Archived translations from Galician to English of poems by Rosalía de Castro

Translator: Eduardo Freire Canosa


I grant the translations herein to the public domain







A few words about Rosalía de Castro


Rosalía de Castro (b. 1837, d. 1885) Rosalía de Castro (b. 1837, d. 1885) is the unquestioned poet laureate of Spanish Galicia (also known as Galiza). Highly educated, expected to speak and write in Spanish only, she took the bold, unconventional step of writing her early poems in the Galician language. Her defiance earned her the contempt and spite of that segment of the population for whom Galician was a dialect fit only for the illiterate and the churlish, but De Castro's gallant gesture won her the love and admiration of the rest. Streets, schools, libraries, cultural associations, prizes, public parks, sports teams, monuments, a theater, restaurants, a label of white wine, hotels, rural lodgings, a banknote, a postage stamp, a FS98 Iberia Airbus A340 and a sea rescue plane have been named after her. The Asociación de Escritoras e Escritores en Lingua Galega (Association of Writers in the Galician Language) organizes acts of remembrance yearly.

The poetry of De Castro's Galician volumes—"Cantares Gallegos" (1863) and "Follas Novas" (1880)—at times poignant, others assertive, affirms the fullness of the feminine personality and champions the overlooked plight of the disadvantaged, the emigrant, the widow and the orphan. Her volume of poetry "En las orillas del Sar" (1884) written in Spanish is a brooding reflection about the inherent tragedy of living, a discourse reminiscent of existential pessimism.

In the year 1947 the Fundación Rosalía de Castro (Rosalía de Castro Foundation) was born with the express goal of purchasing De Castro's last residence and of perpetuating her memory and literary legacy. The arduous task of the real-estate acquisition dragged on until 1971, but at length the rehabilitated house opened to the general public as a house-museum on July 15, 1972.

In July of the year 1951 the Foundation organized a "literary pilgrimage" to honour the poetess. An amateur enthusiast recorded the event, his film is reproduced below (min. 8:38-27:34). There is extraordinary footage of Gala, then the last surviving daughter of De Castro, on min. 20:52-21:16 and 24:31-25:02. The document reveals the aspect of some of the places cited in De Castro's poetry that summer. By organizing similar events the Foundation helped to preserve Galicia's cultural and national identity in what was socially and politically a hostile environment.


Literary Pilgrimage of July 15-25, 1951


The first time that Franco's government tolerated the exclusive use of the Galician language in a public ceremony after the Spanish Civil War was the votive mass for Rosalía de Castro of July 25, 1965.

The city of Santiago de Compostela quintessence of the Galician territory (in days of yore it was usual to dub her "Santiago de Galicia") is an administrative, cultural and religious capital. Her patron saint is also Spain's and as a result the city's festivities combine the sacred with the profane. The date of the offering to the saint [July 25] coincides with the date of the most important country fair in the Autonomous Community and with the Day of the Emigrant. Moreover it is the festivity of the Day of Galicia established in 1920 by Galician nationalists, many of whom were devout Catholics who made this day their rallying banner. It was in Santiago de Compostela on July 25, 1965, that Jesuit father Xaime Seixas said the first Roman Catholic mass spoken in the Galician language dedicated to Rosalía de Castro at the request of the writer's Foundation, the same institution that repeats this rite in honor of the other "saint" of the city every year and which also lays a wreath of flowers at the foot of her tomb in the Pantheon of Illustrious Galicians.

(Ramón Blanco. "'Gaudeamus, Exultemus' y 'Ultreia.'" ABC D Las Artes y Las Letras, 913, 25 July 2009)

Although the bitter division persists that Rosalía de Castro triggered in Galician society by her rebellious, loving use of the native language, the resilience of her reputation together with the affection lavished on her memory by many at home and abroad portends that in a not too distant future she will cease to be a foreigner in her homeland.




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Joaquín Rodrigo (b. 1901, d. 1999)

Joaquín Rodrigo and Rosalía de Castro

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) the Valencian composer and virtuoso pianist whose most famous pieces are Concierto de Aranjuez and Fantasía Para un Gentilhombre composed a classical score for soprano and orchestra entitled "Rosaliana" which sets to music four excerpts of De Castro's poetry.

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Cantarte hei, Galicia

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¿Por qué? (Follas Novas, II, Do Intimo)

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Adiós ríos, adiós fontes

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¡Vamos bebendo!




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Federico García Lorca (b. 1898, d. 1936)

Federico García Lorca and Rosalía de Castro

Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) travelled to Galicia at least three times: in 1916 to Santiago de Compostela with fellow undergraduates and twice in 1932 when he with other members of an "Intellectual Cooperation Committee" laid a bouquet at the foot of the monument to Rosalía de Castro in that city.1,2 The visits inspired him to write "Salutación elegíaca a Rosalía de Castro" in 1919 (published in Poesía inédita de juventud. Ed. Christian de Paepe. Madrid: Cátedra, 1994) and six Galician poems between 1932 and 1933. At the insistence of a friend he acceded to publish the six private poems in 1935. Their translated titles are: (1) Madrigal to the City of Santiago, (2) Festive Pilgrimage in Honour of Our Lady of the Barge, (3) Song of the Shopkeeper Boy, (4) Nocturne of the Dead Adolescent (min. 4:00-7:35 of the linked video), (5) Lullaby for Dead Rosalía Castro, and (6) Dance of the Moon in Santiago.3


1 Federico García Lorca. Galician Wikipedia.
2 José Luis Franco Grande and José Landeira Yrago. Cronología gallega de Federico García Lorca y datos sincrónicos.
3 Federico García Lorca. Seis poemas gallegos.



Lullaby for Dead Rosalía Castro (Canzón de cuna pra Rosalía Castro, morta)

(Seis poemas gallegos, 1935)

¡Erguete, miña amiga,
que xa cantan os galos do día!
¡Erguete, miña amada,
porque o vento muxe, como unha vaca!

Os arados van e ven
dende Santiago a Belén.
Dende Belén a Santiago
un anxo ven en un barco.
Un barco de prata fina
que trai a door de Galicia.

Galicia deitada e queda,
transida de tristes herbas.
Herbas que cobren teu leito
e a negra fonte dos tuos cabelos.
Cabelos que van ao mar
onde as nubes teñen seu nídio pombal.

¡Erguete, miña amiga,
que xa cantan os galos do día!
¡Erguete, miña amada,
porque o vento muxe, como unha vaca!

Arise, female friend of mine,
For already the roosters crow in the day!
Arise, my beloved,
For the wind moos like a cow!

The ploughs come and go
From Santiago to Bethlehem.
From Bethlehem to Santiago
Comes an angel on a boat.
A boat made of fine silver
That brings the ache of Galicia.

Galicia lain down and still,
Weary with saddened pastures.
Pastures that cover your bed
And the black spring of your locks.
Locks that wander off to the sea
Where the clouds have their pristine pigeon loft.

Arise, female friend of mine,
For already the roosters crow in the day!
Arise, my beloved,
For the wind moos like a cow!

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Rafa Lorenzo from the 2007 album Primos Hermanos

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Cristina Pato and Laura Alonso Padín




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Ramón Cabanillas Enríquez (b. 1876, d. 1959)

Ramón Cabanillas and Rosalía de Castro

Ramón Cabanillas Enríquez (1876-1959) was born in Cambados (Pontevedra). Poet, playwright, journalist, clerk, secretary, accountant, he administered the Centro Gallego de La Habana during his stay on the Caribbean island between 1910 and 1915. A moderate Galician-nationalist, he wrote the anthem of Acción Gallega spearhead of the Galician agrarian movement that proclaimed the right of peasants to own the land they rented and worked. He ran for but failed to win a seat in the Constituent Assembly of the Second Spanish Republic (1931). The poet was a fervent admirer of Rosalía de Castro to whom he paid repeated homage. His book Camiños no Tempo (1949) was one of the first to be published in the native language during the hostile dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. A devout Roman Catholic, his last book Samos (1958) was inspired by his retreat at the monastery there. On April of 1958 his many admirers crowned him "Poet of the Race" in the town of Padrón (radio recording). Cabanillas left behind this epitaph, "I wish to have on the sepulchre that grants me rest this word that has light, Galician, and this word that has wings, Poet."

A few of Cabanillas' poems became popular songs. Their translated titles are: Rise Up!, Brother Daniel, Poor, Poor Mad Woman and Butterfly.



To Rosalía de Castro (A Rosalía de Castro)

(Da Terra Asoballada, 1917)

Dúas nais me bican e me dan arrolo.
Unha, a do tempo neno, a pomba aquela
que me acochóu, mimosa, no seu colo
co xeito homilde da virtú sinxela.

Afundido no dor, frebente, tolo,
chamaba a morte a berros ó perdela,
cando ó ler os teus libros ¡ou consolo!
surdiche Ti: ¡contigo tornóu Ela!

Dende entón, si ferido dos penares
que ensanguentan a vida con que loito,
pouso a ialma nas FOLLAS i os CANTARES.

¡Rosalía! ¡ña Nai! ¡miña Santiña...!
¡mentrela Rula milagreira escoito,
sinto unha doce man que me acariña!

Two mothers kiss me and lull me to sleep.
The one of my infancy, that dove
Who coddled me snug in her lap
With the humble ways of simple virtue.

Drowned in pain, seething, insane,
I summoned death with shouts upon losing her—
When on reading your books oh solace!
You arose—with you She returned!

Since then, when wounded by the sorrows
That bloody the life I struggle with,
I rest my soul upon the FOLLAS and the CANTARES.

Rosalía! My Mother! My Sweet Saint...!
While I listen to the miracle Turtle Dove
I sense a gentle hand that caresses me!

