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HISPANIC NOTES
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PANIC NOTES




HISPANIC SOCIETY




AND MONOGRAPHS





OF AMERICA



HISPANIC

NOTES & MONOGRAPHS



ESSAYS, STUDIES, AND BRIEF
BIOGRAPHIES ISSUED BY THE
HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA




ii-JJI-L MAESTRO FRA1 LVISDELEQN



FRAY LUIS
D E LEON

A Biographical Fragment

BY

JAMES FITZMAURICE-KELLY, F.B.A.



With a Port mil from
an ewjr ui-iii y after Pachcco




OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
HUMPHREY M1LFORD

1921



PRINTED IN ENGLAND

AT THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

HY FREDERICK HAI.I,



PREFACE


V


PREFACE




THIS biographical sketch is, in fact,




a fragment of a book which will now never




come into existence. This particular




chapter has been snatched from the




burning by an accident. The name of




Luis de Leon deservedly ranks as high as




that of any poet in the history of Spanish




literature ; but his reputation as a poet is




mostly local, while he is known all the




world over as the subject of a dubious




anecdote. The attempt is now made




to render him more familiar than he




has hitherto been to English-speaking




people, and to do this, to exhibit the




man as he was, it proved necessary to




analyse the two volumes of his first trial,




the evidence of which is brought together




HISPANIC NOTES


I



VI



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



in vols. x and xi of the Coleccion de
Documentos ine'diios para la Historia de
Espana. Edited by Miguel Salva and
Pedro Sainz de Baranda, these volumes
appeared in 1847; their value is incon-
testable, but, though they give the evidence
as it occurs in the register of the Inquisi
tion, this evidence is not arranged in
consistent chronological order, nor is it
supplied with an index. The work,
printed seventy-three years ago, is not with-
in easy reach of every reader ; and of those
who have access to it not all are patient
enough to read steadily through so large
a mass of somewhat incoherent matter.
Should any such readers be tempted to
examine the record closely, it is hoped
that this sketch will do something to
make their task easier. An attempt is
made here to picture the man as he was,
full of fortitude, yet not exempt from
iiuman weakness. I trust that I have
avoided the temptation to go to the
opposite extreme, and lay the blame as



HISPANIC NOTES



PREFACE

has been done for the irregularities of
the trial at Luis de Leon's own door.

In dealing with his Spanish poems, I
have tried not to put his claims to con-
sideration too high. Laboulaye, in La
Liberte religieuse, calls Luis de Leon 'le
premier lyrique de 1'Europe moderne'.
This phrase dates from 1859, and was ad-
dressed to a generation which delighted in
arranging authors in something like the
order of a class list. Though I have the
highest opinion of Luis de Leon's genius,
I have not felt tempted to follow Labou-
laye's example ; I have by preference dis-
cussed, so far as space allows, such points as
the probable chronology of Luis de Leon's
poems. Once more I repeat that this
is a chapter of a book that will now never
be written.

It may be as well to add at this point
a few explanatory words concerning the
plan of accentuation adopted here. There
seems to be no valid reason for applying,
in a book primarily intended for English



AND MONOGRAPHS



Vlll



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



readers, the modern Academic system to
proper names borne in the sixteenth cen-
tury by men who lived more than three
hundred years before the current system
was ever invented. Except of course in
the case of quotations, that system is
applied rigidly only to the names of those
who have adopted it formally (as on
pp. 114.71. and 191 .). I have gone on
the theory that accents should be sparingly
used in a work of this kind, and that, as
accents are almost needless for Spaniards,
they should be employed only when the
needs of foreigners compel their use. It
is a fundamental rule in Spanish that
nearly all words ending in a consonant
should be stressed on the last syllable.
But since nobody, however slightly ac-
quainted with Spanish, is tempted to
pronounce such words as Velazquez (p. 79)
or Gomez (p. 250) incorrectly, no graphic
accent is employed in such cases. Names
ending in s such as Valbas are accen-
tuated, however, when the stress falls on



