Much more than theater



Lope de Vega’s monumental body of work is not limited to theater. The author, in addition to plays, wrote novels and short novels, non-lyric poems (narrative, descriptive, burlesque, mythological and pedagogical or critical poems) and lyric works  (Rimas sacras and Rimas humanas, eclogues and epistles, in addition to songs and musical lyric work).


La Arcadia (1598).- The first extensive work published by Lope, this is a pastoral novel written in 1592.
Los pastores de Belén (1611).- Pastoral novel written in 1610, and published the following year. Dedicated to his son Carlos.
El peregrino en su patria (1604).- Adventure novel.
Novelas a Marcia Leonarda.- Encouraged by his beloved Marta de Nevares, he published four brief stories: La fortuna de Diana, La desdicha por la honra, La prudente venganza and Guzmán el Bueno.
La Dorotea (1632).- Lope defined this text as prose in action, not a performable work. It is one of his most important works, and is autobiographical.

Collection of Letters

Collection of letter (various dates).- This is thanks to the Duke of Sessa who saved the letters written by Lope de Vega, and not only those that were written to the Duke, but many more. This is a very valuable collection that lets us understand the conflicts in the poet’s life, in addition to the love affairs, an especially prominent theme in his collection of letters.

Non-lyric poems

Narrative poetry

La Dragontea (1598).- Epic poem in Sicilian octave that praises the adventures of the English pirate Sir Francis Drake.
El Isidro (1599).- Poem that glorifies the life of San Isidro, patron saint of Madrid.
La hermosura de Angélica (1602).-Epic poem in twenty cantos in octaves.
La Jerusalem conquistada (1602).- Extensive poem in twenty books that poetically chronicles the events from Spain’s history referred to as the Crusades.
La corona trágica (1627).- Poem meant to be sung about the life of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland.

Descriptive poems

La mañana de San Juan (1624).- A 112 octave poem which describes the festival of San Juan on the banks of the Manzanares River in a traditional and popular way.
Las fiestas de Denia y La descripción de la Tapada.- This depicts the Duke of Braganza’s estate using a rich, exuberant, vocabulary to describe the enormous number of names for the flowers, fruits, trees and shrubs listed.

Burlesque poems

La gatomaquia (1634).- This great burlesque poem, published in Rimas humanas y divinas under the pseudonym Tomé de Burguillos, is written in silva (medieval verse form) and has been defined as an ‘epic-ironic poem’ or ‘heroic-comic’.
Mythological poems

La Filomena y La Andrómeda (1621).- In the second part of La Filomena, he defends himself from the libel the Spongia, in which he had been attacked.
La Circe and La rosa blanca (1624).- La Circe is inspired by Ulysses’ return. It is written in Sicilian octaves. La rosa blanca, also written in Sicilian octaves, pays tribute to the daughter of the Count-duke de Olivares.

Pedagogical / critical poems

El arte nuevo de hacer comedias en este tiempo (1609).- This is one of Lope de Vega’s most important texts, as it contains postulates about his way of writing drama.
Isagoge a los reales estudios de la Compañía de Jesús (1629).- Written to be read at the opening of the new building for the Imperial School of the Compañía de Jesús in Madrid.
El laurel de Apolo (1630).- In this text, at the height of his career, as a type of ‘anthology,’ he reviews the poets of the time, his contemporaries, making this a useful catalog.

The lyric

Alonso Zamora Vicente: “Where do we find a lyric characteristic in Lope’s work? We have been following him step by step, seeing how, at the smallest possible crack, he slips in, wholeheartedly, with a delicious, healthy shamelessness, his privacy. We see how, in the most unexpected situations, he invades us with vivid, clean, terse, always new and always surprising emotion. Where to go to find the Lope’s specific lyric production? It appears everywhere, generously used throughout all of his theatrical works and his prose.”

Rimas humanas (1602).- This is a collection of two hundred sonnets that Lope published when he was forty years old. Many of these verses pertain to his plays, to moments when the characters are alone and reflect upon things.
Rimas sacras (1614).- Twelve years after the previous, Lope published a hundred sonnets, to which he added romances dedicated to religion, the passion of Christ and other sacred themes.
Rimas humanas y divinas (1680).- At the age of 72, under the pseudonym Tomé de Burguillos, Lope published these rhymes. In them he remembers his youth and does so with “freshness,” which is interesting given that he was well advanced in years.

Words to sing or musical lyric poetry

Romances, traditional villancicos (carols), seguidillas (flamenco song and dance), coplas (traditional folk songs), cantares de seiga (harvest songs), serranas (bucolic verses), tréboles (type of traditional music)…. Lope’s tremendous knowledge of the every-man´s life, of the trades, festivals and traditional music, makes its way into his plays and lyric work. It is also present in the original songs of all of his theatrical creations.


These are letters, compositions in epistle form, included in La Filomena or in La Circe, which offer Lope’s view on his personal life, information about his literary enemies, the poet’s loves and heartbreaks… Among them, the one that begins “Serrana Hermosa…” stands out, possibly written in 1602, in Toledo for ‘Camila Lucinda’ (Micaela de Luján). Today the texts of the epistles are considered more interesting from a historiographic point of view than literary.


Amarilis.- This is the most important of his eclogues. Here he talks about his love for Marta de Nevares, after her death.
Égloga Elisio.- This is really a song with very intense verses.
Égloga a Claudio.- In this piece, Lope remembers various episodes of his life: his loves with Elena Osorio, how they took him to jail, his first marriage, his relationships with the theater as a writer and a poet of plays...
Égloga Filis (1635).- Lope tells about how his daughter Antonia Clara abandons home and runs away with a man, and the grief this causes him.



Su madre fue Francisca Fernández Flórez y su padre Félix de Vega Carpio, maestro bordador, ambos procedían de las montañas de Cantabria.

Lope tuvo cuatro hermanos: Francisco, Juliana, Luisa y Juan. El poeta pasó parte de su infancia en casa de su tío, don Miguel de Carpio, Inquisidor de Sevilla.