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Juan Pardo from the 1976 album Galicia, Miña Nai dos Dous Mares

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Cristina Fernández from the 1983 album Falade Galego




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José Martínez Ruíz (b. 1873, d. 1967)

José Martínez Ruíz alias Azorín and Rosalía de Castro

José Martínez Ruíz alias Azorín (1873-1967) the Alicantine journalist, playwright, poet and writer was the prime example of that group of Spanish authors nicknamed "the generation of 1898." His style was terse, concise, full of short sentences, far removed from the traditional grandiloquence of Spanish prose. His contemporaries tagged him a master of the language. He entered politics and was appointed Undersecretary of Public Education twice, first under Prime Minister Manuel García Prieto (November 13, 1917) and again under Prime Minister Antonio Maura (April 19, 1919). The Royal Spanish Academy inducted him on October 26, 1924.

Azorín paid homage to Rosalía de Castro in an article that he wrote for the conservative newspaper ABC.

Rosalía has a lively, clear bearing and an expression of indefinite, sweet sorrow. She has sung of her country's scenery—so beautiful—and has seen pass by her door, "when the north wind blows hard and the fire burns in the hearth," the unending caravan of farmers who abandon their native land and go looking for the sea to travel to faraway places; the "gaunt, naked and hungry" farmers who leave the poet "distressed and saddened, as comfortless as they" ("How much they must suffer here, O homeland! If presently your sons depart without sorrow!"). Rosalía has crossed in swift journey the desolate and scorched Mancha; she has toured plentiful Extremadura; she has contemplated the fine and clear landscapes of Alicante; she has let her eyes rove through the orchards of Murcia. All this has its beauty and charm but the poet glances backward—with so much love!—to her beloved Galicia. "The ground covered with dear grasses and flowers all year long, the hills full of pines, oaks and willows, the brisk winds that blow, the fountains and cascades pouring forth frothing and crystalline summer and winter over smiling fields or in deep, shaded hollows...Galicia is a garden always where one inhales pure aromas, cool and poetry."

She was born on February 21, 1837; she died on July 15, 1885. Her last sigh was reserved for the open sea; the vision of the unceasing surf and the infinite horizon was her last vision. "When I saw her confined between the four boards which await us all"—her companion has written—"I exclaimed, Rest at last, poor tormented spirit, you who have suffered so much in this world!"

Rosalía: You have not died; your image lives on in our hearts, we who love the pure, delicate lyric and detest the bombast of officialdom and the evils which cause the good to leave the Motherland. Rosalía: One can read on your kind, sad face, as you have said in one of your poems, the vague promptings, the secret endearments...

(Azorín. "Rosalía de Castro." ABC 8 Jan 1914: 3-4, Leyendo a los poetas)




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Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (b. 1864, d. 1936)

Miguel de Unamuno and Rosalía de Castro

Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936) the Basque poet, novelist and playwright was an ardent Spanish-nationalist intellectual who did not admit of a better vehicle for the loftier poetic expression than Castilian (September 18, 1931, address to the Spanish Congress). Nevertheless he contributed to the dissemination of the literary stature of Rosalía de Castro. The main criticism he levelled against hers and Galician poetry in general was its proclivity to lament, sentiment for which he saw no justification. Unwittingly the following excerpt from his essay "Spanish wanderings and perceptions" begs to differ.

That very sea, which takes refuge there, in the Southern Firths of Galicia, between green arms of the country, is it not inspecting them for something that it has lost, or possibly for a way to forget its nagging woes? There, cuddled beside its eternal spouse, it slumbers and perchance dreams. And perhaps it longs to be a river once more, a humble stream, a secluded creek. Who knows! Maybe the broad Bay of Arousa dreams about the [river] Ulla that renders its waters, or about the unfortunate [river] Sar sung by Rosalía. And all of that is thirst—the sea is thirsty, it thirsts for the fresh water of the streams which descends from the summits—an unquenchable thirst, thirst that made Rosalía say: "O land, fertile and beautiful yesteryear, today and forever! / Seeing how sadly there shines our ill-fated star / From the banks of the Sar, / As I near the end I feel the consuming thirst, / Never allayed, that drowns all feeling, / And the hunger for justice that fells and crushes / When our complaints are snapped away / By the wind of a mad tempest."

(Miguel de Unamuno. "Junto a las Rías Bajas de Galicia." Andanzas y Visiones Españolas)




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Manuel Curros Enríquez (b. 1851, d. 1908)

Manuel Curros Enríquez and Rosalía de Castro

Manuel Curros Enríquez (1851-1908) was born in Celanova (Ourense). A runaway teenager, a city hall clerk in Madrid, a journalist, a war correspondent (wounded), a failed university student of Law, bohemian, Mason, Republican, scourge of the Roman Catholic Church (excommunicated), director of a failed newspaper in Havana—his was an eventful life. A renowned writer and poet, sometimes satirical, others sentimental, he like De Castro wrote in Galician and in Spanish. Some poems from Curros' tome Aires d'a Miña Terra (1880) became very popular ballads and songs. Their popular names are translated: Once Upon a Night in the Wheat Fields, The Month of May, How Did It Happen? and Those Eyes of Yours.

On May 25, 1891, the mortal remains of Rosalía de Castro were exhumed and carried in solemn procession from Adina Cemetery in Padrón to the Pantheon of Illustrious Galicians in Santiago de Compostela. The funereal train arrived in Santiago at 6:00 PM sharp. Two long rows of candle-bearing children and the orphéons of Galicia with their ensigns preceded the hearse, which was adorned with ribbons and flanked by city hall officials and by representatives of the Galician community in Cuba. There followed the hearse business organizations, political associations, writers, professors and teachers, then came a second car and the city's fire truck trailed by a multitude of students, newspapermen, bureaucrats, presidents of financial, legal, educational and business institutions, the dean of the university, construction workers and ordinary citizens.1 Manuel Curros Enríquez delivered an eloquent eulogy as the cortege paused beside the entrance to the university and he recited the following poem in her honour.


1 Javier Vales Failde. Rosalía de Castro. Madrid: Imprenta de la Revista de Archivos, 1906.



To Rosalía (A Rosalía)

(1891)

Do mar pola orela
mireina pasar,
na frente unha estrela,
no bico un cantar.
E vina tan sola
na noite sin fin,
¡que inda recei pola probe da tola
eu, que non teño quen rece por min!

A musa dos pobos
que vin pasar eu,
comesta dos lobos,
comesta se veu...
Os ósos son dela
que vades gardar.
¡Ai, dos que levan na frente unha estrela!
¡Ai, dos que levan no bico un cantar!

I watched her go past
Along the shoreline,
A song on her lip,
On the forehead a star,
And so alone I saw her
In the endless night
That I yet prayed for the poor disturbed woman,
I who don't have who will pray for me!

The peoples' muse
I saw pass by
Devoured by wolves,
Devoured she died...
To her belong the bones
You are about to keep.
Ah, pity those who bear a star on the brow!
Ah, pity they who carry a song on their lip!

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Adriano Correia de Oliveira from the 1971 album Gente de Aqui e de Agora

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Luis Emilio Batallán from the 1975 album Ahí Ven o Maio

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2NaFronteira

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Camerata Vivace




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The Archived Poems

Clicking on a number will take you to the corresponding poem right away

†    Poem from Cantares Gallegos

  1.    At the Tomb of British General Sir John Moore    (Na tomba do xeneral inglés Sir John Moore)

  2.    Bells of Bastabales    (Campanas de Bastabales)   

  3.    Black Carnation    (Quíxente tanto, meniña)   

  4.    Black Shadow    (Negra Sombra)

  5.    Good-Bye Rivers, Good-Bye Fountains    (Adiós ríos, adios fontes)   

  6.    I Was Born When the Seedlings Sprout    (Nasín cando as prantas nasen)   

  7.    Misfortune    (A Disgracia)

  8.    My Sweet Kitchen Maid    (Miña carrapucheiriña)   

  9.    Pharisees    (Tembra un neno no húmido pórtico)

10.    Sweet Dream    (Dulce sono)

11.    Though It Be a Sin    (Díxome nantronte o cura que é pecado)   

12.    Why?    (¿Por qué?)

13.    Winter Months    (Meses do inverno)
























Gravesite of Sir John Moore at A Coruña (Spain)

Courtesy of  Ramón José Rey Lage

Portrait of Sir John Moore

Source: The Rifles Collection


1.   At the Tomb of British General Sir John Moore     (Na tomba do xeneral inglés Sir John Moore)

To my friend Maria Bertorini, a native of Wales. Coruña, 1871
(Á miña amiga María Bertorini, nativa do país de Gales. Coruña, 1871)

(Follas Novas, 1880)



Historical Background

"At the tomb of British general Sir John Moore" is an elegy to Scottish-born Lt. Gen. Sir John Moore who died on January 16, 1809, in the Battle of Elviña at A Coruña fighting the French army of Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult during Napoleon's invasion of Spain. Among John Moore's last words were these to 24-year-old Major Charles Stanhope, "Remember me to your sister, Stanhope," a reference to the notable Lady Hester Stanhope.1,2 For a long time it was said that every sixteenth of January a ship from the Far East called at Coruña's harbour and that a young woman in mourning disembarked, went to weep over Moore's grave and left a poppy behind.3

The Sir John Moore cenotaph is located in the Xardín de San Carlos (Garden of St. Charles) of the city of A Coruña. Two marble plaques flank the gate to the lookout over the harbour, one reproduces the poem of Reverend Charles Wolfe, "The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna," and the other displays an abridged version of De Castro's poem.

De Castro dedicated this poem to Welsh-born Maria Bertorini (née Mary Margaret Jones)4 who was the wife of Camilo Bertorini a business partner of John Stephenson Mould the Lancashire-born (1836) engineer and builder of the first railway in Galicia.5,6,7 The Bertorinis would become great-grandparents of Camilo José Cela. John Stephenson Mould's father George Mould died from apoplexy in the village of Padrón in 1874 at the age of 61.8 De Castro too died there eleven years later. It is natural to surmise that the poetess was as acquainted with the Moulds as she was with the Bertorinis. "Na tomba do xeneral inglés Sir John Moore" is a token of personal friendship and also perhaps a demonstration of her gratitude for some timely favour received (e.g. a small sum of money to tide her over).