HISPANIC NOTES



PREFACE

the last syllable : this prevents all possi-
bility of confusion with the pronunciation
of ordinary plural forms. Place-names
such as Bejar (p. 58) and Cordoba (p. 184)
are accentuated ; so are trisyllables and
polysyllables such as G6ngora (p. 209)
and Ziiniga(p. 57 and elsewhere). It will
be seen that, in this matter, I have been
guided by strictly utilitarian principles.
Inconsistencies are perhaps unavoidable
under any system. The plan followed
here, while it tends to diminish the total
number of accents, probably involves no
more inconsistencies than any other. It
is based on rational grounds, and is, it
may be hoped, less offensive to the eye
than the current system. Quotations,
I repeat, are reproduced exactly as they
stand in the sources from which they
profess to be taken.

With these words, I close what I have
to say here on this subject and commend
these pages to the indulgent judgement of
my readers.



AND MONOGRAPHS



X


FRAY LUIS D E LEON




The following works, or articles, may




be usefully consulted by the student of




Spanish.




EDITIONS. Luis DE LEON : Obras>e&.




A. Merino, Madrid, 1804-5-6-16. 6 vols.




[reprinted with a preface, by C. Muinos




Saenz, Madrid, 1885, 6 vols.]; Biblioteca de




Autores Espanoles, vols. XXXV,XXXVII,LIII,




LXI, and LXII ; De los nombres de Cristo, ed.




F. de Onfs, Madrid, 1914-1917 [Clasicos




castellanos, vols. xxvm and xxxni]; Lo




perfecta casada, ed. E. Wallace, Chicago,




1903; La perfecta casada, ed. A. Bonilla




y San Martin, Madrid, 1917; El perfects




predicador, ed. C. Muinos Saenz in La




Ciudad de Dios (1886), vol. xi, pp. 340-




348,432-447, 527-537; (1886), vol. xii,




PP- J 5- 2 5> 104-111, 211-218, 322-330,




420-427, 504-512; (1887), vol. xin,




pp. 32-38, 106-114, 213-222, 302-312;




(1887), vol. xiv, pp. 9-17, 154-160, 305-




3 r 5. 449-459>5 8l -59 r > 729~743; Exposi-




tion del Miserere [facsimile of the Barcelona


I


HISPANIC NOTES



P R E F A C K

ed. of 1632], ed. A. M. Huntington, Ne\v
York, 1903.

WORKS OF REFERENCE : Proceso
original qite la Inquisition de Valladolid
hizo al maestro Fr. Luis de Leon, religiose
del orden de S. Agustin, ed. M. Salva and
P. Sainz de Baranda, in Coleccion de Docu-
inentos ine'ditos para la Historia de Rspana
(Madrid, 1847), vol. x, pp. 5-575. and
vol. xi, pp. 5-358 ; J. Gonzalez de Tejada,
Vida de Fray Luis de Leon (Madrid, 1 863) :
C. A. Wilkens, Fray Luis de Leon (Halle,
1866); A. Arango y Escandon, Frai Luis
de Leon, ensayo historico, z' A ed. (Mexico,
1866) [the first edition appeared in La
Cruz (Mexico, 1855-56)]; F. H. Reusch,
Luis de Leon und die spanische Inquisition
(Bonn, 1873) ; M. Gutierrez, El misticismo
ortodoxo (Valladolid, 1886) ; M. Gutierrez,
Fray Luis de Leon y la filosofia espanola
del siglo xvi, 2 a ed. aumentada (Madrid,
1891) \Adiciones postumas in La Ciudad
de Dios (1907), vol. LXXIII, pp. 391-399,



