His trial extended over nearly five years, during which time Luis de León was held in prison.
Finally the Inquisition at Valladolid declared Luis de Leon guilty and asked that he be given torture on the rack.
This sentence, however, had to be ratified by the supreme council at Madrid.
But nine days later, on 7th December 1576, this body reversed the sentence.
It acquitted Luis de León, ordered that his university Chair at Salamanca be given back to him, but nevertheless warned him to be more cautious in his teaching in future.
He renounced the chair, however, for the time being, in favour of the professor who had filled it during his absence, and was satisfied with pecuniary compensation and supplementary teaching.
Later he held the chairs of Moral Philosophy and Biblical Studies at the University.
Resumption of duties
When Luis de León was released of prison, he returned to the lecture rooms of the University of Salamanca with even more vigor and moral energy than before, although his health had been broken by five years of imprisonment.
He recommenced his teaching in 1576, which was done in the Latin language.
As has often been retold (but without much historical foundation), he resumed lecturing with an opening remark filled with irony.
In that has become one of the most famous sentences in Spanish history, "Dicebamus hesterna die.. ('As we were saying yesterday'...)".
Thus with Stoic brevity he conveyed the same meaning as is contained in the contemporary phrase, "As I had been saying before I was rudely interrupted..."
His hearers had anticipated that he would have said much more about his five years of fruitless imprisonment.
In 1582 he again had problems with the Inquisition, but this time was not placed in detention, and eventually received only a warning.
He was elected Provincial of his Order in Castile, but days later died in the Augustinian community at Madrigal de las Altas Torres in Avila, Spain on 23rd August 1591.
The trials and pains in his life had turned him into a person with a short temper, and even an aggressive one at times.
He is buried in a magnificent tomb in the chapel of the University of Salamanca. A large statue of him stands in front of the ornate facade of the main building of the university.
The statue faces the entrance to the building, as if Luis de León O.S.A. watches over the university as its most famous alumnus and staff member.
This biography is a "small" history of Luis de León, who occupies a deserved place in a "larger" history as one of the best lyrical poets of the Renaissance.
(Continued on the next page.)
Luis de León O.S.A. and the Spanish Inquisition. From the Library of Iberian Sources Online: "A History of the Inquistion of Spain," Volume Four, Book 8: Spheres of Action, Chapter 7: Propositions. By Henry Charles Lea. Luis patiently suffered a horrendous experience!