Biography of Garcilaso de la Vega (ca.1501-1536)

Spanish, born in Toledo in 1501 (or, according to other scholars of his work, in 1503) and poet died in Nice (France) in 1536.

Garcilaso de la Vega, according to a gragado of 1883.


He was born in a noble family which belonged to the Court of the Emperor Carlos V since it arrived to Spain, as King. In 1519, he/she participated in a civil uproar which (part of which was the future poet) Council was opposed to the cabildo, which cost him three months of exile. In the courts of 1521 was Procurator of his city. After being named "Contino" Emperor (his father had been the Catholic monarchs, as well as his Ambassador to Rome), participated in the battle of Olías against locals and, in 1522, Rhodes site. There it coincided with his constant friend Juan Boscán, with whom he/she shared both the vital experience in the Court of the Emperor and the glory of having given Charter of nature to the leading in Spanish, after the unfortunate attempts which, in the 15th century, don Íñigo López de Mendoza, Marqués de Santillana had made.

Juan Boscán, 'Garcilaso, that the good you always aspiraste'.

In 1523 he/she was appointed Knight of Santiago and married Doña Elena de Zúñiga, Lady of the sister of the Emperor, Doña Leonor de Austria. He/She settled with her in Toledo, where he/she was mayor.

In 1526, during the wedding of the Emperor in Granada, he/she met the young lady Portuguese Isabel Freire, the Elisa of his poems. The rejection that is dispensed to the tribute that made him Garcilaso, and her subsequent marriage with Antonio (or Alonso) Fonseca - who, nicknamed El gordo, has gone down in history with unfriendly paper stand between muse and poet, despite having been one of the most intelligent managers of Carlos V-, produced in the spirit of Garcilaso a melancholy that permeated his work until the subsequent death of the Lady. From that hard trance, transformed that feeling in a pain of which sought to escape through his poetry, which was destined to survive both of them and make a literary myth of both figures.

Accompanying the Emperor, in 1529, he/she made his first trip to Italy. After attending the imperial coronation in Bologna, he/she attended in Avila to the wedding of a nephew of his, link that the Emperor had been unauthorized, resulting in exile on an island in the Danube, probably near Regensburg; from there went to Naples in 1532 as Lieutenant of the Duke of Alba, don Pedro de Toledo, who had just been appointed viceroy. In Naples it locked contact with members of the Academy Pontaniana (Luigi Tansillo, Bernardo Tasso, Giulio Cesare Caracciolo, the Galeotta brothers, Minturno, etc.) and was part of the circle, leaving us as a testimony to the composition of three Latin Odes Horacio style. It also seems to have tried to Spanish humanist Juan de Valdés and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda (dedicatee of one of his Latin Odes). Except for sporadic trips to Spain to comply with orders of the viceroy, and Avignon (where he/she visited the tomb of Laura, beloved of Petrarch), his residence was set in Naples for the rest of his days, despite having achieved the pardon of Carlos V. In 1535, however, participated in the campaign of Tunisia, which received a wound which will refer in the "sonnet XXXIII". They are also of this time the Elegies Boscan and the death of don Bernardino de Toledo, brother of the Duke of Alba. In 1536, the Emperor appointed him as Maestre de Campo of the Spanish troops of the imperial army in the war against France. It seems that during this campaign he/she put an end to its "Eclogue III".

On September 19 of that year, to attack the Tower of very, whose defenders had refused compliance with the Emperor, and had even made fun of it, Garcilaso is injured from a stone on the head. Of as a result of wounds, died on the beach of Nice 13 or October 14 in the arms of the Duke of Gandia, then San Francisco de Borja.


The poetry of Garcilaso is brief and final adaptation to our letters of the metric and the contents of the lyric creation of Petrarca. As it was common at the time and in the social circle that moved, Garcilaso did not publish anything in life. His works appeared printed in 1543, along with Boscan, in the edition launched by the widow of the latter. The success of these works of Boscán with some of Garcilaso de la Vega was great - especially as far as the Toledo poet concerns-, then again others were published twice in the same year, two more in 1544 and another ten until 1557. From 1569, the Toledo poetry will be published without the company of the Boscan.

The poetry of Garcilaso became thus a model of poetic language, which drink the following generations of Spanish poets, from Fray Luis de Leon and San Juan de la Cruz to Lope de Vega and even Góngora. The work commented on by Francisco Sánchez de las Brozas, "El Brocense" (with the addition of three sonnets hitherto unknown) appears in 1574, and in 1580 by Fernando de Herrera, "El Divino", which seeks in its annotations explain exhaustively poetry which had become indisputable model of poets. Such as Garcilaso would occupy it until the triumph of the gongorina poetry, which, at first, led to reissues of the toledan were decreasing up to disappear. However, in the years of opposition to the gongorino knowledge, will be the main weapon wielded by the enemies of culteranismo, both in allusions and imitation and, even, on the theoretical side Garcilaso: this is demonstrated by the new entries to the work of the toledan made by Tamayo Vargas in 1622, and already in 1765, the edition of Nicolás de Azarathat I was looking for the imitation of good models against excesses which had fallen late copycats in Gongora. In our century, under cover of the edition of don Tomás Navarro Tomás (1911), the influence of Garcilaso is evident in the formation of the poets of the generation of 27: especially clear are the cases of Pedro Salinas, who took the title for one of his works of the Toledo poet more known, the voice you due; and Rafael Alberti, who arrived in transformed this admiration in poetic argument:

"If Garcilaso volvierayo would be his Squire, what great gentleman was!".

