Es el estudiante de Salamanca el que hace frente Dios para pedirle cuentas y juzgarle. Don Diego, que es el hermano de la protagonista, le reta por insultar a su hermana. Acaba, como es de esperar muriendo, aunque el final puede dar lugar a varias lecturas. Se libera del pasado y del futura par a vivir apasionadamente el presente.
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Both were Andalusians of noble stock, and, as we learn from official documents, were held to be Christians of clean blood "without taint of Jews, heretics, Moors, or persons punished by the Holy Inquisition, and who neither were nor had been engaged in mean or low occupations, but in highly honorable ones. He died in at the early age of twenty-one, soon after joining this regiment. During the early months of the Bourbon cavalry regiment in which Don Juan served was stationed in the little hamlet of Villafranca de los Barros, Estremadura, and there the future poet was born.
We do not know where the mother and son found refuge during the stormy years which followed. The father was about to begin the most active period of his career. The mere enumeration of the skirmishes and battles in which he participated would require much space.
In he distinguished himself at Medina Sidonia and Chiclana, and sought promotion to the rank of field-marshal, which was never granted. After the Peninsular War he seems to have been stationed in Madrid between and Possibly the old soldier preferred the freedom of barrack life, where his authority was unquestioned, to the henpecked existence he led at home.
She was a good business woman who combined energy with executive ability, as she later proved by managing successfully a livery-stable business. Parallels are constantly being drawn between Byron and Espronceda. It is a curious fact that both poets were reared by mothers who were alternately indulgent and severe.
In the Espronceda family occupied an apartment in the Calle del Lobo. It was there and then that Patricio de Escosura firmed his intimacy with the future poet. He describes graphically his first meeting with the youth who was to be his lifelong friend.
In the light of later years Escosura felt that in this boyish prank the child was father of the man. The boy who preferred waterspouts to stairways, later in life always scorned the beaten path, and "the illogical road, no matter how venturesome and hazardous it was, attracted him to it by virtue of that sort of fascinating charm which the abyss exercises over certain eminently nervous temperaments. Escosura, who studied there afterwards, never speaks of his friend as having attended the same institution.
However, the matter is of slight moment, for if he studied in Segovia at all he cannot have remained there for more than a few weeks. What little education Espronceda was able to acquire in the course of his stormy life was gained mostly in the Colegio de San Mateo between the years and This was a private school patronized by sons of the nobility and wealthy middle class.
Lista was the best teacher of his time in Spain. The wide range of his knowledge astonished his pupils, and he appeared to them equally competent in the classics, modern languages, mathematics, philosophy and poetics, all of which subjects he knew so well that he never had to prepare a lecture beforehand.
Plainly Lista was not a specialist of the modern stamp; but he was something better, a born teacher. In spite of an unprepossessing appearance, faulty diction, and a ridiculous Andalusian accent, Lista was able to inspire his students and win their affection. It is no coincidence that four of the fellow students of the Colegio de San Mateo, Espronceda, Felipe Pardo, Ventura de la Vega, and Escosura, afterwards became famous in literature.
We learn that he studied sacred history, Castilian grammar, Latin, Greek, French, English, mythology, history, geography, and fencing, which last he was later to turn to practical account. He showed most proficiency in French and English, and least in Greek and mathematics. His talent was recognized as unusual, his industry slight, his conduct bad. According to Escosura he was "bright and mischievous, the terror of the whole neighborhood, and the perpetual fever of his mother.
The height of their ambition was to be like the gallants of a cape-and-sword play, equally ready for a love passage or a fight. In order to encourage them to write original verse and cultivate a taste for literature, he founded in April, , the Academy of the Myrtle, modeled after the numerous literary academies which throve in Italy and Spain during the Renaissance period and later.
Lista himself presided, assuming the name Anfriso. Was Delio, the name Espronceda assumed in his "Serenata" of , his academic designation? As an imitator of Horace he was not a success. What he gained from the Academy was the habit of writing. The Academy lasted until , when many of its members had been driven into exile; but its later meetings must have seemed tame to spirited boys engrossed in the exciting political events of those times.
The year is famous in Spanish history for the crushing out of liberalism. This was effected by means of the Holy Alliance, an infamous association of tyrants whose main object was to restore absolutism. Before the end of the year Ferdinand VII, who had been virtually deposed, was restored to his throne, and the constitution of had been abolished. Espronceda, the son of a hero of the War of Liberation, felt that the work of the men of had been undone. They had exchanged a foreign for a domestic tyrant.
These verses were written in later life; but already in he dates a poem "fourth year after the sale of Spanish liberty. Many liberals were members of Masonic lodges, and in addition there were circles like the Friends of Liberty, the Friends of the Constitution, the Cross of Malta, the Spanish Patriot, and others.
