Out of the Wings

You are here:

Égloga de Fileno, Zambardo y Cardonio (Égloga 12) (1496-1509), Juan del Encina

English title: Eclogue of the Three Shepherds: Fileno, Zambardo and Cardonio
Notable variations on Spanish title: Égloga de los tres pastores
Date written: sometime between 1496 and 1509
First publication date: 1509
First production date: sometime between 1505 and 1511
Keywords: violence > suicide, love, love > desire
Genre and type: pastoral
Title information

This is Encina's 12th eclogue, also called the 'Égloga de los tres pastores'


This dramatic eclogue has been called Spain’s first tragedy, and  Encina is often called the father of Spanish drama. In this play, the shepherd Fileno complains in bucolic verse of his unrequited love for Zefira, his beloved lady, and ultimately commits suicide after his friends ignore his lovestruck misery.


The principal characters here are three shepherds, transformed into verse-speaking lovers (Fileno and Cardonio are each in love) and their practically-minded friend Zambardo. Fileno’s love for Zefira is unrequited, and he complains to his friends of her cruelty. Zambardo, who is supposedly listening to Fileno’s plight, finds it hard to stay awake as he has been guarding his flock, and he dozes off during the miserable Fileno’s tale. Receiving no consolation from Zambardo, Fileno tries Cardonio, who says that not all women are as bad as the ungrateful Zefira, and that Fileno should not judge them all just based on her. Cardonio has his own love affair going on and is distracted by that, so neither is he fully sympathetic to Fileno. Once Fileno is alone again, he breaks his promise to Cardonio not to take drastic measures, and he commits suicide. Cardonio’s concern for Fileno comes too late, for the next time he sees him, Fileno is lying dead. Zambardo wakes up to find Fileno dead and Cardonio lamenting his death, and feels guilty. Zambardo writes an inscription for the dead shepherd’s grave, and they bury him, lamenting his fate at the hands of unrequited love and Zefira’s cruelty.


Encina’s eclogues are heavily influenced by those of Virgil, so much so that Sullivan calls Encina’s eclogues a ‘paraphrase’ of those of Virgil (1976: 42) (See also Bayo 1959 for Encina’s use of Virgil). Encina would have used Bernardo Pulci’s translation of Virgil’s Eclogues (Wickersham Crawford). The satirical works set in bucolic locations that precede Encina’s work also bear influence: the anonymous Coplas de Mingo Revulgo written against Henry IV, and the Eclogue by Francisco de Madrid (ca. 1495) which depicts (though veiled through the shepherd characters) Charles VIII of France and King Ferdinand. Encina was mentored by the Spanish grammarian, Nebrija, who was educated in Italy and so the Italian influences on Encina are strong, especially after he moves there from about 1500.

The source for this particular Eclogue has been convincingly argued by J. P. Wickersham Crawford, who claims it is derived from Antonio Tebaldeo’s Second Eclogue, published in 1499, which can be found in this volume: Parnaso italiano ovvero Raccolta de’poeti classici italiani, Egloghe boscherecce del secolo XV-XVI, Venice, 1785, vol. XVI. Fileno’s attack on women in the play may be derived from Boccaccio’s Corbaccio, and the shepherds’ lament may be influenced by Phylenio Gallo or Filippo Galli’s Egloga pastorale de Flavia (Wickersham Crawford 1934).

  • Bayo, Marcial J. 1959. Virgilio y la pastoral española del Renacimiento, pp. 17-63. Madrid, Gredos (in Spanish)

  • Sullivan, Henry W. 1976. Juan del Encina. Boston, Twayne

  • Wickersham Crawford, J.P. 1934. ‘Encina’s Egloga de Fileno, Zambardo y Cardonio and Antonio Tebaldeo’s Second Eclogue’, Hispanic Review, 2, 327-33

Critical response

In the most complete study of the play, Sullivan (1976) traces the sources of this eclogue and the situation of its composition, as well as chronicling the editions and style of the work. He gives helpful Italian eclogue traditional sources for the names Encina chooses to give his characters, and looks at Fileno’s suicide, as suicide is extremely unusual in dramatic work of this period (he gives Melibea’s suicide in La Celestina as a notable example). He then turns to the complex theme of love as expressed in the play: ‘In fact, the eclogue turns entirely on contrasted and conflicting attitudes toward women and sexuality. This theme, which occupied the Spanish misogynistic and philogynistic poets of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in lengthy polemics, here finds its first dramatic expression’ (1976: 90).

