1537–78, Spanish general, diplomat, and poet, b. Alcántara or Naples. He symbolizes the ideal of the Spanish Renaissance. As a soldier he served Philip II of Spain and Sebastian of Portugal in Europe and Africa. He cultivated many verse forms, and his poetry treats themes such as love and religion. His works were published posthumously by his brother Cosme.

Though it is said, that Francisco de Aldana is one of the minor poets of the spanish XVIth Century (and as you can see by the very small paragraph the Columbia Encyclopedia dedicates to him at http://www.bartleby.com/65/al/Aldana-F.html), in my opinion he's THE poet that has described the links between love and death, sensuality and fear, as good as nobody else has done before and after. (Maybe Shakespeare, ok :)

To give you an impression, read this poem:

"¿Cuál es la causa, mi Damón, que estando
en la lucha de amor juntos trabados
con lenguas, brazos, pies y encadenados
cual vid que entre el jazmín se va enredando
y que el vital aliento ambos tomando
en nuestros labios, de chupar cansados,
en medio a tanto bien somos forzados
llorar y suspirar de cuando en cuando?"

"Amor, mi Filis bella, que allá dentro
nuestras almas juntó, quiere en su fragua
los cuerpos ajuntar también tan fuerte

que no pudiendo, como esponja el agua,
pasar del alma al dulce amado centro,
llora el velo mortal su avara suerte."

And the translation (taken from http://sonnets.spanish.sbc.edu/Aldana_XII.html)

Sonnet #XII

"What is the cause, my Damon, that as we
together in love's tussle are combined
with tongues and arms and feet, and all enchained
like grapevines that in jasmine get entwined,
and, taking both of us the breath of life
in through our lips, worn out from sips sublime,
amidst such joy we find ourselves compelled
to groan and sigh out loud from time to time?"

"Love, my Phyllis fair, who deep inside
our souls did bind, within his forge aspires
our bodies to conjoin with force as great,

and since it can't — like water with a sponge —
pass into the beloved soul's sweet core,
the mortal veil bemoans its shabby fate."

(©Alix Ingber, 1995)

By the way: if somebody wants a copy of one of his original works of the 16th century, just mail me. I got a paper copy by chance in a library in Santander, in the North of Spain. I'd be pleased to send you a copy of that.

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