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Popularity Of Lope De Vega








Other writers, of the same age with Lope de Vega, obtained a wider
celebrity. Don Quixote, during the life of its ill-requited author, was
naturalized in countries where the name of Lope de Vega was not known,
and Du Bartas was translated into the language of every reading people.
But no writer ever has enjoyed such a share of popularity.

"Cardinal Barberini," says Lord Holland, "followed Lope with veneration
in the streets; the king would stop to gaze at such a prodigy; the people
crowded round him wherever he appeared; the learned and studious thronged
to Madrid from every part of Spain to see this phoenix of their country,
this monster of literature; and even Italians, no extravagant admirers,
in general, of poetry that is not their own, made pilgrimages from their
country for the sole purpose of conversing with Lope. So associated
was the idea of excellence with his name, that it grew, in common
conversation, to signify anything perfect in its kind; and a Lope
diamond, a Lope day, or a Lope woman, became fashionable and familiar
modes of expressing their good qualities."

Lope's death produced an universal commotion in the court and in the
whole kingdom. Many ministers, knights, and prelates were present when
he expired; among others, the Duke of Sesa, who had been the most
munificent of his patrons, whom he appointed his executor, and who was
at the expense of his funeral, a mode by which the great men in that
country were fond of displaying their regard for men of letters. It was
a public funeral, and it was not performed till the third day after his
death, that there might be time for rendering it more splendid, and
securing a more honourable attendance. The grandees and nobles who were
about the court were all invited as mourners; a novenary or service of
nine days was performed for him, at which the musicians of the royal
chapel assisted; after which there were exequies on three successive
days, at which three bishops officiated in full pontificals; and on each
day a funeral sermon was preached by one of the most famous preachers of
the age. Such honours were paid to the memory of Lope de Vega, one of
the most prolific, and, during his life, the most popular, of all poets,
ancient or modern.

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