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Leominster

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LEOMINSTER, lbnin-ster, Mass., a town of Worcester County, 40 miles west northwest of Boston, on the Nashua River, and on the New York, New Haven and Hartford and the Boston and Maine railroads. The town is well laid out, has handsome residential sec tions, six churches, 20 schools, a public library and over 18,000 volumes and a fine park. Leom inster is well lighted with gas and electricity and has a good water supply and abundance of water power, the waterworks being municipal ized. It is a busy industrial centre, the home of the comb-manufacture of the State, of piano cases and piano-fortes, has large cabinet works, paper mills, tanneries and extensive manufac tures of cement, bricks, yarn, jewelry, toys, but tons, paper boxes, chemicals and hairpins. The town is surrounded by some of the most fertile farm land in the county, and horticulture and floriculture are growing industries. Leominster, settled in 1725, was part of Lancaster until 1740 when it received a charter of incorporation. A disastrous fire occurred in 1873. Pop. 19,789. Consult Emerson, 'Leominster, Massachusetts' (Gardner, Mass., 1888).

LEON, Antonio, Mexican soldier: b. Huajuapam, Oaxaca, 1794; d. 1847. Having abandoned the side of the royalists for that of the insurgents under Iturbide, he distinguished himself in 1821 by the capture of Tehuantepec, for which he was made lieutenant-colonel. When, however, Iturbide proclaimed himself emperor, the support of Leon was given to Gen eral Bravo, the Republican leader. In 1824, as deputy from Oajaca, he served in the Constitu ent Congress, and later he aided in quelling in surrection against the authority of the republic. He was killed at the battle of Molina del Rey in the war with the United States.

LEON, 'Fray Luis Ponce de, Spanish mystic poet: b. Behnonte de Cuenca, 1527; d. Madrigal, 23 Aug. 1591. On graduating from the University of Salamanca he entered the Augustinian order, where his talents soon brought him prominently to the front. In 1561 he was appointed to the chair of Thomistic philosophy, and 10 years later he was also aR pointed professor of sacred literature. But his keen, investigating intellect got him into trouble the following year, when he was charged with expressing doubt as to the validity of the Vul gate, and also with having published unauthor ized versions of the Bible or parts thereof. The story is that he had rendered into Spanish the 'Song of Songs' (of Solomon) for a friend, and that this was published without his knowl edge or consent. However, the affair cost him over four years' imprisonment. During this period much of his best literary work was done. On his release from prison an 1576, with a warning to be more careful in the future, his chair in the university was restored to him and he was assigned the subject of Biblical exegesis. But, owing to his brilliancy, his reputation as a poet, mystic and theologician, he had numerous enemies who watched him closely and some of them made other charges against him in 1582. These, however, were not sustained, thanks probably to his growing power in the order to which he rose to be vicar-general shortly after ward. This seems to have silenced his enemies, and he was raised to the high dignity of pro vincial of Castile; but he lived only 10 days afterward. Among his prose works are 'Los Hombres de Cristo,) consisting of three books, the result of his literary activity during his four years' imprisonment; 'La Perfecta Casada' ; 'Exposition del Libro de 'Song of Solo mon and Commentary.' These were long popu

lar. His mystical treatment of the various names given to Christ in the scriptures appealed strongly to the mystical-loving age in which he lived. In fact to all of his works belongs that mysticism that distinguished his poetical efforts. But popular though his prose was in his own day, it was as a mystic and lyrical poet that he distinguished himself above the writers of his age. His poetry is sympathetic and pleasing, scholarly and marked with a lyrical ring unsur passed by any Spanish poetry of his century. He was widely read in the classics and his poetical works Include translations from many of the Latin poets, among them Horace and Virgil. He also made translations from the Greek poets. In nearly all of these transla tions he has caught the spirit of the original. He successfully imitated Petrarch. Leon's countrymen are accustomed to divide his orig inal poetry into four distinct classes and to accord him a very high place in each of these classes which are religious, moral, phil osophical and patriotic. The moral and phil osophical however are often classed under one head. So highly was his work ad mired that he has been proclaimed, by his admirers, the greatest poetical genius of Spain. Leon himself rather underestimated his own rare poetical gifts, and he used them, as he himself has explained, for the greater glory of God, and not to feed his own personal vanity. There is a fervor and sincerity about his religious poetry that bear out his confession. No Spanish author has approached him in the purity of thought and language of his sacred poems. Many of them read like the inspirations that he himself seems to have believed them to be. There is a sweetness about them united with a wondrous beauty of expression and brilliant, ever-pleasing imagery, that makes their simplic ity stand for the breathing of the breath of life. His subjective mysticism is more engag ing, more beautifully expressed and more truly poetical than that of any other Spanish writer in an age of mysticism. As was quite natural, he exercised a strong and far-reaching influence on the development of Spanish language in liter ature. He confirmed the love of the Classics and the ancient literature in Spain, and he has, therefore, been rightly looked upon as the greatest of the Spanish Classical poets. LeOn's poems, which were not published during his lifetime, were issued by Quevedo in 1631, 40 years after 'his death. Merino published his collected works in six volumes in Madrid in 1816. This is still the best edition.

Ford, J. D. M.,