1 Obituary, with Anecdotes, of remarkable Persons. The Gentleman's Magazine, 79, Part I, p. 283. March 1809.
2 Temple Bar. "Sir John Moore and Lady Hester Stanhope." The New York Times 28 Nov 1880.
3 kittygirl. "La leyenda de Sir John Moore." January 8, 2009.
4 James Kirkup. "Camilo Jose Cela." The Independent 8 Jan 2002: Obituaries.
5 Baptisms at St Elphin in The Parish of Warrington in the County of Lancashire. Years 1835-1836, entry 601.
6 Juan R. Baliñas. "Apuntes para una historia de Galicia (revisada)." October 11, 2007.
7 Asociación Compostelana de Amigos do Ferrocarril. "El ferrocarril Cornes-Carril."
8 "Railman George, darling of the Spanish Queen." The Cumberland News 6 Feb 2009.




¡Cuan lonxe, canto, das escuras niebras,
dos verdes pinos, das ferventes olas
que o nacer viron!...dos paternos lares,
do ceo da patria que o alumou mimoso,
dos sitios, ¡ai! do seu querer, ¡que lexos!...
viu a caer, baixo enemigo golpe
pra nunca máis se levantar, ¡coitado!
¡Morrer asín en estranxeiras plaias,
morrer tan mozo, abandona-la vida
non farto aínda de vivir e ansiando
gustar da froita que coidado houbera!
¡I en vez das ponlas do loureiro altivo
que do heroe a testa varonil coroan,
baixar á tomba silenciosa e muda!...

¡Ouh brancos cisnes das britanas islas,
ouh arboredos que bordás galanos
dos mansos ríos as ribeiras verdes
i os frescos campos donde John correra!...
Se a vós amargo xemidor sospiro
chegou daquel que no postreiro alento
vos dixo ¡adios! con amorosas ansias
a vós volvendo o pensamento último,
que da súa mente se escapaba inxele,
¡Con que pesar, con que dolor sin nome,
con que estrañeza sin igual diríades
tamén ¡adios! ó que tan lonxe, tanto,
da patria, soio, a eternidás baixaba!

I o gran sillón, a colgadura inmóbil
do para sempre abandonado leito;
a cinza fría do fogar sin lume,
a branda alfombra que leal conserva
do pé do morto unha sinal visibre,
o can que agarda polo dono ausente
i o busca errante por camiños ermos,
as altas herbas da alameda escura
por onde el antes con solás paseaba,
o sempre igual mormoruxar da fonte
donde el nas tardes a sentarse iña...
¡Cal falarían sin parar de Moore,
co seu calado afrixidor lenguaxe,
ós ollos, ¡ai!, dos que por el choraban!
¡Xa nunca máis...xa nunca máis, ¡ouh!, triste,
ha de volver, onde por el esperan!
Parteu valente, a combatir con groria.
¡Parteu, parteu!...e non tornou, que a morte
segouno alí nos estranxeiros campos,
cal frol que cae onde a semilla súa
terra n'atopa en que arraigar poidera.

Lonxe caíche, pobre John, da tomba
onde cos teus en descansar pensaras.
En terra allea inda os teus restos dormen
i os que te amaron e recordan inda,
mirando as ondas do velado Oceano,
doridos din, desde as nativas praias:
-¡Aló está el, tras dese mar bravío;
aló quedou, quisais, quisais por sempre;
tomba onde naide vai chorar, cobexa
amadas cinzas do que nós perdemos!...
I os tristes ventos i as caladas brisas
que os mortos aman si lexanos dormen
do patrio chan, a refrescarte veñen
do vran na noite calorosa, e traen
pra ti nas alas cariñosas queixas,
brandos suspiros, amorosos ecos,
algunha bágoa sin secar, que molla
a seca pedra do mausoleo frío,
do teu país algún perfume agreste.

¡Mais que fermosa e sin igual morada
lle coupo en sorte ós teus mortales restos!...
¡Quixera Dios que para ti non fora
nobre estranxeiro habitación allea!...
Que n'hai poeta, ensoñador esprito
non pode haber que ó contemprar no outono
o mar de seca amarillenta folla
que o teu mausoleo con amor cobexa;
que ó contemprar nas alboradas frescas
do mes de Maio as sonrosadas luces
que alegres sempre a visitarche venen,
non diga: «¡Asín cando eu morrer, poidera
dormir en paz neste xardín frorido,
preto do mar.. do cimeterio lonxe!...»

Que ti n'escoitas enjamás, ¡ouh, Moore!
Choros amargos, queixumbrosos rezos,
ni-os outros mortos a chamarte veñen,
pra que con eles na calada noite
a incerta danza dos sepulcros bailes.
Só doce alento do cogollo que abre,
da frol que mucha o postrimeiro adiose,
loucos rebuldos, infantiles risas
de lindos nenos que a esconderse veñen
sin medo a ti tras do sepulcro branco.
I algunha vez, ¡moitas quizais!, sospiros
de ardente amor que o vento leva donde
Dios sabe só...por sin igual compaña
dichoso tés na habitación postreira.
¡I o mar, o mar, o bravo mar que ruxe
cal ruxe aquel que te arrolou na cuna,
mora onda ti, vén a bicar as pedras
dun chan de amor que con amor te garda,
i arredor teu deixa crece-las rosas!...
¡Descansa en paz, descansa en paz, ouh, Moore!

E vós que o amás, do voso honor celosos,
fillos de Albión, permanecei tranquilos.
Terra fidalga é nosa terra—tanto
cal linda Dios a quixo dar—, ben sabe
honra facer a quen merece honra,
i honrado así, cal mereceu, foi Moore.
Soio n'está no seu sepulcro; un puebro
co seu respeto compasivo véla
polo estranxeiro a quen traidora morte
fixo fincar lonxe dos seus, i a alleos
vir a pedir o derradeiro asilo.

Cando do mar atravesés as ondas
i ó voso irmán a visitar vaiades,
poñé na tomba o cariñoso oído,
e se sentís rebuligar as cinzas
e se escoitás indefinibres voces
e se entendés o que esas voces digan,
a ialma vosa sentirá consolo.
¡El vos dirá que arrededor do mundo
tomba mellor que a que atopou n'achara
sinón dos seus antre o amoroso abrigo!

How far...how far from the sombre fogs,
From the green pines, from the seething waves
That saw him born! From the ancestral estates,
From the homeland's sky that caressed him with its light,
From the places alas! he cherished, how far...!
Came he to fall 'neath the enemy's blow
To never more rise, ill-starred!
To perish thus on alien strands,
To die so young, to leave life behind
Unfilled still of living and eager
To taste the fruit he would have tended!
And instead of the proud laurel wreath
That crowns the hero's manly head
To descend to the mute and silent grave...!

O white swans of the British Isles,
O copses that embroider courtly
The green banks of the tame rivers
And the fresh fields where John used to run!
If to you reached bitter the mournful sigh,
The parting thought of his transparent mind
Which sped to you
Bidding good-bye! with anxiety
And love entwined in the dying gasp—
With what heartache, with what inexpressible sorrow,
With what unmatched surprise you too must have said
Good-bye! to him who so distant, far-flung
From the homeland, lonely sank into eternity!

And the throne armchair, the unstirring curtain
Of the forever-relinquished bed,
The cold cinders of the unlit hearth,
The soft carpet that keeps faithfully
The visible print of the departed's footstep,
The dog that listens for the absent master
And seeks him out by errant untilled tracks,
The tall grasses of the shady boulevard
Where he used to stroll for solace,
The unchanging murmur of the spring
Beside which he'd sit in the afternoons...
How they would speak unceasingly of Moore
With their silent grieving language
To the eyes of those who for him were weeping!
Nevermore...nevermore alas! will he sad
Return to the place where they expect him!
He departed bold to strive for glory,
He left, he left...! And did not return
For death cut him low on foreign fields
Like the flower falls whose seed
Finds no earth to root on.

Poor John, you fell far from the tomb
Where you thought to rest with your own.
Your remains yet repose on foreign land
And they who loved you and remember still
On gazing upon the waves of the mistéd Ocean
Say pained from the native shore,
"He lies over there beyond this unruly sea,
There he was abandoned perhaps...perhaps forever.
A grave that no one weeps over shelters
The beloved ashes of the one we lost...!"
And the sorrowing winds and the silent breezes
(Delight of the dead who slumber far removed
From the native turf) come to cool you
In the summer's hot night and they bring
On their wings tender plaints,
Soft sighs, loving echoes,
An undried teardrop that bedews
The arid stone of the chilled sarcophagus,
Some sylvan perfume from your country.

Yet what unparalleled gorgeous abode
Fate bestowed on your mortal remains!
Would it please God that it weren't for you,
Noble stranger, an alien dwelling!
For there is no poet nor dreamer can there be
Who beholding in autumn
The sea of sere, yellowish leaf
That your mausoleum hosts lovingly—
Who watching in the cool dawns
Of the month of May the rosy lights
That come to visit you cheerily—
Does not say, "Thus, when I die, would I
Sleep peaceably in this flowery garden
By the sea...far from a graveyard!"

O Moore! You never hear
Bitter sobs or plaintive prayers
Nor do other dead come in the quiet night
Calling on you to join them
In the uncertain dance of the sepulchres.
Yours only the sweet breath of blooming buds,
The withering flower's parting good-bye,
The mad scamper and boisterous laughter
Of pretty children who come fearlessly
To hide behind the white sepulchre
And at times—many perhaps!—the sighs
Of burning love which the wind hauls away
To God only knows where...you have, fortunate one,
For unrivalled company in your final dwelling.
And the sea—the sea—the swollen sea that roars
As roars that other one which lulled you in the cradle—
Dwells here and washes ashore to kiss the stones
Of a land of love that watches over you fondly
And lets the roses about you burgeon...!
Rest in peace, rest in peace o Moore!

