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AS A MARK OF ADMIRATION FOR HIS WRITINGS,
AND AS A MEMORIAL OF FRIENDSHIP,
THIS WORK IS
CONTENTS OF THE PREFACE.
Authorities cited in this work :
Fr. J. de Siguença
Fr. P. de Sandoval
M. Gachard and T. Gonzalez .
x, xi, xii
THE HE first, and perhaps the best, printed account of the cloister-life of Charles the Fifth, is to be found in Joseph de Siguença's History of the Order of St. Jerome. The author was born, about 1545, of noble parents, in the Aragonese city from whence, according to the Jeromite custom, he afterwards took his name. He became a monk about the age of twentyone, at El Parral, near Segovia, and having studied at the royal college of the Escorial, he obtained great fame as a preacher in and around Segovia, and was made prior of his convent. Removing to the Escorial, he devoted himself to literary labour in the library which was then being collected and arranged by the learned Arias Montano. His reputation for knowledge soon stood so high, that Philip the Second used to say of him, that he was the greatest wonder of the new convent, which was called the eighth wonder of the world. The first of his literary works, a series of discourses on Ecclesiastes, was denounced as heretical before the bar of the inquisition at Toledo; but he defended it so well, that he received honourable acquittal, and returned to the Escorial with an unblemished character for orthodoxy, to write the history of St. Jerome and his Order. The first volume, containing the life of the saint, was published in 1595, in quarto, at Madrid; the second and third, in folio, in 1600 and 1605. The author died in 1606, of apoplexy, at the Escorial, having been twice elected prior of the house.
One of the most able and learned of ecclesiastical historians, Siguença, for the elegance and simple eloquence of his style, has been ranked among the classical writers of Castille. Like all monkish chroniclers, he has been compelled to bind up a
vast quantity of the tares of religious fiction with the wheat of authentic history; but he writes with an air of sincerity and good faith, and when he is not dealing with miracles and visions, he seems to be earnest in his endeavour to discover and record the truth. In relating the life of the emperor at Yuste, he had the advantage of conversing with many eye-witnesses of the facts; Fray Antonio de Villacastin, and several other monks of Yuste were his brethren at the Escorial; the emperor's confessor, Regla, and his favourite preacher, Villalva, filled the same posts in the household of Philip the Second, and were therefore often at the royal convent; the prior may also have seen there, Quixada the chamberlain, and Gaztelu the secretary, of Charles; and at Toledo or Madrid he may have had opportunities of knowing Torriano, the emperor's mechanician.
Fray Prudencio de Sandoval, bishop of Pamplona, printed his well-known History of Charles the Fifth at Valladolid, in folio, the first part in 1604, and the second part in 1606. In the latter, a supplementary book is devoted to the emperor's retirement at Yuste. It was drawn up, as we are told by the author, from a manuscript relation in his possession, written by Fray Martin de Angulo, prior of Yuste, at the desire of the infanta Juana, daughter of the emperor and regent of Spain at the time of his death. As Angulo came to Yuste, on being elected prior, only in the summer of 1558, his personal knowledge of the emperor's sayings and doings was limited to the last few months of his life. There can be little doubt that his relation was known to Siguença, whose position as prior of the Escorial must have given him access to all the royal archives.
Juan Antonio de Vera y Figueroa, count of La Roca, printed his Epitome of the Life of Charles the Fifth, in quarto, at Madrid, in 1613. It contains little that Sandoval and others had not already published; but there are a few anecdotes of the emperor's retirement which the author may have picked up from tradition. Being more than seventy years of age at his death, in 1658, he may have conversed with persons who had known his hero. He also may have seen the narrative of the prior Angulo.
Of that narrative a copy exists, or did lately exist, in the