DON JOHN OF AUSTRIA (1547-1578, victor of Lepanto). Autograph letter signed ('Don Ju[an] de Austria') to Don Bernardino de Cardenas, Madrid, 31 March n.y. [1560s?], one page, folio, integral address leaf (slightly browned and spotted, fraying at edges, small splits in central horizontal folds, the date annotated in a 19th-century hand in top left corner).
A reply in extravagant terms to Don Bernardino (a naval commander) who has determined to leave him and become a priest if Don John does not love him; he begs him not to mistake his inability to express his affection for lack of it: it is easier for him to write to Ruy Gomez about it than to Don Bernardino himself. 'Bueno es señor don bernardino, desir, quesino lelleno se medespide, y se mete frayle, oxala me fuese posible como al señor, Ruy Gomez selo escrivo, y costaserne de mi sangre, y quien mas que yo, en el mundo el puede, rideve desuar, porcier lo nadie, sino suz quelo, Corazon que paraestar apasionado ental caso tengo pues, tanbuen amigo, para semejantes y tales ocasiones, sedene pretender, nose que medio, me tubiese, para hazerlo, maas quien desafisionadamamente, le considerare, vera que sol desear lo en estremo puedo siempre le aviasare, de lo que me sucediere... '
An unusual personal letter, probably written in the late 1560s. Don John, the bastard son of Charles V and Barbara Blomberg, was accepted into the court of his half-brother Philip II from 1568, and studied with Don Carlos and Alexander Farnese at the university of Alcala de Henares from 1560-1564. In 1568 after taking part in the campaign in Granada he was appointed commander of the armada of the Mediterranean. Bernardino de Cardenas was killed on the flagship at Lepanto. Ruy Gomez de Silva, Prince of Eboli, was involved in many intrigues at the court.