And you who love him, zealous for your honour,
Sons of Albion, rest at ease.
Our land is a land of country squires—as chivalrous
As it is pretty by God's brimming desire—
That well knows how to honour they who deserve it
And therefore honoured as he deserved was Moore.
He does not lie forsaken in his sepulchre,
A people cares with compassionate respect
For the foreigner whom treacherous death
Forced to stay far removed from his own
And to strangers come solicit the final haven.

When you cross over the waves of the sea
And you go to visit your brother
Press your ear to the tomb tenderly
And should you feel the ashes stirring—
Should you hear unfamiliar voices
And grasp what they are saying—
Your soul will be comforted.
He will tell you that nowhere in the world
Could he have found a better resting place
Save among his own by their loving embrace!




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Church of Bastavales

Source: Amaianos' photostream. flickr



2.   Bells of Bastabales     (Campanas de Bastabales)

(Cantares Gallegos, 1863)



Spelling Note

Another acceptable way of spelling Bastabales is Bastavales; the name derives from the Latin "vasta vallis" meaning "vast valley."



Typographical Error in the Original

Original line 1.5.1 reads, "Non me roubaron, traidores," which makes stanzas 1.5-1.6 say, "Treacherous loves sweetly mad alas! / Sweetly mad loves alas! / Did not abduct me. / For love has fled / And loneliness arrived... / Consuming me with grief." The statement is incongruous and begs the question, "Then who abducted the protagonist?" Changing one crucial vowel in line 1.5.1. clears up the confusion. What Rosalía de Castro wrote in fact was: "Non me roubaran, traidores," and the typesetter mistook the highlighted "a" for an "o" and the error is understandable because this video demonstrates that De Castro's caligraphy sometimes produced a's that look like o's when joined to a consonant.



Historical Background

De Castro was the daughter of Father José Martínez Viojo and María Teresa da Cruz de Castro e Abadía. Father Viojo was born in 1798 in the hamlet of Ortoño and he died at the age of seventy-three in the small parish of Iria Flavia on the outskirts of the town of Padrón which is 10 km away from Ortoño. María Teresa was born in 1804 in Iria Flavia and she died at the age of fifty-seven in the city of Santiago de Compostela, 20 km away.1 This family background explains why De Castro spent some time in Ortoño, Padrón and Santiago de Compostela.

The bells of Bastavales are audible in Ortoño which is 3 km away, but they are not audible in Padrón or in Santiago de Compostela. Hence De Castro must have lived in Ortoño long enough to retain a conscious remembrance of the bells. It is certain that she was cared for there until the age of four. Then she was sent to live with her mother and go to school in the town of Padrón. This poem certifies that she returned to Ortoño during the summer holidays and her frequent allusion to the river Sar testifies that the child had a wonderful time playing on its banks. Moreover the Viojo family hailed from Bastavales, guaranteeing that she went there on family visits to relatives. Indeed the conviction persists among some neighbours that De Castro eventually took up residence in Soigrexa a place located immediately downslope from the church (xensboy, uploader of a Youtube video entitled "The ringing bells of Bastavales in the summer of 2010" since removed).

Father Viojo and María Teresa kept seeing each other after the birth of their illegitimate daughter. He was a chaplain of the Collegiate Church of Iria Flavia, 2 km from Padrón where María Teresa lived. The following excerpt of a letter written in 1923 demonstrates that De Castro knew her father, the writer cites an aunt who was Father Viojo's niece,

When she [the writer's aunt] was 19 years old in the spring of 1859, my aunt returned from school at noon and as usual went into the house where she lived with her uncle, and she bumped into Rosalía chatting with her father in the living room. She retired prudently, it was the first time that she had seen her cousin. She told me that her first impression [of De Castro] was that of a good-enough girl, neither very pretty nor homely, tall and charming.2
The letter elucidates many things. For example the line "mill in the chestnut forest" of Adiós rios, adios fontes tabs the water mill owned by the Viojo family. It describes the chaplain as "tall, swarthy, plump, ironic and engaging," calling up the traditional portrayal of Friar Tuck. It discloses that María Teresa had intended to abandon De Castro in a baby-drop-off facility run by the church but that the father intervened and sent the newborn to Ortoño instead, under the care of a tailor named Lesteiro first and of Viojo's own family thereafter.

To plot the trip taken by the protagonist of the poem the reader must accept the premise that "yonder" (1.4.2-3) is Ortoño or more generally the valley known as Val da Mahía which encompasses both Ortoño and Bastavales. The protagonist no longer dwells there and she must cross hillocks to reach the valley (2.1.2). Where does she dwell now? Section V provides the important clue that the clouds rush toward her house (5.1.2-3) The usual direction of strong winds accompanied by cloudy weather in Val da Mahía is southwesterly or westerly. Therefore her home must lie east of Bastavales, be within walking distance and beyond a range of hills. The city of Santiago de Compostela is the only one of De Castro's known addresses that fits. Thus the poem depicts a journey from the city of Santiago de Compostela to the hamlet of Bastavales.

The poem has the following script. Section I voices De Castro's regret at having left Bastavales lured by her "treacherous, sweetly mad love" for Manuel Murguía. The couple married in Madrid in 1858 and settled down in Santiago de Compostela the following year.3 Section II starts her real or imagined walk from the city to her beloved hamlet. In sections III and IV the protagonist exults as she strolls toward Bastavales. Surprisingly she does not reach her destination. Nightfall finds her on the trail, seated on a small boulder, a cue that the trip is partly fictitious. Section V reflects De Castro's anguish at having been left alone in her new home. The neighbours are uncaring ("without a friend"), her husband is away ("for whom I live pining") and her mother dead ("everyone has departed").4 Under this script the Ave María of the last two stanzas is rung by the bells of St. James' Cathedral, an argument buttressed by the dashed line which splits the stanza and which adverts to a change of locale or to the excision of lines which are too revealing.


1 Xosé Docampo, Tito 11. Rosalía de Castro (nai das letras galegas). Xenealoxía.org. Investigando a historia familiar en Galicia.
2 Luis Tobío Fernández. Letter to Bouza-Brey. August 20, 1923. Historia Local de Ortoño e A Maía.
3 Manuel Murguía. Galician Wikipedia.
4 De Castro's mother died in Santiago de Compostela on June 24, 1862, suggesting that this sad, sad poem was written shortly afterwards.



Translator's Notes

"Campanas de Bastabales" as do most poems of "Cantares Gallegos" makes extensive use of the affectionate diminutive form peculiar to the Galician language—singular termination iña (feminine) or iño (masculine). Notice that not every word that ends in iña or iño is an affectionate diminutive.

All the words in "Campanas de Bastabales" that end in iña or iño are listed below together with a range of possible translations and a short explanation of the choice that was made. Galician affectionate diminutives lend the translator an opportunity to add alliteration, internal rhyme and lyrical sharpness to the text. The objective is to find the best adjective, adverb or noun which conveys small size, frailty, concern or endearment depending on the context. This objective ends in a personal choice when more than one translation is available as is often the case. Sometimes an affectionate diminutive is best ignored because the context is unclear, because the extra term jars the smooth flow of the translation or because it makes the text too syrupy. The exercise can be fun, difficult and challenging. The extra work is worthwhile because it offers the English reader an approximation to what De Castro called "those tender words and those idioms never forgotten which sounded so sweet to my ears since the cradle and which were gathered up by my heart as its own heritage."

Explanation of some words, terms or expressions

Soidades (refrain, line 3). The best translation may be "to have the blues." Soidá, saudade is dejection triggered by solitude, separation or frustration. At the beginning of the poem "soidades" bespeaks her longing to see Bastavales, at the close her loneliness.

As laradas das casiñas (5.3.2). It was customary to kindle a small blaze (larada) by the gate of a house to protect the place from evil spirits or natural dangers.1 The video with the compound title "Amancio Prada...This song recites section V" found in the next section shows a modern larada on min. 0:53-1:18.

The call of the Ave María (5.3.6). That is the Angelus which was rung three times a day: 6:00 AM, noon and 6:00 PM.


1 Marisol Filgueira Bouza. "5 Rituales como terapéuticos: El duelo, el Carnaval, las tribus urbanas, la noche de San Juan, y los ritos populares y grupos terapéuticos." PDF file.



Musical Adaptation

Troubadour and songwriter Amancio Prada arranged sections I, III and V of the poem (first three entries).

The Casablanca Choir covers Prada's arrangement of section I on the fourth entry and Mary C. Otero Rolle covers it on the fifth.

Coral De Ruada performs a mélange of stanzas from sections I, II and V under a different arrangement on the sixth entry.

Soprano María Orán and the Extremadura Symphony Orchestra deliver an operatic version of section I last.

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Amancio Prada, María del Mar Bonet and the Galicia Symphony Orchestra from the 1997 album Rosas a Rosalía. This song recites section I

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Amancio Prada from the 1991 album Trovadores, Místicos y Románticos. This song recites section III

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Amancio Prada from the 1991 album Trovadores, Místicos y Románticos. This song recites section V

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Casablanca Choir

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Mary C. Otero Rolle

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Coral De Ruada (Note: the recital starts on min. 0:30)

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María Orán and the Extremadura Symphony Orchestra




Campanas de Bastabales,
cando vos oio tocar,
mórrome de soidades
.

I

Cando vos oio tocar,
campaniñas, campaniñas,
sin querer torno a chorar.

Cando de lonxe vos oio,
penso que por min chamades,
e das entrañas me doio.

Dóiome de dor ferida,
que antes tiña vida enteira,
i hoxe teño media vida.

Solo media me deixaron
os que de aló me trouxeron,
os que de aló me roubaron.

Non me roubaran, traidores,
¡ai!, uns amores toliños,
¡ai!, uns toliños amores.

Que os amores xa fuxiron,
as soidades viñeron...
de pena me consumiron.

II

Aló pola mañanciña
subo enriba dos outeiros,
lixeiriña, lixeiriña.