Also in the first post-war, the eagerness of the victors to restore the times of the Emperor gave rise to a surface and cold imitation of Garcilaso's work by poets, grouped around a literary magazine which bore the name of the toledan Bard by title, received the nickname of "garcilasistas".

All path publishing designated, others completely the author, has preserved us a brief poetic corpus and without hardly variants, applied that almost from the beginning a Strophic order (verses, sonnets, songs, Elegies, Epistle and eclogues) which does not appear to be the original, every time that the mixture of stanzas as a means of avoiding the monotony was almost standard from the own Francesco Petrarca's Canzoniere. In fact, the chronological order is not saved even within the Strophic management, given that the "Eclogue II" is older than the other two and that "Elegy on the death of don Bernardino de Toledo" seems to be one of his last compositions. All this has resulted in studies such as those of H. Keniston, Rafael Lapesa and Antonio Prieto, aimed to find the chronological order from the stylistic point of view - the first two - or from love story that is narrated - according to proposed Antonio Prieto.

The main theme of the poetry of Garcilaso is love, understand - petrarquesco mode - as a passion that continues the poet throughout his life, passion poet grows with the spirit to overcome, through it, the passage of time. However, is not Petrarch the only source of the poetry of Garcilaso, but that the influence of the pastoral of Virgil and their adaptation to the Italian in charge of Sannazaro, of the poetry of Ausiàs March (especially clear in the sonnet, love, a habit dressed) and the Horace are present throughout its production. However, the presence of Petrarca and the division in vita and in morte from his cancionero (based on the life and death of Laura, his beloved) are present in the work of the poet toledano, who will sing to Isabel Freyre both in life and after his death, looking for poetry a meeting space with her beyond the time, in an upward trajectory that will culminate in the "Eclogue III".

Garcilaso de la Vega: Eclogue I: Salicio and Nemoroso.

Garcilaso de la Vega: third Eclogue.

Love themed intertwine, within the same desire for variety that had led to Petrarch to mix different meters, friendship as rest in love sentences (usually the confidante of these troubles is Boscan) and the feeling of sympathy with nature, that accompanies the poet in his musings (well, danubiano landscape in "Song III"-"with a gentle noise" - or "Eclogue I")in which Salicio and Nemoroso edges have as background, sympathy or by contrast, the nature of books for pastors that even in his idealization is constant support of the feelings of the poet). However, friendship and nature are subordinate to the story of love that the poet lives, which are main episodes sonnets as the fifth ("it is written in my soul your gesture"), the eighth ("of that pure and excellent view") and 15th ("If complaints and moans can be both"), in which appears the myth of Orpheus as a model of the poetthat returns to refer to it in the "Eclogue III" as happy as remembered verses, in which announces how within the eclogue is going to overcome the myth of Orpheus, beyond death bringing her singing the beloved:

"And even it is not me that I tocaaqueste trade only in life, but, with the dead and cold tongue in the mouth, I think moving the voice you due."Free my soul from the narrow rock, by the Stygian Lake driven, celebrating you will go, and that sonidohara stop the waters of oblivion."

This poem presents four nymphs who embroider two myths in four fabrics. The first three myths are precisely that of Orpheus and Eurydice, of Apollo and Dafne (which already had sung the poet in "Sonnet XIII"-"On Dafne already arms grew"-) and the Venus and Adonis: the three tragic stories in which death separates lovers, either the rejection and the change of nature (Apollo and Daphne) impede the realization of love. These myths serve as introduction to the fourth myth, embroidered by "the white Nise', in which appears the history of Elisa and Nemoroso, i.e., the history of the poet in love with that, thus, reach an automitificacion that exceeds the limit of the mortal and that both lovers reach the same fate that the gods of antiquity, that space that the poet was the first eclogue in "third wheel" (i.e., in the celestial sphere for the planet Venus) to be reunited beyond death with Elisa.

Garcilaso de la Vega, "when I stop to contemplate my State" (sonnet I).

Stylistically speaking, two phases can be distinguished in his poetry: a first learning within estroficos molds of Spanish poetry of the 15th, to which belong the eight verses that open their poems, and in which can be found the presence of Boscan as recipient of one and co-author of another, in understanding poetry as courtly game so prevalent in the courts of the 15th; and the second and final, motivated by his decision to try the adaptation of the Italian leading to the Spanish language. This decision has left us Boscan testimony in his letter to the Duchess of Soma, which open up the works and which tells how this pick up the petrarquista inheritance was suggestion of Andrea Navagero (Venetian Ambassador at the wedding of the Emperor), suggestion that Boscan moved to Garcilaso, who would get a perfection in the treatment of said verse that you would totally natural in our language. It is also worth noting that he/she sought to cultivate all types of verses with such leading both the sonnet as the epistle in chained triplets, the eighth or the white leading, as well as several varieties of stay, among which stands out that imitated by Fray Luis, San Juan and many others, is known to this day as lira as this is one of the words of the first verse of this composition ("Song V" u "Ode ad Florem Gnidi"):

"If my low lira both are, that in a momentoaplacase the game iradel vientoy could the fury of the sea in motion [...]".


GALLEGO MORELL, Antonio. Garcilaso: complete documents. (Barcelona: 1976).

LAPESA, Rafael. Garcilaso. Complete studies. (Madrid: 1985).

PRIETO, Antonio. The Spanish poetry of the 16th century (Vol. I, "You walk after my writings"). (Madrid: Cátedra, 1984).

RIVERS, Elías L. edition of Compline Castilian poetry. (Madrid: Castalia, 1984). (4th.).

G Fernández San Emeterio.