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the Rimado was composed, as it were, in full view of the Book of Good Love. The Alexandrine metre is used in the satirico-didactic portions, while, in the lyrical pieces, the versos de redondilla are employed for preference. Ayala is not equal to the Archpriest of Hita as a poet, and he has nothing of his charming irony, which is replaced by puritanical earnestness. According to the twofold dating of the epilogue, Juan Ruiz put his book together in 1330 and added some pieces in 1343, whilst undergoing imprisonment at Toledo by order of the Archbishop, Gil Alborniz— an imprisonment which lasted thirteen years.
The Rimado was composed at different times between 1378 and 1385, and the connection between the parts is often extremely loose. At the end of the work is an appendix, including complaints, hymns to Mary, and prayers, a good deal of it dated back. Most of these lyrics are either in Alexandrines or in some form of court verse. It is worthy of note, as marking a new departure, that two complaints of the Great Schism, added in 1398 and 1403, are in the metre of the arte mayor, a rough form of decasyllabic verse characteristic of the period now opening, just as the carefully measured cuaderna via was of the preceding. As Alexandrine verse disappears with Ayala, he may be regarded as bridging over the chasm between the old and the new state of tilings, as the poet of the transition from the Portuguese to Castilian court poetry.
The employment of the arte mayor is one of the features the Spaniards admire in the Danza de la
Muerta of a contemporary of Ayala, Rabbi Don Santo1
"Mientra morian y mientra mataban,
The fifth and sixth lines, which begin, the one with a trochee and the other with two spondees, show that there is nothing obligatory about the nature of the feet except a certain equivalence, and this freedom is further emphasised by the presence of what may be termed enclitic syllables—<:.g., y in lines 1 and 3.
Rabbi Don Santo is doubtless the most remark
1 Santo, not Santob, is the Juda'o-Spauish form of the Hebrew Seiu Tub (<n- Shem-Tob i). This is proved by the rhyme, as well as by the writing of Santillana, and therefore to be retained.
able example of Jewish influence on early Spanish literature, but it did not begin with him.
Jewish converts." -" T
More than two centuries beiore, a Jew called Moses had been baptised at the age of fortyfour into the Christian faith, and received the names Petrus Alphonsus, after the saint on whose day the ceremony was performed, and King Alfonso of Aragon, the god-father. After his conversion Petrus Alphonsus wrote in Latin a work which he entitled JDiseiplina elericalis, addressed not so much to priests as to persons of education, and designed as a guide to right living. It was a collection of fables, anecdotes, stories, and proverbs, supposed to be communicated by father to son; and it represents a curious mixture of Oriental and European elements, the latter being derived almost exclusively from common life. It has to do, not with knights and ladies, but with merchants, farmers, artisans, and pilgrims. This Diseiplina elericalis is a work of European importance. It was early translated into French under the title of Le Castoicment ou Instruetion d'un PAre c\ son Fils, and either in the Latin original or through the French version became known to Boccaccio, who included four of the tales in the Dccamerone. The Diseiplina was translated into Catalan in the thirteenth, and into Castilian in the fourteenth, century.
There is a certain parallelism between the lives of Petrus Alphonsus and Rabbi Don Santo. Both were converted Jews, and both were more or less directly connected with Spanish courts. While, however, Petrus Alphonsus justified his change of creed by a book of Christian evidences, the Rabbi began with a work more in the style of the Diseiplina elericalis— namely, his "Counsels and Instructions," dedicated to Peter the Cruel. These counsels deal with the commonplaces of politics and morality, thrown together without any definite plan, and exhibit a marked tendency to repetition and prolixity, said to be characteristic of Hebrew doctors. The book is written in the old redondilla verse. Santo seems to have been aware of the incongruity of a Jew giving lessons in Christian morality, but he knows how to excuse himself.
"Por nascer en espino
La rosa, ya ne siento
Que pierde, ni'l buen vino
Por salir de sanniento,"—
so likewise the author is none the worse for sleeping
in a nest of mud, nor good doctrine for passing through
the mouth of a Jew.
The style and versification of the "Counsels and
Instructions" are both good, but this first work is of ne Dance far less interest and importance than Rabbi ofD^* Santo's "Dance of Death," which) ^ j
have said, is a specimen of the arte mayor. Every nation in Europe has its "dance of death," the period at which the idea was most prominent to the imagination of the peoples being the fifteenth century, the era of the Black Death, though, at present, it is perhaps most familiar through the great allegorical painting of Holbein. Holbein found the tradition painted on the walls of a churchyard at Basle, and it is probable that Santo's Danza is based on a French original. In neither case is the circumstance material.
The Dance is actually a moral dramatic allegory, or, if you will, a morality, an allegorical play, of which the personages are Death, a preacher, and people of every age, sex, and condition. There is a brief introduction containing a sketch or summary of the whole, and then Death opens the ball by stating who he is and the summons he has come to deliver. He is succeeded by a preacher who, at considerable length, commends a virtuous course of action as the best preparation for the inevitable dance. Death glances round on the crowd and bids two pretty young girls. They would like to avoid him, but they cannot — they are his brides. After that he bids all sorts and conditions, and the method of the poem is as follows: In the first octave the victim is summoned by Death to the dance; in the second the person summoned bewails his bitter lot; in the last are expressed the resignation and pious resolves of the victim. This Danza de la Muerte, from its exact and vivid portraiture, has great historical value as a mirror of the age, and, in the opinion of the Spaniards, it combines with the wise reflections of Lopez de Ayala the humorous touches of the Archpriest.
Besides Jewish influence we find operating in the peninsula that of the Arabs. This was the natural
Ei condo result of the Moorish conquest and settle
Luumor. ment Durmg tlie reign of Alfonso the
Wise a translation was made, and included in his