that this literary auto da Sage, an imitation—a rare occurrence- -surpass- was celebrated. This incident is one proof ainong ing the original. This amusing class of fictions many of the rare character of our author's matehas found peculiar favor with the Spaniards, from rials, and of the careful study which he has given its lively sketches of character, and the contrast to them. it delights to present of the pride and the poverty Spanish literature has been until now less of the hidalgo. Yet this kind of satirical fiction thoroughly explored than the literature of almost was invented by a man of rank, and one of the any other European nation. Everybody has read proudest of his order.

“Gil Blas,” and, through this foreign source, has Our remarks have swelled to a much greater got a good idea of the social condition of Spain, at compass than we had intended, owing to the im- the period to which it belongs; and the social portance of the work before us, and the abundance condition of that country is slower to change than of the topics, little familiar to the English reader. that of any other country. Everybody has read We have no room, therefore, for further discus-“ Don Quixote," and thus formed, or been able to sion of this second period, so fruitful in great form, some estimate of the high value of the Casnames, and pass over, though reluctantly, our Lilian literature. Yet the world, for the most

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