Hernando Domínguez Camargo biography, style, works

Robert Johnston

Hernando Dominguez Camargo (1606-1659) was a poet and priest belonging to the Society of Jesus and born in the New Kingdom of Granada, which today is known as the Colombian territory. His literary work stood out for the use of a language loaded with rhetorical elements that made it difficult to understand.

Domínguez Camargo was influenced by the Spanish writer Luis de Góngora, for that reason he was called "the Spanish-American Góngora. The use of metaphors, Latinisms and the alteration of the order of words or phrases was common in his writings..

Portrait of Hernando Domínguez Camargo. Source: media.timetoast.com.

Although the literary work of this poet was not extensive, it went down in history for its quality and baroque style, which in other words could be described as pompous and ornate. Some of his most prominent poems were To the passion of Christ, To a jump where the Chillo stream falls Y Heroic poem of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Article index

  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Birth and family
    • 1.2 Studies
    • 1.3 Some priestly tasks
  • 2 Style
  • 3 Works
    • 3.1 Brief description of some of his works
  • 4 References


Birth and family

Hernando was born on November 7, 1606 in Santa Fe de Bogotá, the former Kingdom of Granada, today Colombia. The writer came from a cultured family of Spanish descent; his father was called Hernando Domínguez García and his mother responded to the name of Catalina Camargo Gamboa.


Regarding Domínguez's educational training, it is known that he was instructed under the strict norms of the Jesuit priests. During his student stage he was orphaned; the poet lost his father in 1618 and his mother died in 1621. Despite this, Domínguez continued his intellectual and spiritual development in the Society of Jesus.

The young priest demonstrated in those years his passion for literature and his talent for poetry. It is known that in that he wrote A jump where the Chillo stream falls. After a while, Hernando Domínguez made the decision to leave the Society of Jesus, exactly in 1636.

Some priestly tasks

The fact that Domínguez resigned from the Jesuits did not mean the abandonment of the priesthood. The same year that he left the Order, he was in charge of directing the ecclesiastical council in Gachetá and until 1650 he carried out the same work, but in the towns of Palpa, Tocancipá and Turmequé..

Emblem of the company of Jesus, an institution to which Hernando Domínguez Camargo belonged. Source: Moranski [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The priest moved in 1657 to the town of Tunja to take charge of the church in that town. Just as Domínguez devoted his life to the service of others and to poetry, he also applied himself to studying and honoring the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the creator of the Society of Jesus. It was to this saint that he dedicated Heroic poem.

Domínguez spent his last years serving others and dedicated to the ecclesiastical missions that were entrusted to him. He combined his activities as a priest with his taste for letters.

Hernando died in Tunja in 1659. Historians have argued that the death could have occurred between February 18 and March 6. His remains were deposited in the church of Santo Domingo.


Hernando Domínguez Camargo's literary style was characterized by being baroque. This meant that a language loaded with rhetorical elements such as periphrasis and hyperbaton predominated in his writings..

More explicitly, the poet used more words than he should have to explain his ideas and frequently changed their order to make the text more interesting..

On the other hand, metaphors in his verses were common and recurrent, as well as Latin and mythological words and exaggerated language. All those elements made his work difficult to understand..


- To the passion of Christ.

- A jump where the Chillo stream falls.

- To the entertainment with which Cartagena receives those who come from Spain.

- Apologetic Invective.

- On the death of Adonis.

- Heroic poem of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

- To Don Martín de Saavedra y Guzmán.

- To Guatavita.

Brief description of some of his works

Heroic poem of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

This work was one of the best known by Domínguez Camargo and was the result of the admiration he felt for Ignacio de Loyola. The poet began to write it in his youth, but on the date of his death it remained unfinished. In 1666 it became known in Spain thanks to the edition of Antonio Navarro Navarrete.

The play dealt with the life of Loyola, the founding process of the Society of Jesus and its different missions. The poem was developed in nine thousand six hundred verses, which were distributed in twenty-four songs and five volumes. The verses were written in real octaves.

Conformation of the books

- First book: described the childhood and youth of Ignacio de Loyola. It was made up of four songs and 238 royal octaves.

- Second book: the main theme was the conversion or transformation of the saint towards a life of faith. 220 octaves and five songs were described.

- Third book: in this part of the poem his pilgrimages and missions were narrated, through four songs and 111 octaves. It was the shortest book.

- Fourth book: through 225 octaves and six songs the process of formation of Loyola and the attacks he suffered for his beliefs was described.

- Fifth book: corresponded to the unfinished part of the work. The formation process of the Society of Jesus was described, it consisted of five songs and 157 octaves.


"Feathers clothed with love, bold my luck,

that or pyre or glory they request later,

or with broken wings in death,

or with winged yearning in the fire.

Semi-expensive love: your risk warns;

how badly winged, about also blind,

the sea and the fire offer your pen

pyre, already ash, already foam!

... skinny my feather will shelter flexible,

fiery chariot of its illustrious history,

and in which pyres will burn from the mountains,

my ashes will confront Phaetontes.

Your fire, Ignacio, conceived my chest,

that, semi-Gideon with a fragile wall

(eyelid to its gleams, well that narrow,

so great carbuncle in short hurry girl),

will spread your light, though undone,

every lightning bolt cost him a hard blow,

because each flame can be affected

tongue to the sonorous clarion of fame ".


  1. Tamaro, E. (2019). Hernando Dominguez Camargo. (N / a): Biographies and Lives. Recovered from: biografiasyvidas.com.
  2. Hernando Domínguez Camargo. (2019). Spain: Wikipedia. Recovered from: es.wikipedia.org.
  3. Hernando Domínguez Camargo. (2017). Colombia: Banrepcultural. Recovered from: encyclopedia.banrepcultural.org.
  4. Heroic poem to Saint Ignatius of Loyola. (2016). Colombia: The World. Recovered from: elmundo.com.
  5. Hernando Domínguez Camargo. (S. f.). Spain: Royal Academy of History. Recovered from: dbe.rah.es.

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