Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/415

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them, and roused them from their natural lethargy and absorption in provincial and class differences. Military glory turned away attention from the burden and sufferings of the land and increased the national contempt for all professions save that of arms. The middle class which under the Catholic Kings was struggling into existence almost disappeared. But Charles attempted to found his world-wide power on submission, and not on political, social, and economic well-being. Spain was indeed formally united, and political unity was based on religious unity as Isabel had intended; but the vigorous provincial and municipal life, checked by harsh centralisation, became a source of weakness instead of a reserve of strength.

A memorable intellectual, literary, and artistic development accompanied the political expansion and the growth of military glory. The striking originality of the new generation contrasts with the effete imitation that sufficed for its predecessor. The predominance of the Castilian dialect was already secured; but even in the fifteenth century poets sought models in Provencal, Gallegan, and Italian. Ausias March (who died in 1466), the most notable among them, wrote in his native Lemosin. Literature was an exotic cultivated at Court; hardly a poem of the hundreds collected into the Cancioneros of Baena, Stuniga, and Hernando del Castillo (published in 1511) possesses more than historical interest. The frivolity, artificiality, and disorder of the reigns of John II and Henry IV were reflected by their poets, and their tragedy by the chronicles,—probably, too, by ballads now modernised beyond recognition.

The introduction of printing coincides with the accession of the Catholic Kings, and the next half century produced translations of the Latin and Italian classics in abundance. Though the Revival of Learning influenced Spain, it bore no fruit there till later. The scholars who brought the new learning to the Peninsula were mostly foreigners, or Spaniards trained abroad. Peter Martyr of Anghera, the two brothers Geraldino and Marineus Siculus, were Italians; Arias Barbosa, a Portuguese, taught Greek by the side of Fernan Nuiiez de Guzman, a Spanish nobleman; but Spain produced no Hellenists of note. Luis Vives, the humanist, tutor to William de Croy, the boy Archbishop of Toledo, and to Mary of England, was Spanish only by the accident of his birth. Antonio de Nebrija, or Lebrija, the most distinguished native scholar of his age, was educated at Bologna, though his teaching was, like his Latin Dictionary (1492) and Spanish and Latin Grammars, addressed to his fellow-countrymen. His daughter Francisca was one of a company of learned women who carried their teaching even to the universities and the Court. Ferdinand himself was all but illiterate, but Isabel had a taste for learning. After her accession she acquired some knowledge of Latin; so carefully were her children educated, that Queen Juana could make impromptu speeches in the learned tongue. Isabel's schemes of