Como unha craba lixeira,
para oír das campaniñas
a batalada pirmeira.

A pirmeira da alborada
que me traen os airiños
por me ver máis consolada.

Por me ver menos chorosa,
nas súas alas ma traen
rebuldeira e queixumbrosa.

Queixumbrosa e retembrando
por antre a verde espesura,
por antre o verde arborado.

E pola verde pradeira,
por riba da veiga llana,
rebuldeira e rebuldeira.

III

Paseniño, paseniño,
vou pola tarde calada,
de Bastabales camiño.

Camiño do meu contento;
i en tanto o sol non se esconde,
nunha pedriña me sento.

E sentada estou mirando
como a lúa vai saíndo,
como o sol se vai deitando.

Cal se deita, cal se esconde,
mentras tanto corre a lúa
sin saberse para donde.

Para donde vai tan soia,
sin que aos tristes que a miramos
nin nos fale, nin nos oia.

Que si oíra e nos falara,
moitas cousas lle dixera,
moitas cousas lle contara.

IV

Cada estrela, o seu diamante;
cada nube, branca pruma;
triste a lúa marcha diante.

Diante marcha crarexando
veigas, prados, montes, ríos,
donde o día vai faltando.

Falta o día, e noite escura
baixa, baixa pouco a pouco,
por montañas de verdura.

De verdura e de follaxe,
salpicada de fontiñas
baixo a sombra do ramaxe.

Do ramaxe donde cantan
paxariños piadores
que ca aurora se levantan.

Que ca noite se adormecen
para que canten os grilos
que cas sombras aparecen.

V

Corre o vento, o río pasa;
corren nubes, nubes corren
camiño da miña casa.

Miña casa, meu abrigo:
vanse todos, eu me quedo
sin compaña, nin amigo.

Eu me quedo contemprando
as laradas das casiñas
por quen vivo suspirando.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Ven a noite..., morre o día,
as campanas tocan lonxe
o tocar da Ave María.

Elas tocan pra que rece;
eu non rezo, que os saloucos,
afogándome parece
que por min tén que rezar.

Campanas de Bastabales,
cando vos oio tocar,
mórrome de soidades
.

Bells of Bastabales,
I die of longing
Whenever I hear you ring
.

I

When I hear you ring,
Dear bells, dear bells,
Without intending to I weep again.

When I hear you afar
I fancy that you are calling me
And it hurts me deep inside.

I hurt wounded by pain
For I was fully alive then
And half alive today.

Just half alive left me they
Who brought me over from yonder,
Who abducted me yonder.

Would that treacherous loves sweetly mad alas!
Sweetly mad loves alas!
Had not abducted me.

For love has fled
And loneliness arrived...
Consuming me with grief.

II

In the early morning hours
I go up the hillocks
Fleet-footed, fleet-footed.

Fleet-footed like a she-goat
To hear the first clang
Of the dear bells.

The dawn's first which
Kind breezes carry
To see me more comforted.

On their wings they fetch it,
Stirring and groaning,
To see me less tearful.

Groaning and reverberating
Through the green thickets,
Through the green groves.

And over the green prairie,
Over the flat lowland,
Stirring and stirring.

III

Leisurely, leisurely
I make my way to Bastabales
In the quiet afternoon.

Path of my delight—
And while the sun doesn't hide
I sit on a small boulder.

And seated I am watching
How the moon keeps rising,
How the sun keeps declining.

How it lies low, how it hides.
Meanwhile the moon races
To no one knows where.

Where does she head to so alone
Without speaking or listening to us
Sad ones who gaze up at her?

For if she heard and talked to us
Many things I'd say to her,
Many things I'd tell her.

IV

The moon marches on, forlorn,
Each star her diamond,
Each cloud a white feather.

She marches on brightening
Lowlands, grazing fields, hills, streams,
Where the daylight is fading.

It's the close of day and the dark night
Descends, descends little by little
Down mountains of greenery.

Of greenery and leafage
Besprinkled with dear fountains
Beneath the shade of the foliage.

Of the foliage where sing
Little chirping birds
That rise with the dawn.

That fall asleep at night
To let the crickets which
Emerge with the shadows sing.

V

By rushes the wind, the river flows by,
By rush the clouds, the clouds rush by
On their way to my house.

My house, my shelter:
Everyone departs, I'm left
Without company or friend.

I'm left watching
The guardian fires of the small houses
For whom I live pining.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Night arrives...the day dies,
The bells ring in the distance
The call of the Ave María.

They call me to prayer—
I don't pray—the sobs
Choking me, it seems,
Must pray on my behalf.

Bells of Bastabales,
I die of loneliness
Whenever I hear you ring
.




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Two Galician dolls

Source: Todo Colección



3.   Black Carnation     (Quíxente tanto, meniña)

(Cantares Gallegos, 1863)



Translator's Notes

"Quíxente tanto, meniña" contains the four affectionate diminutives listed below. Galician affectionate diminutives bring the opportunity to add alliteration, internal rhyme and lyrical sharpness to the text. The task for the translator is to discover the best adjective, adverb or noun which conveys smallness, frailty, concern or affection depending on the context.

Explanation of some words, terms or expressions

On the lovely way to San Lois (2.2). Today San Lois is part of Pontecesures, a town of 3,136 inhabitants (2011) situated 3.4 kilometers south of Padrón beside the river Ulla. The economic mainstays of Pontecesures and the surrounding region are dairy farming and sea lamprey fishing.

Yet when the river I crossed (3.7). The river Ulla.



Musical Adaptation

Raquel Pato composed a short piano piece for this poem (Ms. Pato is Head of the Music Department at IES As Lagoas in Ourense). Her composition was recorded by singer Rosa Cedrón and musician Cristina Pato in the 2010 album Soas.

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Rosa Cedrón and Cristina Pato on Galician TV (2010)




"Quíxente tanto, meniña
tívenche tan grande amor,
que para min eras lúa,
branca aurora e craro sol;
augua limpa en fresca fonte,
rosa do xardín de Dios,
alentiño do meu peito,
vida do meu corazón."

Así che falín un día
caminiño de San Lois,
todo oprimido de angustia,
todo ardente de pasión,
mentras que ti me escoitabas
depinicando unha frol,
porque eu non vise os teus ollos
que refrexaban traiciós.

Dempois que si me dixeches,
en proba de teu amor
décheme un caraveliño
que gardín no corazón.
¡Negro caravel maldito,
que me fireu de dolor!
Mais a pasar polo río,
¡o caravel afondou!...
Tan bo camiño ti leves
como o caravel levou.

"I loved you so much, lassie,
I had for you such great love
That you were to me the moon,
The white dawn and bright sun,
Clean water from fresh fountain,
Rose of God's garden,
The cherished breath of my chest,
The life of my heart."

Thus I wooed you one day
On the lovely way to San Lois
Entirely burdened with anguish,
Entirely burning with passion,
While you listened
Picking apart a flower
So I wouldn't spy the reflection
Of deception in your eye.

After answering, "Yes,"
You handed me a fair carnation
As confirmation of your love
Which I kept in my heart—
Damned black carnation
That pierced me with pain!—
Yet when the river I crossed
The carnation dropped and sank...!
May you keep to as good a route
As the carnation took.




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Dead baby

Source: Archivo Ramón Caamaño Bentín. Fotos: "El retrato y la muerte." Mediateca de RTVE.es, retrieved 4 Nov 2013



4.   Black Shadow     (Negra Sombra)

(Follas Novas, 1880)



Theme

The poem reflects De Castro's apprehension at the recurrence of sudden misfortune in her life.



Historical Background

"Negra Sombra" was probably written after two of De Castro's babies died a short time apart. Twenty-month-old Adrian died from a fall in November of 1876 and Valentina was stillborn three months later (Marina Mayoral. "Biografía de Rosalía de Castro." Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes).



Translator's Notes

Negra sombra que me asombras (1.2) and Sombra que sempre me asombras (4.4). The verb asombrar has four definitions in the Galician language: (1) To give shade. (2) To instill dread or fear; to haunt. (3) To amaze, to astound. (4) To be amazed or to be astounded. Only the first two are appropriate here, De Castro dreads the recurrence of sudden misfortune, an apprehension clearly expressed in her poem A Disgracia (poem 7). Therefore these two lines could equally well be translated, "Black shadow that haunts me" (1.2) and "Shadow that always haunts me" (4.4).

At the foot of my head pillows (1.3). Almost certainly depicts the laying of Valentina's dead body on the pillow beside the mother after giving birth (illustration). An earlier translation, To the hem of my head pillows, is more beautiful poetically because of its alliteration but a little less precise: it admits of mental distress for any other motive.

From the very sun you taunt me (2.2). The literal translation is "On the very sun you show yourself to me" but this sentence is awkward and foils the ambition of preserving the poem's meter and musicality. The chosen translation transmits the emotional pitch spot-on and molds the English text to the arrangement of Juan Montes Capón.

And you are the river's rumour (3.3). The literal translation is "And you are the river's murmur" but this option forfeits the alliteration present in the Galician "marmurio do río" which the chosen translation reproduces somewhat.

And the night and the dawn (3.4). The literal translation is "And you are the night and you are the dawn." The removal of the inflection better adapts the translation to the melody of Capón.



Musical Adaptation

The Provincial Museum of Lugo holds the score of the musical adaptation of "Negra Sombra"; the sheet of music dates from 1890-1892.

This poem, "Negra Sombra," became one of the most emblematic Galician ballads ever when composer Juan Montes Capón fused it with an alalá written down in Cruz do Incio (Lugo). The musical arrangement had its debut in Havana's Grand Theatre in 1892. The ballad is arguably one of the most beautiful and principal in the Galician repertoire; its lyrics so blend with the melody that it is no longer possible to conceive them apart.

(Apuntes de "Negra Sombra." Casavaria)

Many artists have interpreted this ballad, eleven selections are offered below.

