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Life Is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
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By Pedro Calderon De La Barca

Translated by Edward Fitzgerald


Pedro Calderon de la Barca was born in Madrid, January 17, 1600, of
good family. He was educated at the Jesuit College in Madrid and at the
University of Salamanca; and a doubtful tradition says that he began
to write plays at the age of thirteen. His literary activity was
interrupted for ten years, 1625-1635, by military service in Italy and
the Low Countries, and again for a year or more in Catalonia. In 1637
he became a Knight of the Order of Santiago, and in 1651 he entered the
priesthood, rising to the dignity of Superior of the Brotherhood of San
Pedro in Madrid. He held various offices in the court of Philip IV, who
rewarded his services with pensions, and had his plays produced with
great splendor. He died May 5, 1681.

At the time when Calderon began to compose for the stage, the Spanish
drama was at its height. Lope de Vega, the most prolific and, with
Calderon, the greatest, of Spanish dramatists, was still alive; and by
his applause gave encouragement to the beginner whose fame was to rival
his own. The national type of drama which Lope had established was