- Lope de Vega’s Transformation of the Palinode Tradition in Rimas Sacras: Sonnets I, VII, and XV
- Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 2, Number 2, 1996
- pp. 30-50
- View Citation
- Additional Information
LOPE DE VEGA'S TRANSFORMATION OF THE PALINODE TRADITION IN RIMAS SACRAS: SONNETS I, VII, AND XV David Garrison Wright State University As Paul Oppenheimer has argued, the sonnet is by nature an introspective genre designed "to portray the self in conflict and explore self-consciousness"(l). This is especially evident in palinode sonnets, in which the speaker looks back with a gesture of regret and recantation. The term "palinode" derives from the Greek word "palinoidia " and has been translated as "against the ode" or "singing again" (Phillippy 16). It was first used with reference to "a lyric by Stesichorus in which he recanted his earlier attack upon Helen as the baneful cause of the Trojan War" (Preminger). Petrarch and the Renaissance poets who followed him tend to emphasize personal regret over recantation of previous poetry, however the term has since its inception referred to both of these themes. The self depicted in the palinode is of course a poetic construct, no matter how sincere and confessional the speaker may sound, no matter how exact the autobiographical coincidence between poet and speaker may be.1 The speaker, the poetic persona, the protagonist, the "yo" that addresses the reader-is a character created by the poet. This distinction takes on special imporfance in the study of Lope, whose work has so often been studied as if it were the poet's biography . In fact, as Mary Gaylord Randel has stated, "with rare exceptions , the approach to Lope's poetry has had the manas its real target " (223).2 This study of Lope's tranformation of the palinode tradition will focus primarily on the character he creates in three sonnets of his Rimassacras,a character who represents a dramatic departure from those found in previous palinodes. Although there are biographical facts that tend to explain Lope's publication of a collection of religious poems dominated by palinode themes-ijle tragic death of his son Carlos Felix in 1612 and of his wife Juana de Guardo in 1613,his entrance into the priesthood in 1614when the book was publishedI will go no further than that in correlating hislife and his art. I will examine instead the personaLope creates in three sonnets that represent different kinds of palinode which appear repeatedly within the book.3 CALfOPE Vol. II, No. 2 (1996): pages 30-50 ~ Lope De Vega's Transformation of the Palinode ... ~ 31 Sonnet I announc;es the central themes of regret and conversion, VII recants eatlier poetry, and XV deals with the speaker's backsliding and indifference to the entreaties of Christ. Although there are differences in the way Lope depicts the speaker in these poems, and we could consider each speaker as a different person, there is also a generalized portrayal that emerges from all these palinodes and from the totality of the book. While I will study the different characterizations in all three sonnets, I will consider them within the framework provided by the yo poeticothat Lope develops throughout Rimas sacras.As Yoh1ndaNovo rightly argues, this yo poeticois the central unifying element of the volume. 4 Lope creates his palinodes within the tradition of sonnet palinodes made known to Spanish poets through Petrarch and profoundly affected by the example of Garcilaso' s Sonnet I.5 I will begin by comparing Lope' s palinode persona to those in three of his models and demonstrate that his development of the yo poeticodiffers profoundly from that of his predecessors. I will go on to show how in the creation of this persona Lope employs various rhetorical strategies , fusing and transforming biblical, mythological, literary, and artistic traditions in a radical revison and renovation of the palinode genre. ThePalinodeTradition:Petrarch atzdGarcilaso Petrarch's sonnet 298 to Laura in morte-"Quand'io mi volgo in dietro a mirar gli anni" (When I turn back to gaze at the years)-is widely considered to be the model that inspired Garcilaso and many other Spanish poets.6 Petrarch's speaker looks back and laments lost love, professing envy of others whose misfortunes are not as terrible as his own. He finds himself helpless against his fate, vulnerable, "naked," as he puts it: Quand'io mi volgo indietro a mirar...