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Baritone Antonio Campó (vintage recording)

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Antoñita Moreno from the 1965 album Ronda de España

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Pucho Boedo and Los Tamara from the 1974 album Miña Galicia Verde

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Milladoiro from the 1989 album Castellum Honesti (Celtic)

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Reviravolta from the 1997 album O Miño Non Pasa Por Escocia

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Manoele de Felisa from the 1999 album Orballo

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Luz Casal and Carlos Núñez from the soundtrack of the 2004 movie Mar Adentro

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Najla Shami from the 2013 album Na Lingua que Eu Falo

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Fadista María do Ceo

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Orfeón Donostiarra and the Orquesta Clásica del Reino de Aragón

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Sung in the Catalan language by María del Mar Bonet




Cando penso que te fuches,
negra sombra que me asombras,
ó pé dos meus cabezales
tornas facéndome mofa.

Cando maxino que es ida,
no mesmo sol te me amostras,
i eres a estrela que brila,
i eres o vento que zoa.

Si cantan, es ti que cantas,
si choran, es ti que choras,
i es o marmurio do río
i es a noite i es a aurora.

En todo estás e ti es todo,
pra min i en min mesma moras,
nin me abandonarás nunca,
sombra que sempre me asombras.

When I think that you have parted,
Black shadow that overshades me,
At the foot of my head pillows
You return making fun of me.

When I fancy that you've gone,
From the very sun you taunt me
And you are the star that shines
And you are the wind that moans.

If there's singing it's you who sings,
If there's weeping it's you who weeps
And you are the river's rumour
And the night and the dawn.

Everywhere you are in everything,
For and within me you live
Nor will you ever leave me,
Shadow that always shades me.





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Leaving Galicia from A Coruña (1955)

Source: Memoria Gráfica de la Emigración Española. Secretaría de Estado de Inmigración y Emigración (p. 44)



5.   Good-Bye Rivers, Good-Bye Fountains     (Adiós ríos, adios fontes)

(Cantares Gallegos, 1863)



Theme

"Good-bye rivers, good-bye fountains" recounts the drama of those forced to emigrate by the crisis of 1850-1860.



Historical Background

Apparently due to unusually cold winters throughout the decade of 1850-1860 and due to the prevalence of subsistence agriculture many family farms of Galicia went bankrupt.

The weather of the decade is sometimes likened to a mini Ice Age. In 1850 there was notable snowfall over much of Spain and by February a large number of wolves roamed the countryside. In 1853 the Galician port cities of Ferrol and A Coruña reported heavy snowfall in February. On February 14, 1854, Madrid registered a minimum temperature of -8°C. January 1855 was again very cold and snowy over northern Spain. The following winter was especially hard,

Official reports in the official bulletin of the Spanish government highlighted the frostiness of the winter. From Puigcerdá (Girona), "For more than a month the countryside has been snow-covered." From Biscay, "As a consequence of the copious snows that have fallen over our region during the past days, especially on the peaks of the Valley of Carranza, there has appeared down in the valley a strong pack of wolves that is inflicting great losses on herds of sheep and cattle." Announcements of planned wolf culls were numerous during those cold days of 1857...the snow fell over all of northern Spain from Galicia to Catalonia. The province of Santander had by the fourth of February spent three months cut off from the interior, completely snowed in. "No one remembers such a prolonged spell of bad weather."

("Olas de frío, entradas frías y temporales de nieve en España 1830-1985." Meteored)

To compound the problem the main domestic industry also went into crisis.
From the second half of the nineteenth century onward Galicia's textile industry suffered a severe crisis brought on by the legal importation and the smuggling in of foreign fabrics, and many families endured hardship because there was no alternate source of employment. To make matters worse, the agricultural sector went into crisis between the years 1850-1860, destabilizing the rural economy. The composite crisis forced the population to look for a better life overseas.

("La emigración española en el periódico la Voz de Galicia en el año 1913." El Rincón del Vago)

The economic downturn accelerated the exodus.
There is evidence of a strong current of emigration from the year 1810 to 1853 that is difficult to quantify because the Spanish government did not condone emigration officially. Consequently some authors refer to this obscure period as the period of clandestine emigration.

But from 1836 onward Spain began to grant official recognition to her newly independent colonies. Mexico was the first former colony to be recognized in 1836 and Uruguay, Chile and Argentina followed soon thereafter. As a result emigration intensified…In December of 1836 there appeared the first commercial advertisement offering transatlantic passage aboard the General Laborde from A Coruña to Montevideo, Buenos Aires and other destinations in Mar del Plata. The offer of transatlantic crossings increased progressively. The majority of the crossings was made on sailing ships. In 1850 the brigantine Juan departed from Carril advertised as a first-class steamer. Relatively reliable data suggest that 93,040 Galicians left between the years 1836 and 1860.

The Spanish government legalized emigration in 1853, and this made the count reliable: 122,875 people left Galicia between the years 1860-1880.

(André Solla. "A emigración galega a América")

The proportion of people leaving was staggering. The census of 1857 gave a count of 1,776,879 inhabitants for the region. Therefore, according to all these figures, over 12% of the population left Galicia during the period 1836-1880.

Emigration Ballads of Galicia and Portugal

Four emblematic ballads garland the 19th century exodus from Galicia, among them "Este Vaise i Aquel Vaise" by Rosalía de Castro. This ballad became popular in neighbouring Portugal under the title "Cantar de Emigração" set to music by José Niza and first sung by Adriano Correia de Oliveira (track 1 of his 1970 LP "Cantaremos").

The considerable popularity of "Cantar de Emigração" vouches for the common linguistic, cultural and historical bonds of Galicia and Portugal as well as for the shared experience of massive emigration,

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Uma Moça Chorava

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O Emigrante

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O Pensar de um Emigrante

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Ó Galiza, Minha Terra

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Balada do Emigrante



Translator's Notes

This sentimental poem makes use of the affectionate diminutive form peculiar to the Galician language profusely. The affectionate diminutive has the singular termination iña (feminine) or iño (masculine). However not every word that ends in iña or iño is an affectionate diminutive.

All the words in "Adiós rios, adios fontes" that end in iña or iño are listed below together with an explanation of the translation made where needed. Galician affectionate diminutives offer the translator an opportunity to add alliteration, internal rhyme and lyrical sharpness to the text. Usually there is no one rigorous translation of an affectionate diminutive; consequently the goal is to select the best adjective, adverb or noun which conveys smallness, frailty, concern or affection, depending on the context, and which simultaneously embellishes the poem in the translator's eyes.

Explanation of some words, terms or expressions

Virxe da Asunción (8.1, 8.5). The Spanish religious icon known as Our Lady of the Assumption the patron saint of the city of Elche (Alicante).

Pomar1 (9.2). Also known as Pumar it is a hamlet in the municipality of Urdilde, county Rois, some 20 kilometers from Santiago de Compostela. It was so small that one local ditty chaffed it with these words, "Although from a distance the hamlet of Pumar looks like a town it has but a carnation on the way in and a rose on the way out." Another ditty is more generous, "They say that Pumar is uncomely because its houses do not have balconies, yet it has pretty girls who steal away hearts."2


1 Notice the small church and its belfry almost dead center of the Panoramio photograph. Zoom in for a closer look.
2 Cantigas de Parroquias e Aldeas de Urdilde. Xunta de Galicia.



Musical Adaptation

Composer Joaquín Rodrigo arranged the first four stanzas of "Adiós rios, adios fontes" to create the third movement of his "Rosaliana" score for soprano and orchestra. The piece is performed below by soprano Raquel Lojendio accompanied by the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra (first entry).

Pucho Boedo and Los Tamara made the second musical adaptation of the poem (second entry).

Troubadour and songwriter Amancio Prada wrote a third melody and recorded his solo version in 1975. Twenty-two years later he sang it accompanied by the Galicia Symphony Orchestra (fourth entry). Uruguayan singer Cristina Fernández covers his composition on the third entry, singer-songwriter Manoele de Felisa covers it on the fifth and Lucía Pérez on the sixth.

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Raquel Lojendio and the Principality of Asturias Symphony Orchestra

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Pucho Boedo and Los Tamara from the 1970 album Na Fermosa Galicia

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Cristina Fernández from the 1983 album Falade Galego

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Amancio Prada and the Galicia Symphony Orchestra from the 1997 album Rosas a Rosalía

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Manoele de Felisa from the 1999 album Orballo

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Lucía Pérez from the 2009 album Volar Por los Tejados

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Joan Baez at the García Barbón Theater in Vigo (Spain) on March 5, 2010

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Julia Martínez Sánchez

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Xosé Torres



Recital

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Los Hijos de La Casa Grande (min. 6:35 onward)




Adiós, ríos; adios, fontes;
adios, regatos pequenos;
adios, vista dos meus ollos:
non sei cando nos veremos.

Miña terra, miña terra,
terra donde me eu criei,
hortiña que quero tanto,
figueiriñas que prantei,
prados, ríos, arboredas,
pinares que move o vento,
paxariños piadores,
casiña do meu contento,
muíño dos castañares,
noites craras de luar,
campaniñas trimbadoras,
da igrexiña do lugar,
amoriñas das silveiras
que eu lle daba ó meu amor,
caminiños antre o millo,
¡adios, para sempre adios!

¡Adios groria! ¡Adios contento!
¡Deixo a casa onde nacín,
deixo a aldea que conozo
por un mundo que non vin!

Deixo amigos por estraños,
deixo a veiga polo mar,
deixo, en fin, canto ben quero...
¡Quen pudera non deixar!...

Mais son probe e, ¡mal pecado!,
a miña terra n'é miña,
que hastra lle dan de prestado
a beira por que camiña
ó que naceu desdichado.

Téñovos, pois, que deixar,
hortiña que tanto amei,
fogueiriña do meu lar,
arboriños que prantei,
fontiña do cabañar.

Adios, adios, que me vou,
herbiñas do camposanto,
donde meu pai se enterrou,
herbiñas que biquei tanto,
terriña que nos criou.

