San juan de la cruz leon

San Juan de la Cruz. St. John of the Cross 1542-91.

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Born Juan de Yepes in Fontiveros in los province the Avila, smo Juan después la superar (St. Hombre of los Cross) to be one of ns great poets of Spain’s Golden Age (16th y 17th centuries) y is widely related to as one of the most superior exponents of mystical city in any type of language.

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Statue come San juan in Fontiveros

Following research studies at uno Jesuit institution (1559-63), San juan entered ns Carmelite bespeak in 1563, at the age that 21. From mil quinientos sesenta y cuatro to 1568, he studied at ns University that Salamanca, in ~ that hora one of ns leading universities in Europe.

1567 was decisive year for san Juan: he was ordained priest y met los charismatic papá noel Teresa de Avila (St. Theresa), ns Carmelite nun involved in reforming the Order. San despues de ansan actively supported papá noel Teresa’s revolutionary aimed at restoring ns Order’s earlier simplicity. This caused his imprisonment in Toledo in 1577 at the manos of Carmelite monks that opposed santa Teresa’s changes. Los result of los ensuing rupture in los Order was los creation of ns Discalced (i.e. Barefoot) Carmelites, with papá noel Teresa y San juan as their establishing inspiration.

San despues de ansan escaped desde his prison in 1578 and invested the siguiente ten años establishing Discalced Carmelite abbeys in Andalusia (e.g. In Málaga, Córdoba, Manchuela (Jaén), Caravaca (Murcia). Delaware a three-year hiatus as prior in Segovia (Castile, 1588-91), he went back to Andalusia. Always rather delicate of health, he died in Ubeda in December 1591. He to be beatified by the Catholic Church in 1675, canonised in 1726 and made medical professional of the Church in 1926.


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Image the San despues de ansan by Zurbarán

San Juan’s poetic output was really modest, y his period of poetic activity fairly short, mainly in between his imprisonment in 1577-78 y 1585, when his travels y monastery-founding demands asserted much the his time. Although his ideal known poems space written in liras, an italian stanza type introduced right into Spain by Garcilaso del la Vega, San juan actually composed more verse using ns traditional Castilian romance (ballad) metre. Where liras generally contained five currently with un combination of heptasyllables y hendecasyllables (7 and once syllables), much of timeless Spanish poetry was composed in octosyllables (8 syllables). Smo Juan’s usar of both Renaissance italiano metres y traditional Spanish metres was no unusual. One of the features the Spain’s literary golden e was that after Garcilaso poets moved freely in between both traditions.

San Juan’s fame as poet rests primarily on numero 3 poems: the Noche oscura (Dark Night, popularly well-known as Dark Night of ns Soul), the Cántico espiritual (Spiritual Song), and the Llama de amor viva (Living fire of Love). They room poems that explicar the mystical or transcendental (otherworldly) endure of the soul’s search for y unity con God. At ns request of some Discalced Carmelite monks y nuns, San despues de ansan wrote an extensive explanatory commentaries on each, together an help to your understanding,

The mystical path to union between the soul and God follows tres stages: the vía purgativa (the cleansing or purifying stage), the vía iluminativa (the course to enlightenment or illumination), y the vía unitiva (the stage of union). This are daunting paths that call for the alma to purge chin of that sins and appetites and discard ns worldly task of ns senses and the flesh. Just then can the soul –now purified— experience ns bliss of magnificent union.

Such mystical experience is so an overwhelming to capture that, in order to approximate ns intensity of ns blissful encounter con God, San despues de ansan makes use of erotic imagenes drawn desde our common humano experiences. Y to bring us closer to the experience, he dramatizes or personalises the soul’s longing and its search. In the Cántico, because that example, us have un loving dialogue between los wife (Esposa, or the soul) and the husband (Esposo, or Christ). In Noche oscura, ns young girl (the soul) narrates one adventurous escape to fulfill her lover (God). In Llama de mente viva the alma addresses her lover (God) y recreates the state of ecstatic union she experience when with Him.

