Lope De Vega (Lope Felix De Vega Cabpio), a Spanish dramatist, born in Madrid, Nov. 25, 1562, died there, Aug. 26, 1635. Shortly before his birth his father had removed to the capital from his ancestral domain of Vega, in the valley of Carriedo, and died while his son was very young. His uncle, the inquisitor Miguel de Carpio, enabled him to cultivate his extraordinary and precocious faculties at the royal college; and after an escapade from that institution, during which he served against the Portuguese, he was patronized by the bishop Manrique of Avila. He took his bachelor's degree at Alcala, became secretary to the duke Antonio of Alva, and married Isabel de Urbino, daughter of the king-at-arms. He was imprisoned on account of a duel and then exiled from Madrid, spent several years in the celebrated literary circles of Valencia, and became a widower in less than a year after his return. In 1588 he joined Philip II.'s armada against England. Shortly before his second marriage in 1597 with Juana de Guardio, he held for the last time a secretaryship, under the same marquis of Sarria who as count de Lemos became known as Calderon's munificent patron. His domestic happiness was after several years interrupted by the death of a son, and of his wife in giving birth to a daughter.

After an illicit alliance with Maria de Luxan, who bore him a son who died early and a daughter who became a nun, he joined a lay religious body, and in 1609 became a priest; in 1610 he joined the same brotherhood to which Cervantes afterward belonged, and in 1625 entered a congregation at Madrid, which in 1628 elected him chief chaplain. As early as 1609 he had styled himself a servant of the inquisition (familiar del santo oficio), and he produced most of his pieces during his connection with the church. Hypochondria imparted to his last religious poems a melancholy degree of fanaticism, and on his deathbed he deplored that he had ever been engaged in other than religious occupations. He left his manuscripts to his especial patron the duke of Sessa, who provided for his funeral, which lasted nine days. His fertility and rapidity of execution were fabulous. He wrote about 1,800 plays, besides hundreds of autos. About 300 of the former are contained in 28 volumes (1604-'47), and 112 in Comedias escogidas, edited by Hartzenbusch in the Biblioteca de autores espanoles.

His intense patriotism, faithful delineation of popular life, and admirable versification made him exceedingly popular, although he disregarded all sense of propriety and of chronological accuracy in his effort to produce an interesting plot. His dramatic genius embraced the whole range of the art. He first divided the secular from the religious drama, and introduced other modifications and improvements in the stage. Among his best known pieces are Los tres diamantes, La fuerza lastimosa, La discreta ena?norada, La dama melindrosa, and El padre engafiado, the last adapted to the English stage byllolcroft ("The Father Outwitted"). His epic poems were soon forgotten, but among his innumerable minor poems are several of superior merit. A select edition of his prose and poetry appeared at Madrid in 1776-'9 (21 vols.), and Hartzenbusch has edited his Obras no dramatical in the above mentioned collection (1856). - Among the Spanish authorities on Lope de Vega are his friend Montalvan and Navarrete; in English, Southey, Lord Holland, and especially Ticknor in his "History of Spanish Literature".