MONTEMAYOR

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MONTEMAYOR, Jorge de * a celebrated poet, born about 1520, in the small town of Montemayor, or Montemor, not far from Coimbra, in Portugal. He was much less indebted to study than to his natural genius, but he understood several living languages, and his translations from them are characterized by ease and faithfulness. In his youth, he entered the military career, although his inclination attracted him to music and poetry. He afterwards went to Castile, and, being destitute of other means of subsistence, joined the chapel of Philip II as a singer, and accompanied that prince to Germany, Italy and the Low Countries. After his return, he appears to have lived in Leon, where he wrote his celebrated Diana, which constitutes him the founder of the Spanish pastoral romance. Queen Catharine, sister of Charles V, and regent of the kingdom, called the poet to her court, and conferred on him an honorable post. By an elegy of Francisco Marcos Dorantes, which is contained in all the editions of the Diana, it appears that he died as early as 1562. Although a Portuguese by birth, he is considered as belonging to Spanish literature, as he wrote in Castilian. Cervantes calls the Diana the finest model of the pastoral romance. Besides that work, which is unfinished, we have a Cancionero, or collection of his poems.