Herrera, Fernando De
HERRERA, FERNANDO DE (1534-1597), lyrical poet, born at Seville in 1534. Although an ecclesiastic, he addressed his verses to an Andalusian lady, said to have been the countess of Gelves, under different names ; but his love was as Platonic as Tetrarch's, and served only to lend additional beauty and tenderness to his poems. Herrera has been celebrated in a sonnet by Cervantes ; and his poems were taken as models by the later poet, Lope de Vega. He died at Seville in 1597. Flourishing at a time when the Castilian language was not yet ripe for the higher lyrical efforts, Herrera endeavoured to remedy the defects of his native tongue by expelling from poetry the more vulgar and trivial words, by introducing words in their place from Greek, Latin, and Italian, and by employing unfamiliar inflexions and inverted constructions so as to approach more nearly the model of the classical tongues. His system, however, was theoretical and artificial, and not inspired by any genuine impulse of taste, so that in many instances where he strives to be elevated and correct, he succeeds only in being affected and formal.
Herrera published his critical views in 1580, in able notes to the works of Garcilaso, whose Italian style he followed in a volume of poems which appeared in 1582. Of these the sonnets are poor, the elegies good, and the sixteen canzones or odes best of all. The finest of these last are perhaps the two on the battle of Lepanto and on the overthrow of Sebastian of Portugal. The Pindaric ode on sleep has been frequently praised. Pacheco, the painter, published additional poems of Herrera in 1619 ; and Fernandez added still more in the fourth and fifth volumes of his Poesias Castellanas, in 1808. The Battle of the Giants, The Rape of Proserpine, The Amadis, and The Loves of Laurin() and Carona are among the titles of longer poems of Herrera which are now lost. Of Isis prose works the chief are the Relation de In Guerra de Chipre y batalla de Lepanto, 1572 ; and the Vida p muerte de Tomas Moro, 1592, translated from Stapleton's Laths Lives.of the Three Thomases. His History of Spain till the time of Charles V., said by Rioja to have been completed about 1590, has not conic down to our time.