What were the literary wars like in Lope´s time?

Insults and accusations between writers were frequent in the era. There were aggressive yet very witty confrontations. Really, the poison came from the pen of their talents. They dedicated highly toxic verses to one another, full of irony and sarcasm.

Góngora called Quevedo and Lope drunks, while they call him "morisco" (Moor converted to Christianity)... They said Quevedo knew nothing of Greek and on top of that, was "half blind." For Góngora, Lope as a priest, was a "sickness." And Cervantes won descriptions such as "angry, jealous and a liar." All of this circulated in signed poems, in texts, but also on other occasions, in anonymous pamphlets. What bothered Lope the most was Spongia.

The Spongia is a libel in the form of a Latin tract that appeared in Madrid in 1617 and was written by Pedro Torres Rámila, a master of Grammar. In a few pages, the author, pretending to be a foreign authority, fiercely attacked Lope de Vega's literature and 'not very exemplary' private life.

Lope and Cervantes met in 1583 at the home of Jerónimo Velázquez, father of Elena Osorio. Cervantes then recognized Lope's talent in Galatea (book VI, Canto de Calíope) and Lope praised Cervantes in the Arcadia (1598). It appears that what unleashed Cervantes' indignation was the cover of El peregrino en su patria (1604), that had an etching of the shield of the name Carpio, with nineteen towers, a statue of Envy, a inscription in Latin, and to top it off, a portrait of Lope with a laudatory sonnet signed by Quevedo. Cervantes could not abide so much arrogance and he dedicated a sonnet to him in which he attacked all of his theatrical works:

Hermano Lope, bórrame el soné—
de versos de Ariosto y Garcila—,
y la Biblia no tomes en la ma—,
pues nunca de la Biblia dices le—.
También me borrarás La Dragóme—
y un librillo que llaman del Arca—
con todo el Comediqje y Epita—,
y, por ser mora, quemarás la Angé—,
Sabe Dios mi intención con San Isi—;
mas quiéralo dejar por lo devo—.
Bórrame en su lugar El peregri—.
Y en cuatro leguas no me digas co—;
que supuesto que escribes boberi—,
las vendrán a entender cuatro nació—.
Ni acabes de escribir La Jerusa—;
bástale a la cuitada su traba—.

Before the appearance of Quixote (whose exclusive is dated September 26, 1604) the work was known probably in manuscript form in the Court, and Lope must have had access to it, and read it. Lope, completely out of control, wrote:

Yo que no sé de los, de li ni le—
ni sé si eres, Cervantes, co ni cu—;
sólo digo que es Lope Apolo y tú
frisón de su carroza y puerco en pie.
Para que no escribieses, orden fue
del Cielo que mancases en Corfú;
hablaste, buey, pero dijiste mu.
¡Oh, mala quijotada que te dé!
¡Honra a Lope, potrilla, o guay de ti!,
que es sol, y si se enoja, lloverá;
y ese tu Don Quijote baladi
de culo en culo por el mundo va
vendiendo especias y azafrán romí
y, al fin, en muladares parará.

Góngora to Lope:
Dicen que ha hecho Lopico
contra mis versos adversos,
mas si yo vuelvo mi pico
con el pico de mis versos
a ese Lopico lo-pico”

Góngora to Quevedo and Lope:
“Hoy hacen amistad nueva
más por Baco que por Febo
don Francisco de Que-Bebo
don Félix Lope de Beba

Quevedo to Góngora:
Yo te untaré mis versos con tocino
porque no me los muerdas, Gongorilla,
perro de los ingenios de Castilla,
docto en pullas, cual mozo de camino

Góngora to Lope:
Cura que en la vecindad
vive con desenvoltura
¿para qué llamarle cura
si es la misma enfermedad?”

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