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VALDES, Gabriel de la Concepcion, known as "PLACIDO," Cuban poet, born in Havana in 1809 ; died there, 28 June, 1844. He was the son of a colored man and passed the first years of his life in poverty and want. His early education was entirely neglected, but in later years he obtained some instruction by desultory reading. When he was seventeen years old he was already known as a remarkable improvisatore. In 1836 he fixed his residence in the city of Matanzas, and began to publish his poems in the newspapers and literary reviews. These poems revealed at once a lyrical poet of no mean value, and gave him a wide reputation, which extended to all Spanish-American countries. Some patriotic lines of his cost Placido several months of imprisonment under General Tacon's government. In 1844 he was accused of being implicated in a supposed conspi\ racy of the col, ! ore(i race ag'ainst the whites, under General O'Donnell's administration ; and, al though it has hadbeen nothin Pr.ved to.f late that Plaeido of whose existenee there have never been con elusive proofs, he \ and nineteen of fellow citizens were shot as traitors. His poems have passed through numerous editions in Cuba, as well as in Spain, Mexico, South America, and the United State;. The first edition was published in Matanzas in 1838, another enlarged edition appeared in the same city in 1842, and the most complete edition was published in Havana in 1886. The poems of Placido have been translated into French by Auguste Fontanes, and published in one volume (Paris, 1866). Many of them have been translated into English, German, Italian, and Portuguese. The best is his prayer, composed on the eve of death, and recited by him on his way to the place of execution. This was translated into English by Mary Weston Chapman. Vald6s is one of the most popular and best known of the Spanish-American poets.
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