Glossary and Annotations
The following list clarifies references and resolves certain ques-
tions that may arise in reading the poems of Cantos de vida y esper-
anza. Included are cultural, historical, literary, geographical, and
mythological references to some of the many and complex allusions
encountered in Rubén Darío’s poetry, as well as terms used in the
introduction.This glossary is, no doubt, far from complete, even for
our limited purposes. Also, as Darío is quite capable of recasting a
particular term to fit the needs of a particular poem, all references
must be understood in light of Darío’s text. Each entry here offers
general information that should serve as a starting point for fur-
ther investigation and interpretation. We cite no particular sources:
readers may consult standard reference works if they desire more in-
formationonanysubject.ReadersofSpanishmayalsowishtoconsult
theworks by Arturo Marasso (1954) and Armando Zambrana Fonseca
(1998), cited in this book’s bibliography. In English, as far as we can
determine, our own glossary notes are the most extensive available
for the works of Rubén Darío.
Aegipan: Derived from a surname of the god Pan that alludes to his goatlike
features, it generally suggests an equally goatlike satyr in Darío’s poems. In some
traditions it stands for an independent figure with his own legend; still other
traditions identify him with the constellation Capricorn.
Ahasuerus: Persian king, also known as Xerxes, who reigned from 485 to 465 b.c. In
the Bible he married the Hebrew woman Esther: ‘‘this is Ahasuerus which reigned,
from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces’’
(Esther 1:1).
alejandrino: alejandrino: In Spanish, a fourteen-syllable verse divided into seven-syllable
hemistiches separated by a caesura. The verse was especially popular in the Middle
Ages. Darío restored its use in Spanish poetry.
Alexander the Great (356–323 b.c.): b.c. King of Macedonia who set out to conquer the
known world.
Alfonso XIII: King of Spain from 1902 to 1931, whom Darío met in Madrid and about
whom he wrote a retratoy semblanza (literary portrait).
Alhambra, the: Fortified complex of exquisite palaces built in Granada, Spain, by a
Moslem dynasty during the Middle Ages.
Altamirano, Adolfo: Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Affairs under President José
Santos Zelaya, who urged Darío’s nomination as Nicaraguan consul to France, a
post the poet held from 1903 to 1907.
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