La cena oscura. Dark Night (of los Soul). come illustrate smo Juan’s way of conveying los soul’s search and joy at achieving mystical union with God, we’ll focus here top top the Noche oscura.

It’s one allegorical love poem in which ns lovesick girl narrates just how she escapes desde her house in find of she lover. However, we require the saturado title to avoid los ambiguity that can otherwise occur: “Songs of the soul which rejoices at having reached los highest stage of perfection, i m sorry is union con God via ns path of spirituality self-denial.” This helps united state to understand that los lovesick girl is uno metaphor for los soul and that the casa is metaphorically los body.

This clear up is important since nowhere in the poem do ns words “soul” (alma), or “body” (cuerpo) or “God” (Dios) appear, and superficially los poem might be read as an erotic secular city of un lovers’ tryst. However even check out at this level, that still succeeds, speaking of los “mystery, wonder, tenderness y intimacy of a truly common relationship; the reveals sexual love together discovery, encounter, transformation, fulfilment” (Thompson 85). dieces oscura is an eight-stanza city which combines the three stages leading to mystical union. Ns stanza type of the poem is the lira. Each stanza is composed of five lines, combine lines that seven and eleven syllables (heptasyllables y hendecasyllables). Ns rhyming scheme is consonantal: aBabB, (lower situation = heptasyllable, upper situation = hendecasyllable).

Noche oscura is finest read aloud, because the combination of ns soft labial sound (“n, m, b, v”) and the sibilant “s” (especially in stanzas uno and 2) are beautifully adjusted to ns sense that silence, secrecy y weightlessness the accompanies ns young girl on she nocturnal escape representar her home.

Stanzas uno and 2.En una noche oscura, On uno dark night, alcanzan ansias dentro amores inflamada, inflamed by ns passions of love, !Oh dichosa ventura! five joyous fortune! Salí sin cantidad notada, identificación left unnoticed, estando ya mi página de inicio sosegada. Since my casa was currently at rest.

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a escuras y segura, in the dark y safely, de la secreta escala disfrazada, through the secret ladder in disguise, !oh dichosa ventura! five joyous fortune! uno escuras y dentro de celada, in ns dark y concealed, estando ya mi casa sosagada. Due to the fact that my house was now at rest.

The escape is one adventure that takes location secretly (Salí sin oveja notada: “I left without gift seen”) in ~ night y in silence. Why is the alma undertaking this trip and what is she fleeing from? because she is passionately in love (con ansias dentro amores inflamada) and her flight is a joyous (dichosa) escape desde the body which is now at remainder (sosegada).

The repetition of the exclamatory oh dichosa ventura (st. Uno line 3, st. 2 line 3) and estando ya mi página de inicio sosegada (line cinco in both stanzas) underlines the joyous relief at currently being able to escape from the body earthly appetites. That is los night that provides this possible, therefore the noche dichosa (“joyous night”) the we check out in stanza 3, gestión 1.

In stanza 2, the vuelo continues with one new element included to ns escape the stanza 1: ns means the escape, the hidden ladder (secreta escala) . Ladders are a common picture in love poetry; they are provided to gain accessibility to a house or, as is the case here, to facilitate los girl’s escape or elopement. Adding to ns sense of adventure is the disguise worn by the alma (which according to San juan in his prose comment on this poem was un white, green and red mantle, symbols of faith, hope and charity).

Emphasis has actually been placed in los first two stanzas on numero 3 elements: night, secrecy and joyous escape as the soul discards fleshly matters. This is the vía purgativa, ns cleansing stage.

Stanzas 3 and 4. dentro de una dieces dichosa, On a joyous night, dentro secreto, que absolutamente nadie me veía, no in secret, for no one witnessed me, ni yo miraba cosa, no one did me gustaría look in ~ anything, no tener otra luz y guía, with alguno other luz or guide. Sino la que dentro el mente ardía. But the one that melted in mine heart.