AND MONOGRAPHS



Xll



FRAY LUIS D E LEON

478-494, 662-667 ; vol. LXXIV, pp. 49~55>
303-414, 487496, 628-643; inZa Ciudad
de Dios (1908), vol. LXXV, pp. 34-47,
215-221, 291-303, 472-486]; J. M.
Guardia, Fray Luis de Leon ou la poe'sie
dans le clottre, in the Revue germanique
(1863), vol. xxiv, pp. 307-342; M. Me-
nendez y Pelayo, Horacio en Espana, Solaces
bibliogrdficas, 2 a ed. (Madrid, 1885), vol. i,
pp. 11-24, vol. n, pp. 26-36; M. Me-
nendezy Pelayo, Estudios decritica liter aria,
i a serie (Madrid, 1893), pp. 1-72; F.
Blanco Garcia, Segundo proceso insiruido
par la Inquisition de Valladolid contra
Fray Luis de Leon (Madrid, 1896); F.
Blanco Garcia, Fray Luis de Leon : recti-
ficaciones biogrdficas, in the Homenaje a
Mene'ndez y Pelayo (Madrid, 1899), vol. I,
pp. 153-160; J. D. M. Ford, Luis de
Leon, the Spanish poet, humanist and
mystic, in the Publications of the Modern
Language Association of America (Balti
more, 1899), vol. xiv, pp. 267-278; F.
Blanco Garcia, Fr. Luis de Leon : estudio



HISPANIC NOTES



P R E F A C E

biografico delinsignepoetaagustino (Madrid,
1 904) ; Ada de la reposition de Fray Luis
de Leon en una cdtedra de la Universidad
ie Salamanca in the Revista de Archivos,
Bibliotecasy Mitseos, Tercera e*poca ( igoo),
vol. iv, pp. 680-682 ; L. G. Alonso Getino,
La Causa de Fr. Luis de Le6n ante la critica
\> los nuevos documentos historicos, in the
Revista de Archives, Bibliotecas y Museos,
Tercera e'poca (1903), vol. ix, pp. 148-
156, 268-279, 44 -449 ) ( 1 94}> v l-
pp. 288-306, 380-397 ; C. Muinos Saenz,
El ' Deciamos ayer ' de Fray Luis de Leon,
(Madrid, 1905); L. Alonso Getino, Vida
vprocesos del maestro Fr. Luis de Leon (Sala-
manca, 1907); C. Muinos Saenz, El ' Deci-
amos ayer ' . . . y otros excesos, in La Ciudad
de Dios (1909), vol. LXXVIII, pp. 479-495.
544-560; vol. LXXIX, pp. 18-34, 107-124.

F9I-2I2, 353-374. S 2 9-55 2 ; vo1 ' LXXX -

pp. 99-125, 177-197 ; F. de Onis. Sobrela
trasmision de la obra literaria de Fray Luis
de Leon, in the Revista de Filologia Espa-
iiola (Madrid, 1915^ vol. n. pp. 217-257



AND MONOGRAPHS



xiv


FRAY LUIS D E LEON




R. Menendez Pidal, Una poesia ine'dita de




Fray Luis de Leon, in the Revista de Filo-




logia EspaJiola (Madrid, 1917), vol. iv, pp




389-390; C. Perez Pastor, Bibliografia




tnadrileiia (Madrid, 1891-1906-1907),




parte ii, pp. i 54-2 5 5, and parte iii, pp




404-409 ; G. Vazquez Nunez, El padre




Francisco Zumel, general de la Merced y




catedrdtico de Salamanca (1540-1607), in




Revista de Archives, Bibliotecas y Mi/seos,




Tercera e"poca (1918), vol. xxxvin, pp.




1-19, 170-190; (1918), vol. xxxix, pp




53-67, 237-266 ; (1919), vol. XL, pp. 447-




466, 562-594. F K




PS. Had they reached me in time, the




following two items would have been in-




cluded in the respective sections of the




foregoing summary bibliography : Poesias




originates de Fray Luis de Leon, ed. F. de




On is, San Jose de Costa Rica, 1920 ; Ad.




Coster, Notes pour une edition des pot'sies




de Luis de Ledn in the Revue hispanique




(1919), vol. XLVI, pp. 193-248.


I


HISPANIC NOTES



FRAY LUIS DE LEON


i


I




WE are all of us familiar with the process




of 'whitewashing' historical characters.