  • Sullivan, Henry W. 1976. Juan del Encina. Boston, Twayne

  • Encina, Juan del. 1496, also 1507 and 1509. Cancionero de las obras de Juan del Encina [or Enzina]. Salamanca. Eclogue 12 (The Three Shepherds) is found in the 1509 edition.

  • Encina, Juan del. 1893. Teatro completo de Juan del Encina, ed. Manuel Cañete and F. A. Asenjo y Barbieri. Madrid, Real Academia Española. Rpt. 1969. New York, Greenwood

  • Encina, Juan del. 1914. Representaciones de Juan del Encina. In Bibliotheca romanica, vols. 208-10, ed. Eugen Kohler. Strasburg, J. H. E. Heitz (Heitz and Mündel)

  • Encina, Juan del. 1928. Cancionero de Juan del Encina, ed. Emilio Cotarelo y Mori. Madrid, Real Academia Española

  • Encina, Juan del. 1971. Égloga de Fileno, Zambardo y Cardonio. In El teatro anterior a Lope de Vega, ed. Everett W. Hesse and Juan O. Valencia. Madrid, Alcalá

  • Encina, Juan del. 2001. Teatro, ed. Alberto del Río. Barcelona, Crítica

  • Enzina, Juan del. 1968. Eglogas completas del Juan del Enzina, ed. Humberto López-Morales.  New York, Las Américas

Useful readings and websites
  • Andrews, Richard J. 1959. Juan del Encina: Prometheus in Search of Prestige. Berkeley, University of California Press

  • Bayo, Marcial J. 1959. Virgilio y la pastoral española del Renacimiento, pp. 17-63. Madrid, Gredos (in Spanish)

  • Cotarelo y Mori, D. Emilio. 1901. Juan del Encina y los orígenes del teatro español, pp. 70-2. Madrid, Imprenta de la revista española (in Spanish)

  • Crawford, J. P. W. 1915. The Spanish Pastoral Drama. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania

    This edition has more on Juan del Encina than the later 1937 edition.


    It is available online here:


  • Hermenegildo, Alfredo. 1994. El teatro del siglo XVI. Madrid, Júcar (in Spanish)

  • Kohler, Eugen, ed. 1914. Representaciones de Juan del Encina. Bibliotheca romanica vols. 208-10. Strasburg, J. H. E. Heitz (Heitz and Mündel) (in Spanish)

    See the Introduction especially.

  • McKendrick, Melveena. 1989. ‘Juan del Encina 1468?-1529’. In Theatre in Spain 1490-1700, pp. 10-15. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

  • Moir, Duncan. 1965. ‘The Classical Tradition in Spanish Dramatic Theory and Practice in the Seventeenth Century’. In Classical Drama and its Influence, ed. M. J. Anderson, pp. 193-228. London, Methuen

  • Thacker, Jonathan. 2007. ‘The Emergence of the Comedia nueva’. In A Companion to Golden Age Theatre, pp. 1-22. Woodbridge, Tamesis

    For Juan del Encina see p. 3-8, for Gil Vicente see p. 9-11. For La Numancia see pp. 20-1

  • Wickersham Crawford, J. P. 1916. ‘The Source of Juan del Encina's Egloga de Fileno y Zambardo’, Revue Hispanique, 38, 218-31

  • Wickersham Crawford, J.P. 1934. ‘Encina’s Egloga de Fileno, Zambardo y Cardonio and Antonio Tebaldeo’s Second Eclogue’, Hispanic Review, 2, 327-33

  • Williams, Ronald Boal. 1935. The Staging of Plays in the Spanish Peninsula Prior to 1555. Iowa City, University of Iowa

Entry written by Kathleen Jeffs. Last updated on 4 October 2010.

Tag this play

You must be logged in to add tags. Please log in or sign up for a free account.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please log in or sign up for a free account.

  • King's College London Logo
  • Queen's University Belfast Logo
  • University of Oxford Logo
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council Logo