Medieval September III. Spanish classic ballads

If it is possible that there is someone who has not read the Prisoner's romance, well ... today you will be able to do it in this third article dedicated to the Spanish medieval literature. This time we go to Ballads, that compilation of texts, of origin derived from oral tradition, which surely we all remember from our college readings. But it is always a good time to take a look at them. These are three of the most famous.

A classification

It was proposed by Menéndez Pidal, but there is some romances that belong to more than one category.

  • The historical they deal with historical or legendary themes belonging to medieval Spanish history, etc.
  • The romantic they bring together the largest number of romances and their theme is very varied.
  • The epic and legendary that tell the exploits of historical heroes and are based on French epic songs.
  • The traditional, vulgar or blind they tell tabloid facts, such as crimes, exploits of bandits, miracles, and so on.
  • The border They narrate the events that occurred on the border of Spain during the fight against the Moors at the time of the reconquest.

Most famous romances

Prisoner's romance

One of the masterpieces of the Spanish Romancero, translated into all languages, and possibly the most famous of all.

That by May it was, by May,
when it's hot,
when the wheats shine
and the fields are in bloom,
when the calender sings
and the nightingale answers,
when the lovers
they will serve love,

but me, sad, cared,
that I live in this prison,
I don't even know when it is daytime
nor when the nights are,
but for a little bird
that sang to me at dawn.
A crossbowman kill her,
God give him a bad reward.

Romance of Count Arnaldos

Who would have such a fortune
on the waters of the sea
as there was count Arnaldos
the morning of San Juan!
With a hawk in hand
the hunt was going to hunt.
Saw a galley coming
that wants to get to land.
The candles brought silk,
the rigging of a cendal;
sailor who commands
saying comes a sing
that the sea was calm,
the winds let go,

the fish that go deep
Arribalos makes them walk
the birds that are flying
they are going to pose at the mast.
There the Count Arnaldos spoke,
well you will hear what he will say:
- By God I pray, sailor,
tell me now that song.
The sailor replied,
such an answer was to give:
-I don't say my song
but to who goes with me.

Romance of Amenábar and King Don Juan

This is also another of the most popular. It is a Moorish romance with the historical basis that in 1431 King Juan II of Castile arrived in Granada with the Moor Abenámar, who was recognized as king of the city.

"Abenámar, Abenámar, Moor of the Morería,
the day you were born there were great signs!
The sea was calm, the moon was high,
Moor born in such a sign should not tell a lie.

There the Moor answered, well you will hear what he would say:
"I'll tell you, sir, even if it costs me my life,
because I am the son of a Moor and a captive Christian;
being a child and a boy, my mother told me so
What a lie he did not tell, that it was great villainy:
therefore, ask, king, what the truth would tell you.
"I thank you, Abenámar, for your courtesy."
What castles are those? They are tall and shining!

"The Alhambra was, sir, and the other was the mosque,
the others the Alixares, beautifully carved.
The Moor who worked them a hundred doubles earned a day,
and the day that he did not work them, many others were lost.
The other is Generalife, an orchard that he didn't even have;
the other Torres Bermejas, a castle of great value.
There King Don Juan spoke, you will well hear what he said:
"If you wanted, Granada, I would marry you;
I will give you in earnest and dowry to Córdoba and Seville.
—I am married, King Don Juan, I am married, not a widow;
the Moor who has me very big loved me well.

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