Nothing more natural than that boys whose age made them ineligible to join these organizations should form one of their own. The result was La Sociedad de los Numantinos. All told, the society had about a dozen members. Their first meetings were held in a sand-pit, until the curiosity of the police forced them to seek safer quarters. There they built an altar bearing all the romantic paraphernalia of skull and cross-bones, swords, and pistols. The members stood wrapped in black garments, their faces muffled with their long Spanish capes, wearing Venetian masks, each one grasping a naked dagger.
There they swore binding oaths and delivered fiery orations. Red paper lanterns cast a weird light over the scene. How tame the sessions of the Myrtle must have seemed by comparison!
Yet the two organizations throve simultaneously. With the return of Ferdinand in September the persecution of the liberals began. The boys witnessed the judicial murder of Riego, the hero of the constitutional movement, November 8, This made the impression upon them that might have been expected.
That night an extraordinary session of the Numantinos was held at which Espronceda delivered an impassioned oration. Escosura became the second president, and held office until September of , when his father sent him to France. The boys had made the mistake of admitting one member of mature years whose name we do not know; for, in spite of his treachery, the Numantinos even in their old age chivalrously refrained from publishing it.
The latter, however, displayed less rigor and more common sense than usual. While all the youths implicated were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment in various monasteries scattered throughout Spain, nothing more was intended than to give the conspirators a salutary scare.
They were all released after a few weeks of nominal servitude. Ortiz and Escosura, the ringleaders, were sentenced to six years of seclusion, and Espronceda received a term of five years to be served in the Monastery of San Francisco de Guadalajara in the city of Guadalajara.
His term was pronounced completed after a very few weeks of confinement. That he had a father prominent in the government service stood him in good stead, and this probably accounts for the fact that his place of confinement was in the city where Don Juan was garrisoned.
His record shows that he was "purified," that is his loyalty to the crown was certified to, on August 8, He seems to have maintained a "correct" attitude toward his rulers to the end, with all the unquestioning obedience of a military man. While undergoing this easy martyrdom Espronceda improved his time by beginning what was to be a great patriotic epic, his Pelayo.
Like many another ambitious project, this was never completed. The few fragments of it which have been printed date mostly from this time.
The style is still classic, but it is the pseudo-classicism of his model, Tasso. The poet had taken the first step leading to Romanticism. Hence this work was not so sterile as his earlier performances.
Lista, on seeing the fragments, did much to encourage the young author. He never condemned Romanticism totally, though he deplored its unrestrained extravagances and the antireligious and antidynastic tendencies of some of its exponents. He long outlived his brilliant pupil, and celebrated his fame in critical articles. After his return from exile Espronceda continued to study in a private school which Lista had started in the Calle de Valverde. If we may judge from later results, a course in rhetoric and poetics must have been of greatest benefit to him.
If Espronceda was not a revolutionary at this time, he was capable of enlisting in any enterprise however rash, as his past and subsequent record proves all too clearly, and the authorities were not without justification in watching his movements.
In a letter dated Lisbon, August 24, , he writes to his mother: "Calm yourselves and restore papa to health by taking good care of him, and you yourself stop thinking so sadly, for now I am not going to leave Portugal.
He had left home without taking leave of his parents, made his way to Gibraltar, and taken passage thence to Lisbon on a Sardinian sloop. When the ship reached Lisbon the ill-assorted company were placed in quarantine.
The health inspectors demanded a three-peseta fee of each passenger. Espronceda paid out a duro and received two pesetas in change. Whereupon he threw them into the Tagus, "because I did not want to enter so great a capital with so little money. Some biographers suspect that while parting with his silver he was prudent enough to retain a purse lined with good gold onzas.
This is pure speculation, but it is certain that he knew he could soon expect a remittance from home. Portugal was at the time rent with civil war. The liberal emigrants were kept under surveillance; some were imprisoned, others forced to leave the kingdom.
Espronceda was forced to Live with the other Spanish emigrants in Santarem. There is no evidence that he was imprisoned in the Castle of St. George, as has so frequently been stated.
He appears to have been free to go and come within the limits assigned him by the police; but he was constantly watched and at last forced to leave the country. It was in Portugal that the nineteen-year-old boy made the acquaintance of the Mancha family.
Don Epifanio Mancha was a colonel in the Spanish army who, unlike the elder Espronceda, had been unable to reconcile himself to existing conditions. He undoubtedly made her acquaintance at this time. The statement that vows were exchanged, that the Mancha family preceded Espronceda to London, that on disembarking he found his Teresa already the bride of another, all this is pure legend. As a matter of fact, Espronceda preceded the Manchas to London and his elopement with Teresa did not take place until , not in England but in France.
José de Espronceda
El estudiante de Salamanca