We are past being surprised at finding




Tiberius portrayed as an austere and




melancholy recluse, Henry VIII pictured




as a pietistic sentimentalist with a pedantic




respect for the letter of the law, and




Napoleon depicted as a romantic idealist,




seeking to impose the Social Contract on




an immature, reluctant Europe. Though




the ' whitewashing ' method is probably not




less paradoxical than the opposite system,




it makes a stronger and wider appeal,




inasmuch as it implies a more amiable




attitude towards life, and is more con-




sonant with a flattering conception of the




possibilities of human nature. A prosaic




narrative of established facts does not




immediately recommend itself to the




average man. Possibly few have existed




who were so good and so great that they




HISPANIC NOTES


I



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



can afford to have the whole truth told
about them. At any rate, it is easier to
convey a picturesque general impression
than to collect all the available evidence
with the untiring persistence of a model
detective and to present it with the im-
partial acumen of a competent judge, j
Moreover, the inertiaof pre-existingopinion
has to be overcome. Once readers have
been accustomed to accept as absolutely
authentic an idealized conventional por-
trait of a man of genius, it is difficult to
induce them to abandon it for a more
realistic likeness. In the interest of
historical truth, however, the attempt
must be made. We are sometimes told
that ' historical truth can afford to wait '.
That may be true ; but it has waited for
nearly four centuries, and, if it be divulged
in English now, the revelation lays us open
to no reasonable charge of indiscretion or
indecent haste.

It may be that the name of Luis de
Leon is comparatively unknown outside
the small group of those who are regarded



HISPANIC NOTES



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



as specialists. Luis de Leon is nothing
like so famous as Cervantes, as Lope de
Vega, as Tirso de Molina, as Ruiz de
Alarcon, and as Calderon, whose names,
if not their works, are familiar to the laity
This is one of chance's unjust caprices.
With the single exception of Cervantes,
perhaps no figure in the annals of Spanish
literature deserves to be more celebrated
than Luis de Leon. He was great in verse,
great in prose, great in mysticism, great
in intellectual force and moral courage.
Many may recall him as the hero of a
story possibly apocryphal in which he
figures as returning to his professorial chair
after an absence of over four years (passed
in the prison-cells of the Inquisition) and
beginning his exordium to his students
with the imperturbable remark : ' We were
saying yesterday.' Mainly on this uncertain
basis is constructed the current legend that
Luis de Leon was a bloodless philosopher,
incapable of resentment, and, indeed,
without a touch of human weakness in his
aloof and lofty nature. His works do not



AND MON O GR A PH S



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



lend colour to this presentation of the man,
do the ascertainable details of his



nor



chequered career. The conception of Luis
de Leon as a meek spirit, an unresisting
victim of malignant persecution, is not the
sole view tenable of a complex character.
However, the recorded facts may be trusted
to speak for themselves.



HISPANIC NOTES



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



II

WHAT was Luis de Leon's full name?
Was it Luis Ponce de Leon ? So it would
appear from the summarized results of
P. Mendez printed in the Revista Agusti-
niana ( i ). The point is not without interest,
for Ponce de Leon is one of the great
historic names of Spain. If Luis de Leon
was entitled to use it, he appears not to
have exercised his right, for in the report
of his first trial(2) he consistently employs
some such simple formula as: 'El
maestro fray Luis de Leon . . . digo'(3).
The omission of the name ' Ponce ' during
proceedings extending over more than
four years can scarcely be accidental. It
may, however, have been due to monastic
humility (4), or to simple prudence : a desire
not to provoke opponents \\ho declared
that Luis de Leon had Jewish blood in his
veins (5). Whether this assertion, a serious
one in sixteenth-century Spain, had any
foundation in fact is disputed. It is



AND MONOGRAPHS



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



apparently certain that Luis de Leon's
great-grandfather married a Leonor de
Villanueva, who is reported to have con-
fessed to practising Jewish rites and to
have been duly condemned by the In-
quisition in 15 13 or thereabouts (6). This
does not go to the root of the matter, for
Leonor de Villanueva is alleged to have
been Lope de Leon's second wife. His
first wife is stated to have been Leonor
Sanchez de Olivares, a lady of unques-
tioned orthodoxy, and mother of Gomez
de Leon (7), the future grandfather of the
Luis de Leon with whom we are concerned
here. If this statement be correct (8),
obviously there can be no ground for
asserting that Luis de Leon was of Jewish
blood. But it must in candour be admitted
that the point is not wholly clear from
doubt (9).

