Ercilla Y Zuniga, Don Alonzo D'

, a Spanish poet, was the son of a celebrated lawyer, and was born at Madrid in 1533. He was brought up in the palace of Philip II. and fought under him at the famous battle of Saint Quentin in 1557, after which being desirous to acquire the knowledge of different countries and their inhabitants, he travelled over France, Italy, Germany, and England. Having heard, while at London, that some provinces of Peru and Chili had revolted against the Spaniards, their conquerors and their tyrants, he was seized with an ardent longing to signalize his courage on this new scene of action. Accordingly he set out on the voyage; and soon after his arrival, he passed the frontiers of Chili into a little mountainous region, where he maintained a long and painful war against the rebels, whom at length he defeated. It is this war which makes the subject of his poem of the “Araucana,” so called from the name of the country, and which has very considerable merit, and several passages glow with all the charms of animated verse. The descriptions are rich, though defective in variety; but we can trace no plan, no unity of design, no probability in the episodes, nor harmony in the characters. This poem consists of more than 36 cantos, the length of which is produced by many repetitions and tedious details. Mr. Hayley, however, has bestowed considerable attention on it in his “Essay on Epic poetry,” with a view to recommend it to the English reader. It was printed, for the first time, in 1597, 12mo; but the best edition is that of | Ma1632, 2 vols. 12mo. The time of his death is hot known, nor can he be traced beyond 1596. 1


Moreri.—Hayley on Epic Poetry.—Letters from an English Traveller in Spain, 1181, 8vo.