0.-  At the beginning of 16th century spanish poetry would suffer a deep change. Spanish poets knew about italian poetry but only a little part -among them Marques de Santillana- had practiced this style.
   Writers as Juan del Encina or Garci Sanchez de Badajoz kept their cancioneril fashion against new generations who followed italian art.

Folio from
Petrarch Cancionero

First edition of
Works by Boscan and Garcilaso
   Changes could begin about 1526, when Juan Boscan followed Andrea Navagiero's advisement for writing italian verses, as Petrarch (1304-1374) did.
    1.-  Juan Boscan Almogaver (Barcelona, 1487/92-1542) had published three octosyllabic poems in the second edition of Cancionero General of Hernando del Castillo (1514), but he was the first poet introducing italian ways.
   He divided his Works (Barcelona, 1543) in four books: first one including his cancioneril works written in old octosyllabic verses: songs, coplas, villancicos...


Manuscript with
works by Boscan (b.II)
   Second one offered almost a hundred sonnets and many italianized-versed songs, generally dealing with topic of Love.
   Third book opened by the long -2793 vv.- fable of Hero and Leander composed in free hendecasyllabic verses with digressions on minor topics. It was followed by a chapter and many letters in chained couples of three verses as the one devoted to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, that eulogizes study and golden mediocracies. This book was closed by an Eight Rhyme on Kingdom of Love that imitates Pietro Bembo.

Second Edition of
Works by Boscan and Garcilaso

   Fourth Book was composed by poems of Garcilaso. Latter issues of this whole book included unrealeased couples and poems by Boscan, as editors still do today .

    2.-  Boscan shows the cancionero tradition in his letters to Almirante Fadrique Enriquez (1460-1538). The latter was close to poets like Fray Luis de Escobar, Lopez de Villalobos, Francisco de Santisteban, Quiros, Alonso de Ledesma... Other writers in octosyllabic verses were Fernandez de Heredia, Vasco Diaz de Frexenal and vihuela composer Luis Milan from Valencia. Poets of hendecasyllabic verses are represented by Antonio de Soria.

Shield of Almirante
Fadrique Enriquez

GARCILASO DE LA VEGA (¿1501?-1536)


Portrait of Garcilaso
     3.-  This gentleman born in Toledo fought for the Emperor against Comuneros (1520-1522). In 1522-24 was made a Knight of Santiago because of his exploits in Rhode against Turkish. Next year he married Elena de Zuñiga, who gave him three children. He was a Regent in Toledo and, about 1526, he would meet his Muse: Portuguese Isabel Freyre. In 1529 he left Toledo to assist to Emperor's Coronation in Bolonia.
   His first works present cancioneril features, as show his eight octosyllabic couples, prior to 1532. Others will be composed in an Italian style as Songs I, II and IV and, probably Sonnets I, V, VI, XXVI, XXVII and XXXVII.

Manuscript Sonnet XIV

First  Eclogue
   About 1532 he wrote Sonneto IV and Song III, that deals with his exile in a Danubian island.
   This year, thanks to Duke of Alba, he travelled to Naples, where he met poets of Pontanian Academy -who followed Pontano and Sannazaro (†1530): Antonio Epicuro, Antonio Minturno...- He also met Luigi Tansillo and Bernardo Tasso, who would introduce our poet to Pietro Bembo. Garcilaso read Ariosto's works.

Supposed portrait of
Garcilaso de la Vega


Works by
Boscan and Garcilaso
   These are the days of Eclogue II (1533-34), almost a dialog on unfortunate love of Albanio towards Camila and the virtues of House of Alba. Garcilaso composed Sonnets XI, XIII, XVI, XXI, XXIII, XXIV and XXIX (1533-36) with mythological references or familiar ones -his brother and napolitan friends-.
   He wrote latin poetry and visited Boscan in Spain (1533): an Epistle (12/10/1534) is devoted to him. Death of Isabel Freyre (1533-34?) inspired him Eclogue I and Sonnets X and XXV.

Two  sonnets
by Garcilaso


Autograph by Garcilaso
   He was Major of Reggio (1534) and remembered his fighting against Tunisia (1535) in Sonnets XXXIII and XXXV and Elegy II. He would have already written Elegy I to Bernaldino de Toledo and Ode ad Ginesium Sepulvedam, as well as Sonnets VII, VIII, XII, XV, XIX, XXVIII, XXX and XXXI, dealing with a possible napolitan love and with mythological references.
   His Song V to Flower of Gnido was composed now. A year later Eclogue III (1536) would be produced: four nymphs weave myths of Orpheus and Euridice; Apolo and Daphne; Venus and Adonis. Death of Isabel Freyre closes the whole poem.
   Garcilaso died this year in Niza, fighting against french. His corpse was taken to Toledo two years later. Between his papers we keep some letters and his will.