It is now established that Luis de Leon
was born at Belmonte in the province of
Cuenca: 'Belmonte de la Mancha de
Aragon ' as he calls it (10). When was
he born ? On his tombstone, he was stated



HISPANIC NOTES



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



to be sixty-four years old when he died on
August 23, 1591 (n). This is almost the
only scrap of evidence available, for no
baptismal registers dating back to the third
decade of the sixteenth century are preserved
at Belmonte (12). Did the inscription on
Luis de Leon's tomb mean that he had
completed his sixty-fourth year, or did it
mean that, at the time of his death, he
had entered upon his sixty-fourth year?
According to the answer given to these
questions, the date of Luis de Leon's birth
must be fixed either in 1527 or 1528.

Apart from the fact that Luis de Leon
was taught singing (13), as became the
future friend of Salinas, we know next to
nothing of his early youth. From himself
we learn that he was taken from Belmonte
to Madrid when he was five or six, that
at the age of fourteen he was entered at
Salamanca University, where one of his
uncles Francisco de Leon was lecturer
on Canon Law, and that shortly afterwards

resolved to enter a religious order (14).
The eldest son of a judge (15), Luis de



AND MONOGRAPHS



FRAY LUIS DE LEON '

, j

i



Leon renounced most of his share of the
paternal estate (16), andgave it up to one
or both of his younger brothers Crist6bal
and Miguel, each of whom had been
veinticuatro of Granada at some date
previous to April 1 5, 1572(17). On January
29, 1544, Luis de Leon was formally
professed in the Augustinian order (18).
In his monastery we may plausibly con-
jecture that he led a solitary and bookish
existence, poring over his texts and attend-
ing lectures assiduously. As early as 1546-
1547 his name appears on the list of students
of theology at Salamanca ; the registers of
theological students covering the years
1547-154810 1550-1551 are missing; Luis
de Leon's name docs not appear in the
register for the academic year 1551-1552,
but it recurs in the University books for the

years i55 2 - I 553 an<il 5S4-JtS5S' Hethere
figures still as a student of theology (19).
He would seem, therefore, to have shown
no amazing precocity in the schools ; but
lis application, we may be sure, was
ntense, and there is nothing rash in



HISPANIC NOTES



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



assuming that during part of the two years
that he was absent, as he tells us (20),
from Salamanca, he was lecturing at Soria.
The remaining eighteen months he
probably devoted to exegetical studies at
Alcala de Henares, where he matriculated
in 1556 (21). He was about thirty when
he rather unexpectedly graduated as a
bachelor of Arts at the University of
Toledo (22). Why he preferred to take his
degree at Toledo instead of at Salamanca
is not clear ; it is plausibly conjectured that
economy may have been his motive, as
the obtaining of a bachelor's degree at
Salamanca was an expensive business (23).
Confirmation of this conjecture is afforded
by the fact that he speedily returned to
his allegiance, was 'incorporated' as a
bachelor at Salamanca in 1588, graduated
there as a licentiate of theology in May
1560, and in the following month became
a master of theology (24). It soon became
clear that he did not regard a University
degree as a mere distinction. The retire-
ment of Cregorio Gallo caused a vacancy



AND MONOGRAPHS



IO



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



in the chair of Biblical Exegesis at Sala-
manca. Luis de Leon, though but a
master of a few months' standing, pre-
sented himself as a candidate for the post.
He failed to obtain it, being defeated by
Gaspar de Grajal, a future ally and fellow
victim (25): so far as can be ascertained,
this was Luis de Leon's sole academic
check. Manifestly he was not daunted.
He claimed, and established, his right to
take part in certain examinations in his
faculty (26), and 'con mucho exceso '
thwarted the designs of the famous
Domingo Banez, whom he afterwards
described as ' enemigo capital' (27). His
combativeness did him no immediate
harm, for, in December 1561, he was
elected Professor of Theology at Sala-
manca (28). He was obviously not
disposed to hide his light under a bushel,
nor to perform his academic duties in
a spirit of humdrum routine. Whatever
he did, he did with all his might, and his
strenuous versatility made him conspicuous
in University life. In 1565 he was trans-



HISPANIC NOTES



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



ferred from the theological chair to the
chair of Scholastic Theology and Biblical
Criticism, in which he succeeded his old
master Juan de Guevara (29).

