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LUIS PONCE DE LEON (1527-1591)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 443 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LUIS

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PONCE DE LEON (1527-1591)  ,
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Spanish poet and mystic, was born at Belmonte de
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Cuenca, entered the university of Salamanca at the age of fourteen, and in 1544 joined the Augustinian order . In 1561 he obtained a theological chair at Salamanca, to which in 1571 was added that of sacred literature . He was denounced to the Inquisition for translating the
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book of
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Canticles, and for criticizing the text of the Vulgate . He was consequently imprisoned at
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Valladolid from March 1572 till December 1576 ; the charges against him were then abandoned, and he was released with an admonition . He returned to Salamanca as professor of Biblical exegesis, and was again reported to the Inquisition in 1582, but without result . In 1583—1585 he published the three books of a celebrated mystic
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treatise, Los Nombres de Cristo, which he had written in prison . In 1583 also appeared the most popular of his
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prose
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works, a treatise entitled La Perfecta Casada, for the use of a lady newly married . Ten days before his
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death, which occurred at Madrigal on the 23rd of August 1591, he was elected vicar general of the Augustinian order . Luis de Leon is not only the greatest of Spanish mystics; he is among the greatest of Spanish lyrical poets . His
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translations of Euripides, Pindar, Virgil and Horace are singularly happy; his
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original pieces, whether devout like the ode De la vida del cielo, or secular like the ode A Salinas, are
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instinct with a serene sublimity unsurpassed in any literature, and their form is impeccable . Absorbed by less worldly interests, Fray Luis de Leon refrained from printing his poems, which were not issued till 1631, when Quevedo published them as a counterblast to cislteranismo . The best edition of Luis de Leon's works is that of
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Merino (6 vols.,
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Madrid, 1816) ; the reprint (Madrid, 1885) by C .

Munoz Saenz is incorrect . The text of La Perfecta Casada has been well edited by

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Miss Elizabeth Wallace (Chicago, 1903) . See Coleccion de documentos ineditos Para la historia de Espana, vols. x.-xi.; F . H . Reusch, Luis de Leon and die spanische Inquisition (
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Bonn, 1873) ; M . Gutierrez, Fray Luis de Leon y la filosofia espannola (Madrid, 1885) ; M . Menendez y Pelayo, Estudios de critica literaria (Madrid, 1893), Primera serie, pp . 1-72 .

End of Article: LUIS PONCE DE LEON (1527-1591)
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