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Coplas De Manrique

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COPLAS DE MANRIQUE, kop'las de man-rek'e. This is the modest title of an elegiac poem by Jorge Manrique (1440-79), generally considered the most eminently successful of the Spanish lyric poets of the 15th century. This success is due to the coplas, the more dis tinctive title of which is Tonlas de Manrique por la muerte de su padre' ("Manrique's Couplets on the death of his fathers). The elegy consists of about 500 lines divided into 42 coplas, or stanzas, in the old Spanish measure and manner, called redondillas con with a short line in every third place). The poem was first published in 1492, 16 years after it was written, when Manrique's father, the Maestro de Santiago, died (1476), in whose honor it was composed. Spanish devotional poetry contains many ex quisite gems, and the coplas are rightly placed among them. Grief for the death of his father has brought to the poet's mental vision a vista of the spiritual world, and a realization of the vanity of material things. The impression of many of the lines is ineffaceable, In 1833 appeared the remarkably fine English rendering by Longfellow, in which the versification, spirit and even wording of the original are fol lowed as closely as possible. Besides its in

herent charm, Manrique's poem is noteworthy in its independence of the three dominating poetic influences of the day, the artificial court verse, the Italian influence and that of the Re naissance.

There have been many editions of the Spanish text of the poem since the 1492 edi tion, notably the Madrid edition of 1799 with a gloss, contained in 'Proverbios de don Illigo Lopez de Mendoza, Marques de Santillana, y las coplas de don Jorge Manrique, todo con sus glosas, por D. Fermin Villapando' ; the critical edition published by R. Foulche Delbosc (Mad rid 1902; Vol. XI of the (Biblioteca his panica') ; also translations into foreign lan guages and commented versions. Many, if not all, of the coplas appear in annotated anthologies. (Cf. J. D. M. Ford's 'A Spanish Anthology,' Boston 1901. pp. 43-59). The entire text of the poem will be found in (An tologia de poetas liricos castellanos ordenada por D. Marcelino Menendez y Pelayo' (Vol. III, pp. 100-116, Madrid 1892); and the greater part of Manrique's verse appears in the import ant 4 Cancionero general' (1511).