Adios Virxe da Asunción,
branca como un serafín;
lévovos no corazón:
Pedídelle a Dios por min,
miña Virxe da Asunción.

Xa se oien lonxe, moi lonxe,
as campanas do Pomar;
para min, ¡ai!, coitadiño,
nunca máis han de tocar.

Xa se oien lonxe, máis lonxe,
Cada balada é un dolor;
voume soio, sin arrimo...
¡Miña terra, ¡adios!, ¡adios!

¡Adios tamén, queridiña!...
¡Adios por sempre quizais!...
Dígoche este adios chorando
desde a beiriña do mar.

Non me olvides, queridiña,
si morro de soidás...
tantas légoas mar adentro...
¡Miña casiña!,¡meu lar!

Good-bye rivers, good-bye fountains,
Good-bye little rills,
Good-bye view of my eyes:
Don't know when we'll see each other.

Sod of mine, sod of mine,
Sod where I was raised,
Small orchard I love so,
Dear fig trees that I planted...
Meadows, streams, groves,
Stands of pine swayed by the wind,
Little chirping birds,
Darling cottage of my joy...
Mill in the chestnut forest,
Clear nights of brilliant moonlight,
Cherished ringing bells
Of the tiny parish church,
Blackberries in the brambles
That I used to give my love,
Narrow footpaths through the cornfields...
Good-bye, for ever good-bye!

Good-bye heaven! Good-bye happiness!
I leave the house of my birth,
I leave the hamlet that I know
For a world I haven't seen!

I leave friends for strangers,
I leave the lowland for the sea,
I leave, in short, what I well love.
Would I didn't have to go!

But I am poor and—base sin!—
My sod is not my own
For even the shoulder of the road
Is loaned out to the wayfarer
Who was born star-crossed.

I must therefore leave you,
Small orchard I loved so,
Beloved fireplace of home,
Dear trees that I planted,
Favorite spring of the livestock.

Good-bye, good-bye, I'm leaving,
Hallowed blades of the churchyard
Where my father lies buried,
Saintly blades I kissed so much,
Dear land that brought us up.

Good-bye Virxe da Asunción
White as a seraph,
I carry you in my heart.
Plead with God on my behalf,
Virxe da Asunción of mine.

Far, very far away hear
The church bells of Pomar.
For hapless me alas!
They will never ring again.

Hear them afar...farther away...
Every peal deals out pain.
I part alone without a friend,
Good-bye land of mine, good-bye!

Farewell to you too, little darling...!
Farewell forever perhaps...!
I send you this farewell crying
From the precious coastline.

Don't forget me, little darling,
If I should die of loneliness.
So many leagues out to sea...
My dear house! My home!




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Purple foxgloves

Source: Luis Guitian. No balcon do Sil



6.   I Was Born When the Seedlings Sprout     (Nasín cando as prantas nasen)

(Cantares Gallegos, 1863)



Is There a Typographical Error in the Original?

María del Carmen Sánchez Martínez below recites "mouro" instead of "Mauro" (4.1). A "mouro" in Galician folklore is a member of a legendary prehistoric race of giants who moved and set up huge boulders on the hilltops and who built underground tunnels, caverns and palaces housing immense riches. The possible typographical error in the original is made more plausible by the fact that a hill surrounding Val da Mahia and bordering on Bastavales has a flat top called Eira dos Mouros (Field of the Mouros).

Vowel substitution was necessary on line 1.5.1 of the poem "Campanas de Bastabales" (archived poem #2). In this poem a reverse substitution would make line 4.1 read, "¿De que, pois, te queixas, mouro?" and the word "mouro" would be a colloquialism for "Neanderthal."



Translator's Note

"Nasín cando as prantas nasen" belongs to the 1863 tome of poetry Cantares Gallegos. Uncharacteristically "Nasín cando as prantas nasen" employs the affectionate diminutive once only.



Musical Adaptation

Galician-Argentinian composer and violinist Andrés Gaos Berea (b. 1874, d. 1959) set "Nasín cando as prantas nasen" to music under the title "Rosa de Abril" (April Rose). Soprano María Bayo and the Galicia Symphony Orchestra and Choir performed the piece as part of the 2007 Christmas Concert in the city of A Coruña (first entry).

Soprano Cristina Gallardo-Domâs and the Gaos Orchestra cover the composition on the second entry.

The Galician folk group Madialeva wrote its own melody (third entry).

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María Bayo and the Galicia Symphony Orchestra and Choir

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Cristina Gallardo-Domâs and the Gaos Orchestra

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Madialeva from the 2004 album Rúa Aberta



Recital

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María del Carmen Sánchez Martínez (Centro Gallego de Palma de Mallorca)




Nasín cando as prantas nasen,
no mes das froles nasín,
nunha alborada mainiña,
nunha alborada de abril.

Por eso me chaman Rosa,
mais a do triste sorrir,
con espiñas para todos,
sin ningunha para ti.

Desque te quixen, ingrato,
todo acabou para min,
que eras ti para min todo,
miña groria e meu vivir.

¿De que, pois, te queixas, Mauro?
¿De que, pois, te queixas, di,
cando sabes que morrera
por te contemplar felís?

Duro cravo me encravaches
con ese teu maldesir,
con ese teu pedir tolo
que non sei que quer de min,
pois dinche canto dar puden
avariciosa de ti.

O meu corasón che mando
cunha chave para o abrir,
nin eu teño máis que darche,
nin ti máis que me pedir
.

I was born when the seedlings sprout,
In the month of the flowers was I born,
On a gentle, gentle dawn
With the first light of an April morn.

That is why they call me Rose,
Yet she of the wry smile,
With thorns to offer everyone,
With none to offer you.

From the day I loved you, ingrate,
Everything for me ended
For you were all to me:
My life and my bliss.

What then, Mauro, do you grumble about?
What, say, can you complain of
When you know that I would even die
To see you happy in my eyes?

With a hard spike you nailed me,
With those curses of yours,
With your insane demands
That urge I know not what of me
Since I gave you what I could give,
Greedy for you.

My heart I send to you
With a key that unlocks it:
No more have I to give to you
Nor you more to ask of me
.




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Wreck in the Moonlight by Caspar David Friedrich

Source: Caspar David Friedrich



7.   Misfortune     (A Disgracia)

(Follas Novas, 1880)




¿Por qué existe? ¿Quen é? ¿Donde a soberba
morada tén? ¿Arteira, en donde habita?
Sono lixeiro ou pasaxeira nube
pra moitos é, que a penas deixa rastro.
Outros os golpes alevosos sinten
que lles asesta con negra traidoría
dende o comenzo ó fin da vida escrava.
Pero n'a ven, anque a mirada tendan
arrededor, para evitaren, cautos
o seu bafo pestífero, n'atopan
no espazo, nin na terra, nin no mare,
anque ela en todo está sempre dañina.

O mal do inferno é fillo, o ben do ceo;
a disgracia ¿de quen? Loba que nunca
farta se ve, que o seu furor redobra
da fonda frida, á vista ensangrentada,
¿De donde vén?, ¿que quer?, ¿por que a consintes,

potente Dios, que os nosos males miras?
¿Non ves, Señor, que o seu poder afoga
a fe i o amor no esprito que en ti fía?
¡Como endurece o corazón que un tempo
era todo brandura! ¡Como mata
da espranza a luz, que un resprandor tranquilo
nos astros derramaba da existencia,
nova forza prestando ó pé cansado
e máis valor á ialma temerosa!
Todo o mucha ó seu paso, a pranta súa
maldita todo para sempre estraga.
Todo a súa lama pegaxosa entrubia.
¡E que oco tan profundo fai en torno
daquel a quen persigue! ¡Como fuxen
as xentes del pra non oír os laios
que o seu penar lle arrinca, ou a espantosa
brasfemia que con labio balbucente
a sí mesmo mordéndose prenuncia!
Que apestado n'existe nesta vida
que tanto horror á humanidade cause
como o que da disgracia vai tocado.

E como non, se o ben contra el se volve!
Se o mesmo sol non loce onde el habita,
se a fonte onde beber envenenada
decote está, se o pan se volve asentes
para seu paladar, i o mar sin fondo
enxoito nun instante se quedara
se el na onda amarga se afogar quixera;
¡e nos brazos da morte que aborrece,
a mesma morte o deixa abandonado!

¡Ah, piedade, Señor! ¡Varre esa sombra
que en noite eterna para sempre envolve
a luz da fé, do amor e da esperanza!
¡Sombra de horror que os astros briladores
escurece dos ceos, que un novo inferno
neste mundo formou, e un mundo novo,
donde todo valor perde os seu bríos
e toda forza sin loitar se estrela,
onde as tinebras da impiedá, estendidas,
borran todo camino que a ti guíe!

¡Dios de bondá, co teu potente sopro,
de nós aparta ese fantasma horribre
que a desesperazón dá por remate;
pois xa abasta cas dores, ca miseria
da carne fraca e coa infalibre morte
pra tormento e castigo dos que, tristes
porque pecaron, viven desterrados
da patria celestial por que suspiran!

Why does she exist? Who is she? Does she dwell
Where pride dwells? A rogue, where does she live?
She is for many a light sleep
Or a passing cloud that leaves hardly a trace,
Others feel the deceitful blows
Dealt in black treachery
From start to finish of a toilsome life,
But none see her though they glance
Round about warily to avoid
Her pestilent vapour, they don't discover her
In the cosmos or on land or at sea
Though she is everywhere always harmful.

Evil is hell's offspring, goodness heaven's,
Misfortune whose? Fae that is never
Satisfied—who redoubles her fury
At the bloodied sight of the deep wound—
Where does she come from? What does she want?
        Why do you indulge her,
Mighty God who gaze upon our woes?
Do you not realize, Lord, that her force strangles
Faith and love in the spirit who trusts in you?
How she hardens the heart which was
Once all gentleness! How she snuffs out
The light of hope which decanted a tranquil luster
Of existence on the heavenly bodies
Lending new vigor to the weary step
And greater courage to the fearful soul!
Everything wilts where she treads, her accursed
Sole ruins everything for evermore,
Her sticky mire muddles everything
And what a deep hole she digs around
Whom she badgers! How people flee from him
To eschew hearing the complaints
His grief brings out or the terrible
Blasphemy which with halting lip—
Biting himself—he utters!
There is no one so shunned in this life,
Who causes so much horror to mankind,
As he who is beleaguered by calamity.