Autograph by Garcilaso

   He was influenced by Petrarchism as well as by latin classicism : Horace, Virgil or Ovidius.
   His platonism is touched by a gentle sorrow of love, taken from Middle Ages. His militar ideal vanishes because of the Emperor ingratitude.
   Garcilaso's works would be explained in commentaries by Francisco Sanchez de las Brozas -the Brocense- (1574 and 1578) and Fernando de Herrera (1580).
   Though printed edition of 1543 -and later ones- has been the main reference in order to publish his poems, there are many important manuscripts as Gayangos' code: 17969 BNM.

Commented works of Garcilaso


Cancioneiro Geral
     4.-  Portuguese Francisco Sa de Miranda (1481-1558) is represented in Cancioneiro Geral. A travel to Italy between 1521 and 1526 introduced to him new poetry of Dolce Still Nuovo: he imitated it in redondillas, sonnets and eclogues.


Diego Hurtado
de Mendoza
    5.-  Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (Granada, 1503-1575), close friend of Garcilaso and Boscan, was a traveller, soldier and diplomat in London, Venice and Rome, where he was honoured by Pietro Aretino. Exiled in his native land (1569), he wrote War of Granada.
   His poems were printed for the first time in Works (Madrid, 1610): eclogues, songs, letters, octosyllabic poems, twenty-eight sonnets, a Fable of Adonis, Hipomenes and Atalanta and epigrams. His poems of love are known as Cancionero to Marfira: gentlewoman Marina de Aragon (†1549).

Diego Hurtado
de Mendoza


   Burlesque production can be collected from several manuscripts with amusing poems: "Elegy of the Flea", "Praise of Horn"... He also composed moral poetry.

    6.-  Many poets followed traditional poetry against italianized fashions: Gregorio Silvestre (1520-1569) -who also wrote hendecasyllabic verses printed in Granada, 1582- and Cristobal de Castillejo (Salamanca, ca.1492-1550), secretary of Prince Fernando, who knew Erasmism and died in Wien. He composed a Speech of Love and a Dialog of Women, between feminist Fileno and antifeminist Alethio who deals, in octosyllabic and broken-foot verses, with wifes, maidens, nuns, widows, spinsters and procuresses. Castillejo shows his good sense of humour and his open attitude towards the problems of his age.

Dialog of Women


Gutierre de Cetina
    7.-  Gutierre de Cetina (Sevilla, 1514-1557), a close friend of Hurtado de Mendoza, sings to Dorida from Betis river and to Amarilida from Pisuerga one, under the name of Vandalio. Ca. 1537 he visited southern Italy and Mexico in 1546. Back to Milan in 1548 he would die in Mexico before 1557, in rare circumstances.
   His petrarchist models would be Tansillo and Ausias March, often translated to spanish language along those years. We collected his work: two little prose compositions and many octosyllabic. Also sixteen epistles -with ovidian features- and more than two-hundred sonnets and madrigales, among them, the most well-known one in spanish poetry. In spite of some allusions by Fernando de Herrera, Cetina's work remained unknown until 18th century. It could be read in manuscripts -one of them close to the autograph one-, as Flowers of different poetry (Mexico, 1577).

Works by Ausias March


Varias Poesias
Hernando de Acuña
    8.-  Hernando de Acuña (Valladolid?, 1518-1580) was the captain of Alfonso de Avalos in Italy, where he met Garcilaso -the latter would compose a latin ode for him-. About 1544 he was a prisoner of french enemies in Narbonne. He served his kings in Germany, Africa and Pays-Bas until his retirement in Granada, close to Hurtado de Mendoza, Gregorio Silvestre and Barahona de Soto.
   He translated chivalric poems as Orlando Innamorato by Boiardo or Le Chevalier Déliberé by Olivier de la Marche, that won the Emperor's interest.
   His wife collected in Various poems (1591) hendecasyllabic verses: a Fable of Narcise, a Quarrel between Ayax and Ulysses about Achilles' weapons and a Letter from Dido to Eneas -written when he was old-. He composed poems of Galatea and Damon and Silvia and Silvano; many sonnets, specially outstanding "It is close, My Lord, or has already come...", a homage of the Emperor: "a Monarch, an Empire and a Sword" and, also, traditional octosyllabic poems. Other manuscript verses from cancioneros would complete his whole work.

    9.-  Close to neoplatonism, Portuguese Jorge de Montemayor (1520-1561) published his Cancionero (Antwerpen, 1554), composed by love poems and devotional ones, both in traditional and italian verses. He wrote in prose and verse the first spanish pastoral roman: Diana (ca.1559), with interesting dialogs.
    10.-  We should remember that this strain of italianized poetry shares its time with other popular poems: villancicos, ballads, songs, proverbs...

Ballads Book

D.Miguel Pérez Rosado.
Ph. D. in Philology.