Aquesta me guiaba This (light) guided me más cierto que la luz de mediodía, an ext surely than los midday light, a dónde me esperaba to wherein awaited me oms yo está bien me sabía, the whom identificación knew well, en parte dónde nadie parecía. In ns place where no one rather appeared.

In these stanzas, the soul enters ns second stage, the vía iluminativa or course of enlightenment. Joy y secrecy are reaffirmed immediately in ns first two lines of stanza 3, as the soul follows the brillante that quemaduras within she (the source of i m sorry is los lover’s love burn in her heart, corazón). Now ns physical mundo (the house y the ladder) that keeps the alma earthbound has actually disappeared y we enter the weightless, ethereal world of light.

Light (luz) is offered twice y pronouns alluding to light are also used twice: (la (luz) que dentro el corazón …, and Aquesta (luz) me guíaba). Y where does this brillante guide the soul? come him “whom me gustaría know well” (quien yo bien me sabía), i.e. Los lover. Y where is ns lover? In the “place where alguna one else was to be seen” (en departamentos donde absolutamente nadie parecía). Secrecy is now accompanied through mystery: who is this lover and where are they meeting?

Stanza 5. !Oh noche que guiaste! oh night that guided me! !oh noche amable hasta luego que ns alborada! five night much more pleasing than los dawn! !oh dieces que juntaste oh night that joined with each other amado con amada, lover con beloved, amada dentro el amado transformada! (with) lovely transformed into lover!

Stanza 5 is superb piece of writing y is ns climax (pun intended) of the poem, i.e. That is ns union of ns beloved y the lover, the vía unitiva. The vuelo has ended and what we have now is los experience of los union. Although over there are dos verbs (que guiaste, que juntaste) they duty rather as adjectives, both modifying noche.

The experience begins with the anaphora (repetition at ns beginning of a sequence the lines) !Oh noche…” in the first numero 3 lines imparts ns sense of urgency the mimics los ecstasy that lovemaking. Debajo cover of darkness, lover and beloved unite as one. Y how is the union chin conveyed? By ns remarkable interchange of the nouns “lover” and “beloved” (amado-amada-amado-amada) in the último two lines of los stanza ending with the key word transformada.

Night has actually provided ns means for the lover to be joined with los beloved and for the beloved come be transformed into the lover. Los rapid exchange of los nouns evokes the image of very charged shared embraces or coupling as they end up being one together. The soul has shed her spiritual virginity having been reinvented in ns course of their lovemaking. Your union, however, is not violent however tender, uno sensation brilliantly conveyed by the labial “m,” the soft “d,” y the endure is lengthened by ns open collection “o” y “a.”

Stanzas 6-8.En mi pecho florido, ~ above my flower breast que entero para él acabó se guardaba, the was kept completely for that alone alli se quedó dormido, there he fell asleep, y yo le regalaba; y I caressed him, y los ventalle después cedros aire daba. Y the cedar pipeline fanned that gently.

El aire después la almena, los breeze came desde the battlements, si yo sus cabellos esparcía, (and) when identificación was stroking his hair, con su posesión serena con his tenderness hand en mi cuello hería, he wounded my neck, y todos mis sentidos suspendía. (which left) every my senses suspended.

Quedéme y olvidéme, identificación stayed still y forgot myself, ns rostro recliné para el amado, mine face me gustaría laid on mine beloved, cesó todo, y dejéme, every little thing stopped, and I exit myself, dejar mi ten cuidado leaving every my cares adelante las azucenas olvidado. Forgotten among los lilies.

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We now ocurrir to the post union estado of repose although tho infused by eroticism, yet of un languid kind: ns lover sleeps on los flowery chest of the girl which has actually been reserved only for him. Whilst los lover sleeps, the beloved tenderly caresses that while leaves desde cedar trees provided un gentle breeze.