Las Soledades de Luis de Gongora Argote

Soledades page 4

  1. Era del año la estación florida
  2. en que el mentido robador de Europa
  3. (media luna las armas de su frente,
  4. y el Sol todos los rayos de su pelo),
  5. luciente honor del cielo,
  6. en campos de zafiro pace estrellas,
  7. cuando el que ministrar podía la copa
  8. a Júpiter major que el garzón de Ida,
  9. náufrago, y desdeñado sobre ausente,
  10. 1agrimosas de amor dulces querellas
  11. da al mar; que condolido,
  12. fué a las ondas, fue al viento
  13. el mísero gemido,
  14. segundo de Arión dulce instrumento.


Dámaso Alonso

Soledad Primera 1 - 6
Era aquella florida estación del año en que el Sol entra en el signo de Tauro (signo del Zodíaco que recuerda la engañosa transformación de Júpiter en toro para raptar a Europa). Entra el Sol en Tauro por el mes de abril, y entonces el toro celeste (armada su frente por la media luna de los cuernos, luciente e iluminado por la luz del Sol, traspasado de tal manera por el Sol que se confunden los rayos del astro y el pelo del animal) parece que pace estrellas en los campos azul zafiro del cielo.
7 - 14
Pues en este tiempo, un mancebo, que por su belleza pudiera mejor que el garzón Ganimedes ser el copero de Júpiter, náufrago en medio del mar, y, a más de esto, ausente de la que ama y desdeñado por alla, da dulces y lagrimosas querellas al mar, de tal suerte, que, condolido el Océano, sirvió el misero gemido del joven para aplacar el viento y las ondas, casi como si el doloroso canto del mancebo hubiera repetido el prodigio de la dulce lira de Arión. (Navegando de Italia a Corinto quisieron !os marineros, por apoderarse de las riquezas del músico Arión, arrojar a éste al agua. Solicitó Arión cantar antes de morir y, habiéndosele concedido, a la música de su lira acudieron los delfines. Visto que no podía obtener gracia de los que le querían mater, se arrojó al agua, pero un delfín lo tomó sobre su lomo y condujo a tierra. Del mismo modo la lastimosa canción de nuestro náufrago hizo que el mar se condoliera de él y le salvó la vida.).

Salcedo Coronel

Primera Soledad Line 4
Page 4 Para significar que auía entrado en este Signo, dize que cada pelo era un rayo de luz, y que todo el Sol estaua dividido en ellos.


Lines 2 - 4
constitute an elegant periphrasis that sets the time of year. To understand it, you need to know about the Zodiac and also about a myth, Jupiter and Europa. By using this figure (periphrasis), Góngora synergises his language, by allowing plural references in, rather than restricting the signified.
The zodiac bull was not, of course, Jupiter, so Góngora uses the figure periphrasis to sweep into his evocation of the sky-picture more than one mythological allusion. As the bull in the sky is further described, other astronomical objects, Sol and Luna, are inserted, and as part of the elaborately extended figure enters the prosaic detail, not without playful intention, that the animal in the sky is cropping the stars in its heavenly pasture. In the sky-map you can just see Sol and Luna (crowned by a crescent moon) in the right and left-hand corners.
Line 8
The reference to Ganymede forms a trope that praises the beauty of the youth who has been washed ashore. But there is also a conceit at work, since Ganymede is related to the zodiacal sign Acquarius, the water-carrier, a humorously appropriate connection, in addition to the further allusion to Jupiter that links up with the previous sky-picture. [In NOTES, there is a zodiac map and a visual image of the water-carrier].The sexual associations that are present in both the Jupiter references are bi- and homosexual, evocative of the potency and boundless desire of the god. If mythology provides poetic cyphers for natural forces, the resonances from these preliminary allusions serve to set the world of Soledades. For more on Ganymede, see NOTES. You could compare this in poetry with the painter Poussin's The Garden of Flora.
How does the comparison between the youth and Aryon work? To refer to the youth as a segundo Arión is 1) to show deliberateness and precision over the creation of a trope 2) to relate the youth to another outcast, also lost at sea also saved 3) to imply this youth's lyric sensibility, since Arion was so gifted a musician that with his lyre he could summon dolphins to his aid. The latter quality contained by the trope may contribute to the idea that the youth provides the poem with a poetic consciousness that is responsive to the world of the Soledades.


  • Zodiac

    A map of the zodiac and the constellations of the northern sky.

    You see Taurus clearly at the bottom of the skymap, Capricorn on its left, Gemini on its right. Can you locate Pisces? Cancer?

    Aquarius, the Water Carrier in evidence, with a jug with water gushing from itAquarius, the Water Carrier in evidence, with a jug with water gushing from it.

    In the skymap opposite you see the northern constellations, among them Ursa Maior, the Great Bear, and Ursa Minor, the Little Bear. It is in the latter that the Pole Star is located, at the tip of the bear's tail. You see the small animal immediately above the greater bear. The Sun and Moon are just there for effect.

  • Europa

    Europa and the Bull

    The story of how Jupiter transformed into a bull in order to abduct a mortal, Europa, comes from Ovid's Metamorphoses. As you see from Titian's Rape of Europa, on the right of the screen, the story had a sensual, animal passion about it, which the verses by the Renaissance poet, Angelo Poliziano, capture in the latter's revival of Ovid's verses: You can admire Jupiter transformed into a beautiful bull by the power of love. He dashes away with his sweet terrified load, her beautiful, golden hair fluttering in the wind which blows back her gown. With one hand she grasps the horn of the bull, while the other clings to his back. She draws up her feet as if she were afraid of the sea, and thus crouching down with pain and fear, she cries for help in vain. For her companions remain on the flowery shore, each of them crying Europa come back. The whole sea-shore resounds with Europa come back, and the bull looks round and kisses her feet. Quoted E.Panofsky, Studies in Iconology, Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance, Harper Torch, 1967, p. 29.

    A version by Rubens of the rape of Europa which is more placid than Titian's.

  • Flora

    Góngora's image of the sun's chariot reminds one of the representations of natural forces that you find in paintings by Nicolas Poussin. On the right, you see Poussin's The Temple of Flora. In the garden of Flora, at the centre of which Flora dances, we see various figures and their stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses. The dying protagonists are being transformed into flowers. Above the garden, Apollo drives his chariot of the sun across the sky: this stands for time, but also as the source of fertility. This correspondence between the painting and the poetry suggests how classical material was being tapped by a seventeenth-century painter and a poet not out of nostalgia for a lost world of paganism but for their evocation of our natural world.

    Enlargement of section of Poussin’s The Temple of Flora

  • Ganymede

    cuando el que ministrar podía la copa

    a Júpiter major que el garzón de Ida,

    In the painting by Rubens, you see the abduction of the fair and youthful Ganymede by Jupiter, in the form of an eagle. Ganymede carries the quiver of the huntsman.