Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Auzias March

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A Catalan poet, b. perhaps in the last quarter of the fourteenth century, at Valencia; d. there in 1458. He is the greatest lyric poet of the older period of Catalan literature, and among foreigners is one of the best to realize the spirit of Petrarch's love lyric. A knowledge of Dante's work is also apparent in his poetical imagery, which rises superior to that of the troubadour poetry still written by March's contemporaries. According to report, March was a soldier of fame and took part in the expedition of Alfonso V of Aragon against Naples; this report needs verification. He certainly came of a noble stock, and seems to have contracted marriage twice. His extant poems consist of ninety-three love songs (or Cants d'amor) and eight death songs or elegies (Cants de mort), besides some moralizing poerns (Cants morals), a long Cant espiritual, and a brief "Demanda feta a la Senyora Na Tecla de Borja". The lady celebrated in the love Iyrics is said to have been a fair gentlewoman of Valencia, Teresa Bou (or Monboy), whom March met for the first time - even as Petrarch had met his Laura - in church on a Good Friday. Following Petrarch's example, the Catalan poets sings her not only in life, but also in death. In these compositions March reveals himself as a genuine poet, in spite of the occasional obscurity of his lines. It is to be remembered also to his credit that the Catalan language was ar very imperfect medium for poetical expression when he began to write, so that he had many difficulties to overcome when seeking to give utterance to subtle poetic thought such as Petrarch had set down in the far more supple Italian. In the "Cants morals" he brings an indictment against the contemporary society for its materialism and sinfulness while in the "Cant espiritual" he arraigns himself for his own shortcomings. The "Demanda" is a poetical epistle of slight account. It is a notable fact that in his own time March was already lauded as a great poet by the well-informed Castilian, the Marquis of Santillana. In the sixteenth century his Iyrics were translated twice into Castilian first by Baltasar de Romani (printed in 1539, four years before the first edition of the original Catalan text), and again by Jorge de Montemayor. His influence is clear in a number of the leading poets writing in Spanish in the same century, such as Boscan, Garcilaso de la Vega, and Mendoza.

Among modern editions of the work of March see that of Barcelona, 1864, and that also of Barcelona, of 1888, neither of which is very good. Cf. RUBIO Y ORS, Ausias M. y so epoca (Barcelona, 1862); PAGES, Documents inedites relatifs a la vie d' A.M. in Romania, XVII, 186; MOREL-FATIO in GRUBER, Grundriss der roman. Philologie, II, ii, 79; and DENK, Einfuhrung in die Geschichte der altcatalanischen Litteratur (Munich, 1893), 567 sqq. (a book to be used with caution).

J.D.M. FORD