Solis, Antonio De

, an ingenious Spanish writer, was of an ancient and illustrious family, and born at Placenza in Old Castile, July 18, 1610. He was sent to Salamanca to study law; but, having a natural turn for poetry, gave it the preference, and cultivated it with a success which did him great honour. He was but seventeen, when he wrote an ingenious comedy, called “Amor y Obligacion:” and he afterwards composed others, which were received with the highest applause. Antonio affirms him to have been the best comic poet Spain has ever seen. At six and twenty, he applied himself to ethics and politics. His great merit procured him a patron in the count d’Oropesa, viceroy then of Navarre, and afterwards of the kingdom of Valence, who appointed him his secretary. In 1642, when he wrote his comedy of “Orpheus and Eurydice,” for representation at Pampeluna, upon the birth of the count’s son, Philip IV. of Spain made him one of his secretaries; and, after Philip’s death, the queen regent made him first historiographer of the Indies, a place of great profit as well as honour. His “History of the Conquest of Mexico” was thought to justify this honour, and was much praised. But it is evident that his object was to celebrate the glories of Ferdinand Cortez, his hero, to whom he has imputed many strokes of policy, many reflections, and many actions, of which he was not capable; and he has very wisely closed his account with the conquest of Mexico, that he might not have occasion to introduce the cruelties afterwards committed. Nevertheless, the history is reckoned upon the whole very interesting, and has been translated into several languages; and he is | better known for it, out of his own country, than for his poetry and dramatic writings, although they are said to be excellent. After living many years in the busy and gay world, he resolved to dedicate himself to the service of God, by embracing the ecclesiastical state; and accordingly was ordained a priest at fifty- seven. He now renounced all profane compositions, and wrote nothing but some dramatic pieces upon subjects of devotion, which are represented in Spain on certain festivals. He died April 19, 1686. His comedies were printed at Madrid in 1681, 4to; his sacred and profane poems, at the same place, 1716, 4to; his “History of Mexico” often, but particularly at Brussels in 1704, folio; with his life prefixed by D. Juan de Goyeneche. There is also a collection of his “Letters” published at Madrid in 1737. 1


Antonio Bibl. Hisp.—Niceron, vol. IX.