Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

During his lifetime, Gómez Manrique was known simply as a poet, the word “dramatist” having little or no relevance in fifteenth century Spain. His cancionero consists of 108 compositions conserved in manuscript form through the efforts of his good friend, Don Rodrigo Pimental, the count of Benavente. In addition to the courtly love poetry typical of his generation, his most famous works are moral treatises and elegies clearly within the tradition of Juan de Mena and Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, marqués de Santillana. In fact, the great Spanish critic Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo was of the opinion that Manrique was the third best poet of his time after Santillana and Mena.

His best work is undoubtedly Coplas para el Señor Diego Arias de Ávila. Dedicated to one of the favorites of Henry IV of Spain, it is both an elegy and an impassioned plea for the judicious and moderate use of power by one who had been injured by its abuse. In its lyricism and careful elaboration of the Ubi Sunt theme, it is clear that it served as a model for its more famous counterpart, Las coplas que fizo para la muerte de su padre, written by his nephew and admirer, Jorge Manrique.