Boscan, John Almogaver

, a Spanish poet, of a noble family, was born at Barcelona, about the end of the fifteenth century, and is supposed to have died about 1543. He was bred to arms, and, having served with distinction, was afterwards a great traveller. From the few accounts we have of him, as well as from what appears in his works, he seems to have been a very good classical scholar; and he is said to have been highly successful in the education of Ferdinand, the great duke of Alba, whose singular qualities were probably the fruit of our poet’s attention to him. He married Donna Anna Giron di Rebolledo, an amiable woman, of a noble family, by whom he had a very numerous offspring. Garcilaso was his coadjutor in his poetical labours, and their works were published together, under the title “Obras de Boscan y Garcilaso,Medina, 1544, 4to, and at Venice, 1553, 12mo. The principal debt which Spanish poetry owes to Boscan, is the introduction of the hendecasyllable verse, to which it owes its true grace and elevation. His works are divided into three books, the first of which contains his poetry in the redondiglia metre, and the other two his hendecasyllables. In | these he seems to have made the Italian poets his models, imitating Petrarch in his sonnets and canzoni; Dante and Petrarch in his terzine; Politian, Ariosto, and Bembo, in his ottave rime; and Bernardo Tasso, the father of Torquato, in his versi sciolti. It is said he also translated a play of Euripides, which is lost; but he has left us a prose translation, no less admirable than his poetry, of the famous II Cortegiano, or the Courtier of Castiglione. M. Conti, in his “Collecion de Poesias, &c.” or collection of Spanish poems translated into Italian verse, has given as specimens of Boscan, two canzoni, six sonnets, and a familiar epistle to Don Hurtado de Mendoza. 1


Antonio Bibl. Hisp.—Baillet Jugemens des Savans.—Maty’s Review, vol V. p. 1.