Leon, Luis Ponce De

Leon, Luis Ponce de a Spanish ecclesiastic, was born at Belmonte, in the south of Spain, in 1527 (according to the Tesoro de los Prosadores Espanoles por Ochod [Paris, 1841], at Granada; and according to St. Antonio and Ticknor at Belmnonte in 1528). He studied at Salamanca, entered in 1543 the order of the Augustines, and was thereafter known under the name of Luis de Leon. Having been received D.D., he was in 1561 appointed to a professorship at St. Thomas. His knowledge and success created him many enemies, at the head of whom were the Dominicans of Granada. Accused of heresy and of having translated parts of the Bible into the vernacular, contrary to the orders of the Sanctum Officium, he was in 1572 imprisoned in the dungeon of the Inquisition at Valladolid, and appeared over fifty times before the high court. His defense, which is extant, contains 200 closely-written pages in the purest Castilian. Although unable to prove anything against him, his judges condemned him to the rack; but this sentence was reversed by the Inquisitorial high court of Madrid, and he was liberated with the advice of being more careful in future. In 1578 he returned to his convent and resumed his office. He thereafter devoted himself exclusively to theology and to the duties of his order; but his health never recovered entirely from the shock it had undergone while in the prisons of the Inquisition. He became general and provincial vicar of his order in Salamanca, and died in 1591. His principal writings are poems in Latin and in Spanish; the latter are distinguished for beauty of language and purity of style. His original pieces have been published, with a German translation, by C. B. Schliiter and W. Storck (Miinster, 1853). His whole works, consisting of the above, together with translations from the classics, the Psalms, and parts of the book of Job, were collected and published (Madrid, 1804-16, 6 vols.). See Quevedo, Vita de L. de L. (Madrid, 1631); Herzog, Real-Encyklopädie, s.v.

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