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Writings Of Lope De Vega








The number of Lope de Vega's works has been strangely exaggerated by
some, but by others reduced to about one-sixth of the usual statement.
Upon this computation it will be found that some of his contemporaries
were as prolific as himself. Vincent Mariner, a friend of Lope, left
behind him 360 quires of paper full of his own compositions, in a
writing so exceedingly small, and so exceedingly bad, that no person
but himself could read it. Lord Holland has given a facsimile of Lope's
handwriting, and though it cannot be compared to that of a dramatist of
late times, one of whose plays, in the original manuscript, is said to
be a sufficient load for a porter, it is evident that one of Mariner's
pages would contain as much as a sheet of his friend's, which would, as
nearly as possible, balance the sum total. But, upon this subject, an
epigram by Quarles may be applied, written upon a more serious theme:

"In all our prayers the Almighty does regard
The judgment of the balance, not the yard;
He loves not words, but matter; 'tis his pleasure
To buy his wares by weight, not by measure."

With regard to the quantity of Lope's writings, a complete edition of
them would not much, if at all, exceed those of Voltaire, who, in labour
of composition, for he sent nothing into the world carelessly, must
have greatly exceeded Lope. And the labours of these men shrink into
insignificance when compared to those of some of the schoolmen and of
the Fathers.

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