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  • Santilario and Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros: Stanza 28 of Carajicomedia and Its Gloss
  • Frank A. Domínguez

Few poems of the Spanish early modern period have been as completely ignored by critics as Carajicomedia, an early sixteenth-century parody of about a third of the stanzas of Juan de Mena’s mid-fifteenth-century Laberinto de Fortuna.1 Until recently, its subject matter was considered pornographic and therefore not worthy of serious attention; what’s more, an identification of its historical or fictional referents was thought to be impossible, because its [End Page 301] characters seemed to belong to the lower classes and would have left little trace in the documentation of the period. This paper examines Stanza 28 of the poem and its gloss, and suggests the identity of the individual satirized by it.

Stanza 28 of Carajicomedia compares the voice of a character called María de Vellasco to the voice of another character named Santilario. The comparison is glossed with a prose fable that contains one of the few homosexual tales of the European Middle Ages. In it, a devil jumps from a rock onto the masturbating Santilario to take his soul, but slips and is impaled by the latter’s prick. This paper argues that Santilario is a mask for Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros and explains why Santilario is portrayed as a rustic “vaquero”.

Stanza 28

In Stanza 28 of Laberinto de Fortuna, Mena asks Providence to give him a golden branch taken from a tree consecrated to Proserpine (fig. 1):

Angelica ymagen pues tienes poder dame tal ramo por donde me auiſes qual dio la cumea al hijo de anchiſes quando al erebo tento deſçender, le dixe y yo luego e le oy reſponder quien fuere conſtante enel tiempo aduerſario y mas no buſcare delo neçeſſario ramo ninguno no aura meneſter.

The branch Mena wants is similar to one that the Cumaean Sybil gives to Aeneas to guide him during his descent into Hades and to guarantee his safe return to the land of the living (Virgil, Aeneid IV). Providence (i.e., the “angelica imagen”), however, answers Mena’s similar request by saying that constancy is sufficient protection for the narrator, who should have no need of Aeneas’s golden branch during his ascent to the House of Fortune.

Stanza 28 of Laberinto does not employ the Latinate diction and lacks the complex hyperbata that characterizes much of the rest of the poem; therefore, Hernán Núñez’s gloss only comments on the location of Cumaea and her Sybil, identifies the “fijo de Anchises” as Aeneas, tells his story, and explains why someone who has the four knightly virtues of templanza, fortaleza, justicia, and prudencia does not need the power of the golden branch. [End Page 302]

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Fig. 1.

Stanza 28, Laberinto de Fortuna.Ed. Hernán Núñez (Seville: Pegnizer, Magno, and Thomas, 1499)

The physical disposition of Stanza 28 and its gloss in Carajicomedia is similar to that in Núñez’s edition of Laberinto, but Carajicomedia’s stanza further simplifies Mena’s verses by not mentioning Aeneas’s golden branch or the Cumaean Sybil at all. Instead, it describes Diego Fajardo’s futile hope in the power of the rabo (i.e., ass) of María de Vellasco to revivify his failing sexual member (fig. 2):

Diabolica ymagen : pues tienes poder dame tu rabo : quel miembro me auiſe le palpe le tome : le arasſtre le piſe le fuerce le abiue : con grande ſaber eſto le dixe : y le oy reſponder en boz que parece : la de ſantilario con luengos cojones : como vn encenſario tu diego fajardo : que puedes hazer

(Carajicomedia, Stanza 28)2 [End Page 303]

A contemporary reader of Carajicomedia would have understood that the substitution of rabo for ramo was sanctioned by the similarity of the sound of the two words, a form of paronomasia that is in accord with the common practice of poetic glosses and parodies. Because Carajicomedia could have used ramo given its...