«Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm» (Proverbs 3:30).
Luis de Góngora y Argote was born in Córdoba, Spain, in 1561. His parents belonged to the old local nobility, which in the future would allow him to enjoy certain privileges of the cathedral of Córdoba. Góngora became passionate about language and poetry; he was part of the great literati of the Spanish Golden Age. His virtuosity led him to serve in the court of Philip Ill and later in the court of Philip IV. In 1608, he became the king’s chaplain of honor, which significantly increased his prestige. However, his successes in poetry also brought him enemies and led him to literary strife, that precipitated into the vulgar and rude. He maintained a notable enmity with Francisco de Quevedo, who mocked the supposed Jewish origin of the poet from Cordoba with ironic verses: «I will smear my works with bacon / because you will not bite, Gongorilla / dog of the mills of Castile / learned in cutting remarks which servant on the way,» alluding to the Jews not consuming pork meat. It should be mentioned that, at that time, the suspicion of having Jewish origins condemned people to marginalization and, of course, and greatly reduced their possibility of accessing many civil and ecclesiastical institutions. But it is said that his great rival was Félix Lope de Vega, with whom he held strong literary strife. This, Góngora write to Quevedo: «No imitaréis al terenciano Lope / Que al de Belerofonte cada día / Sobre zuecos de cómica poesía / Se calza espuelas, y le da un galope?»
What motivated these geniuses of the word to attack each other in that way? Why the fervor or being grieved? Why create an atmosphere of an enormous rivalry between poets in a time so special for the Castilian language?
Weren’t there other higher issues to channel their great talents into?
There are people in this world who cannot live without fighting with others. Arguing, offending, and insulting seem to be part of their nature. But life is too short to waste on hurling expletives at those around us. Therefore, the verse for today reminds us that it is not good to engage in arguments without reason and win enemies for free.
Ask the Lord to help you get along with others and to give you the ability to Overcome and resolve any kind of differences you may have with them.