Such successes as Luis de Leon had
hitherto won he owed mainly to his own
talents (30). Brilliant as he was, there is
no reason to assume that he was personally
popular in Salamanca (31). It does not
appear that he made any effort to win
popularity ; nor is it certain that he would
have succeeded even if he had sought to
win it. His temper was impulsive, his
disposition was critical and independent ;
his tongue and pen were sharp and made
enemies among members of his own order ;
moreover, he contrived to alienate the
Dominicans, a powerful body in Sala-
manca, as in the rest of Spain. No doubt
he had many admirers, especially among
his own students. Yet the University, as
a whole, stood slightly aloof from him,
and before long in certain obscurantist
circles cautious hints of latitudinarianism
were murmured against him. For these



AND MONOGRAPHS



12



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



mumblings there was absolutely no sort of
foundation (32). As might be inferred
from the simple fact that he was afterwards
chosen to be the first editor of St. Theresa's
works, Luis de Leon was the most orthodox
of men. His selection for this piece of
work may have been due to the influence
of the saint's friend and successor, Madre
Ana de Jesus, who had the highest opinion
of him (33). But it was not often that
he produced so favourable a personal
impression ; he had not mastered the
gentle art of ingratiation ; it is even con-
ceivable that he did not strictly observe
St. Paul's injunction to 'suffer fools
gladly' (34). Though fundamentally
humble-minded, he was intolerant of what
he thought to be nonsense : a quality
which would perhaps not endear him to
all his colleagues. He set a proper value
on himself and his attainments ; he was
prone to sift the precious metal of truth
from the dross of uninformed assertion ;
he had an incurable habit of choosing his
friends from amongst those who shared



HISPANIC NOTES



FRAY LUIS DE LEON



his tastes. A good Hebrew scholar, he
was on terms of special intimacy \vith
Caspar de Grajal and with Martin
Martinez de Cantalapiedra (35), respec-
tively Professors of Biblical Exegesis and
of Hebrew in the University of Salamanca.
Frank to the verge of indiscretion and
suspecting no evil, Luis de Leon scattered
over Salamanca fagots each of which
contained innumerable sticks that his
opponents used later to beat him with.
Lastly, he had the misfortune, as it proved
later, to differ profoundly on exegetical
points from a veteran Professor of Latin,
Rhetoric, and Greek (36). This was Leon
de Castro, a man of considerable but
unassimilated learning, an astute wire-
puller and incorrigible reactionary whose
name figures in the bibliographies as the
author of a series of commentaries on
Isaiah a performance which has not
been widely read since its tardy first
appearance in 1571. The delay in pub-
lishing this work, and the contemporary
neglect of it, were apparently ascribed by



AND MONOGRAPHS



FRAY LUIS D E LEON



Castro to the personal hostility of Luis de
Leon who, though lie did not approve of
the book, seems to have been perfectly
innocent on both heads (37).

The fires of these differences had
smouldered for some years when, during
the University course (as it appears) of
1568-1569, Luis de Leon gave a series of
lectures wherein he discussed, with critical
respect, the authority attaching to the
Vulgate. The respect passed almost
unnoticed; the criticism gave a handle
to a group of vigilant foes. Since 1569
a good deal of water has flowed under the
bridges which span the Tormes, and it is
intrinsically likely that, were the objection-
able lectures before us, Luis de Leon
might appear to be an ultra-conservative
in matters of Biblical criticism. But this
is not the historical method. In judging
the action of Leon de Castro and his allies
we must endeavour to adjust ourselves
to the sixteenth-century point of view.
Matters would seem to have developed
somewhat as follows. In 1569 a com-



HISPANIC NOTES




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