Ausiàs March

Ausiàs March

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Ausiàs March (c. 1397 – March 3, 1459) was a Valencian
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

 poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

 who was born in Gandia
Gandia
Gandia is a city and municipality in the Valencian Community, Eastern Spain on the Mediterranean. Gandia is located on the Costa del Azahar, 65 km south of Valencia and 96 km north of Alicante....

 (Valencia
Valencia (province)
Valencia or València is a province of Spain, in the central part of the Valencian Community.It is bordered by the provinces of Alicante, Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel, Castellón, and the Mediterranean Sea...

) towards the end of the 14th century. He was the son of Pere March
Pere March
Pere March was a Valencian poet.Younger brother of Jaume March II, uncle of Arnau March, and father of Ausiàs March, Pere's family had been lawyers and officers of the court of the kingdom of Aragon...

, nephew of Jaume March II
Jaume March II
Jaume March was a Catalan language poet.Brother of Pere March and uncle of Arnau March and the renowned Ausiàs March, Jaume's family had been lawyers and officers of the court of the kingdom of Aragon. Born in Valencia he was seemingly the eldest son, and inherited the family's possessions around...

, and cousin of Arnau March
Arnau March
Arnau March was a Provenço-Catalan knight and poet of the famous March family. He was related—it is unknown how—to Jaume I, Jaume II, Pere, and Ausiàs March. He bore the rank of mossèn...

.

Little is known of his career. From a very young age he took part in the expeditions that Alfons el Magnanim carried out in the Mediterranean. After the age of twenty-seven, however, he would never leave the region where he was born. He was twice married—first to Isabel Martorell (sister of the writer Joanot Martorell
Joanot Martorell
Joanot Martorell was a Valencian knight and the author of the novel Tirant lo Blanch, which is written in Valencian...

), and second to Joana Escorna. The two wives and the family of the poet are buried in the Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba
Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba
The Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba is a monastic building of Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical styles constructed between the 14th and 18th centuries, located in the municipal area of Alfauir, , Spain.- History :...

. Five illegitimate children but no legitimate heirs have been attributed to him.

Inheriting an easy fortune from his father Pere March, the treasurer to the duke of Gandia
Duke of Gandia
The hereditary Spanish title duke of Gandía was created in 1485 by Ferdinand II of Aragon from the original Italian title "duke of Candia" belonging to the Italian Stato di Mare or Italian Kingdoms of the Mediterranean Sea; originally granted around 1206 to a Genoan marquis member of the House of...

, and enjoying the powerful patronage of Prince Carlos de Viana of Aragon
Charles of Viana
Charles, Prince of Viana , sometimes called Charles IV of Navarre, was the son of King John II of Aragon and Queen Blanche I of Navarre.- Background :...

, March was able to devote himself to poetical composition. He is an undisguised follower of Petrarch
Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

, carrying the imitation to such a point that he addressed his Cants d'amor (love songs) to a lady whom he professed to have seen first in church on Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

. So far as the difference of language allows, he reproduced the rhythmical cadences of his model, but this should be qualified, as the mediaeval tradition of locus communis requested this following. This is something Petrarch himself did and it need not to be stressed. March is a very original and idiosyncratic poet. In the Cants de mort (death hymns) he touches a note of brooding sentiment peculiar to himself. It can be said that he developed Petrarch's rhetoric and used it for more inner psychological meditations, as other major poets like Camões
Luís de Camões
Luís Vaz de Camões is considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry and drama but is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas...

 and Shakespeare would.

March was one of the first poets to use the everyday language Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, instead of the troubadour
Troubadour
A troubadour was a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages . Since the word "troubadour" is etymologically masculine, a female troubadour is usually called a trobairitz....

 language, Occitan. His poems are marked by obscurity, a sometimes monotonous morbidity, and a conflicting battle between desire and morality, achieved at its apex in the great Cant Spiritual. He was fully entitled to the supremacy which he enjoyed among his contemporaries, and the success of his innovation no doubt encouraged Boscán
Juan Boscán Almogáver
Joan Boscà i Almogàver , was a Catalan poet born about the end of the 15th century.The exact date of birth for Boscà is unclear, but there is a consensus that he was born anywhere between 1487 and 1492. Boscà was born in Barcelona and was one of three children...

 to introduce the Italian metres into Castilian
Names given to the Spanish language
There are two names given to the Spanish language: Spanish and Castilian . Spanish speakers from different countries or backgrounds can show a preference for one term or the other, or use them indiscriminately, but political issues or common usage might lead speakers to prefer one term over the...

. His verses were transmitted in manuscript tradition until its first print edition in Catalan in 1543, but they had already become known through the Spanish translation in 1539.

March's poetry was set to music by Joan Brudieu
Joan Brudieu
Joan Brudieu was an Catalan Spanish composer. Brudieu was born around 1520 in the diocese of Limoges and died in la Seu d'Urgell in 1591, but can generally be considered as a Spanish, since the few biographical details found him locate him in Catalonia.From 1539 was cantor at the Cathedral of...

among other composers.

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