And how not so if goodness opposes him!
If the very sun shines not where he lodges,
If the drinking fountain is always poisoned,
If the bread tastes like wormwood on his palate
And the sea would drain in a moment
Were he wont to drown
In its bitter wave
And even in the arms of detested death
Death herself disowns him!

Ah, have mercy, Lord! Sweep away that shadow
Which for evermore shrouds in endless night
The light of faith—of love and of hope!
Shade of horror which dims the shining bodies
Of the heavens, which shaped a new hell
In this world and a new world where
All courage loses its pluck
And all strength crumbles without a struggle—
Where the darkness of far-flung callousness
Erases every path that leads to you!

God of kindness, push away from us
With your powerful blast that horrible spectre
Which ultimately drives to despair.
More than suffice already the pains, the misery
Of the weak flesh and of unavoidable death
To punish and torment they who saddened
Because they sinned live in exile
From the heavenly home that they sigh for!




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Pauper by Hans Baluschek, 1920

Source: Josillou. Hans Baluschek, pintor alemán



8.   My Sweet Kitchen Maid     (Miña carrapucheiriña)

(Cantares Gallegos, 1863)



Translator's Notes

Conventional etymology holds that the word "carrapucheira" comes from "cara" (face) and "pulchra" (beautiful) hence "beautiful face." I submit that the word is more likely a contraction of "carrea" (carries) and "pucheiros" (pots) hence a "pot-carrier," a kitchen maid. This opinion agrees with the slant of the traditional quatrain reproduced below whose first two lines are the italicized closing lines of De Castro's poem,

Heiche de tocalas cunchas,
miña carrapucheiriña,
heiche de tocalas cunchas
anque sea na cociña.1

"Miña carrapucheiriña" belongs to the 1863 tome of poetry Cantares Gallegos. Like every one of the 11 poems on the home page, "Miña carrapucheiriña" makes liberal use of the affectionate diminutive form peculiar to the Galician language. This form ends in iña (feminine) or iño (masculine), but not every word with these endings is an affectionate diminutive.

All the words in "Miña carrapucheiriña" that end in iña or iño are listed below together with an explanation of the translation made. Galician affectionate diminutives offer the translator an opportunity to add alliteration, internal rhyme and lyrical sharpness to the text. Usually there is no one rigorous translation of an affectionate diminutive. A translator then picks the adjective, adverb or noun which conveys smallness, frailty, concern or affection, depending on the context, and which simultaneously pleases him (or her) most.

Explanation of some words, terms or expressions

Gárdevos Santa Mariña (2.2). Most likely the Galician St. Marina de Aguas Santas.2

Yet clear pupils has lent you till now blessed Saint Lucy (8.2-4). St. Lucy is the patron saint of the blind.3

Ring out the Ave Marías (13.10). That is the Angelus which was rung three times a day: 6:00 AM, noon and 6:00 PM.

I will rub the seashells together (15.17). A percussion accompaniment, e.g. to min. 1:00 and min. 1:15-1:29 of this video.


1 Xoaquín Lorenzo Fernández. "Cantigueiro popular da Limia Baixa." Vigo: Fundación Galaxia, 1973.
2 Marina de Aguas Santas. Spanish Wikipedia.
3 La Navidad de El Almanaque.



Folklore

"Miña carrapucheiriña" three times mentions a respected, sometimes feared, figure of the Galician countryside, the meiga (10.8, 12.13-14, 13.4): witch or sorceress. Sometimes she is a benevolent figure, beautiful, desirable, who shares her knowledge of herbal remedies, psychology and magical powers of healing. At other times she is ugly, fearsome and evil, feared for her curses and for her ability to cast spells. Today the "meiga" is broadly speaking a lovable character of the past, and so the waltz "A Bruxa" (The Witch) composed by Antón Seoane and covered below by David Hansen.



Strawberry liquor

Source: Meigas Fóra

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David Hansen



Musical Adaptation

Resonet has set this poem to music (track #3 MP3 sold here).




—Dios bendiga todo, nena;
rapaza, Dios che bendiga,
xa que te dou tan grasiosa,
xa que te dou tan feitiña,
que anque andiven moitas terras,
que anque andiven moitas vilas,
coma ti non vin ningunha
tan redonda e tan bonita.
¡Ben haia quen te pariu!
¡Ben haia, amén, quen te cría!

—Dios vos garde, miña vella,
gárdevos Santa Mariña,
que abofé sos falangueira,
falangueira e ben cumprida.

—Meniña, por ben falada
ningunha se perdería:
Cóllense antre os paxariños
aqueles que mellor trían;
morre afogado antre as pallas
o pitiño que non chía.

—Pois si vós foras pitiño,
dígovos, mina velliña,
que dese mal non morreras,
que chiar ben chiarías.

—¡Ai! ¡Que, si non, de min fora,
miña filla, miña filla!
Sin agarimo no mundo
desde que nasín orfiña,
de porta en porta pedindo
tiven que pasar a vida.
E cando a vida se pasa
cal vida de pelegrina,
que busca pelegrinando
o pan de tódolos días,
de cote en lares alleos,
de cote en estrañas vilas,
hai que deprender estonces
por non morrer, coitadiña,
ó pé dun valo tumbada
e de todos esquencida,
o chío dos paxariños,
o recramo das pombiñas,
o ben falar que comprase,
a homildá mansa que obriga.

—¡Moito sabés, miña vella,
moito de sabiduría!
¡Quen poidera correr mundo
por ser como vós sabida!
Que anque traballos se pasen
aló polas lonxes vilas,
tamén ¡que cousas se saben!,
tamén ¡que cousas se miran!

—Máis val que n'as mires nunca,
que estonces te perderías:
¡O que ó sol mirar precura
logo quedará sin vista!

—Dirés verdá, miña vella,
mais craras as vosas niñas
emprestouvos hastra agora
groriosa Santa Lucía.

—Moita devozón lle teño,
¡miña santiña bendita!,
mais non sempre as niñas craras
son proba de craras vistas.
Moitas eu vin como a augua
que corre antre as penas frías
gorgorexando de paso,
sereniña, sereniña,
que ante tiniebras pousaban,
que ante tiniebras vivían,
nas tiniebras dos pecados
que son as máis escondidas.

—Si de pecados falades,
é pan que onde queira espiga,
en tódalas partes crese,
en todas partes se cría;
mais uns son cor de veneno,
outros de sangre runxida,
outros, como a noite negros,
medran cas lurpias dañinas
que os paren entre ouro e seda,
arrolados pola envidia,
mantidos pola luxuria,
mimados pola cobiza.
miña santiña bendita!,

—«Quen ben está, ben estea.»
Déixate estar, miña filla,
nin precures correr mundo,
nin tampouco lonxes vilas,
que o mundo dá malos pagos
a quen lle dá prendas finas,
e nas vilas mal fixeras
que aquí facer non farías,
que anque ese pan balorento
en todas partes espiga,
nunhas apoucado crese,
noutras medra que adimira.

—Falás como un abogado,
e calquera pensaría
que deprendestes nos libros
tan váreas palabrerías,
todiñas tan ben faladas,
todiñas tan entendidas;
e tal medo me puñeches
que xa de aquí non saíra
sin levar santos-escritos
e medalliñas benditas
nun lado do meu xustillo,
xunto dunha negra figa,
que me librasen das meigas
e máis das lurpias dañinas.

—Que te libren de ti mesma,
pídelle a Dios, rapariga,
que somos nós para nós
as lurpias máis enemigas.
Mais xa vén a noite vindo
co seu manto de estreliñas;
xa recolleron o gando
que pastaba na cortiña;
xa lonxe as campanas tocan,
tocan as Ave-Marías;
cada conexo ó seu tobo,
lixeiro, lixeiro tira,
que é mal compañeiro a noite
si a compañeiro se obriga.
Mais, ¡ai!, que eu non teño tobo
nin burata conocida,
nin tellado que me cruba
dos ventos da noite fría.
¡Que vida a dos probes, nena!
¡Que vida! ¡Que amarga vida!
Mais Noso Señor foi probe,
¡que esto de alivio nos sirva!

—Amén, miña vella, amén;
mais, polas almas benditas,
hoxe dormirés nun leito
feito de palliña triga,
xunta do lar que vos quente
ca borralliña encendida,
e comerés un caldiño
con patacas e nabizas.

—¡Bendito sea Dios, bendito!
¡Bendita a Virxe María
que con tanto ben me acode
por unha man compasiva!
O Señor che dé fortuna
con moitos anos de vida;
¡vólvanseche as tellas de ouro,
as pedras de prata fina,
e cada gran seu diamante
che se volva cada día!
I agora, miña rapaza,
porque un pouco te adivirtas
bailando cas compañeiras
que garulan na cociña,
heiche de contar historias,
heiche de cantar copriñas,
heiche de tocar as cunchas,
miña carrapucheiriña
.

"May God bless everything, lassie.
God bless you, girl,
Since he made you so comely,
Since he made you so lovely,
For though I treaded many lands,
Though I walked through many villages,
I did not see the likes of you
So round and so pretty.
Good fortune to her who gave you birth!
Good luck, amen, to who raises you!"

"God keep you, my old woman.
Saint Marina keep you
For you are in truth affectionate,
Talkative and courteous."

"Little girl, for speaking pleasantly
No woman would go astray:
From among the little birds
The better warblers are chosen,
In the straw dies smothered
The little chick that doesn't cheep."

"Then if a little chick you were
I tell you, my dear old woman,
You would not perish of that misfortune
For cheep you would cheep indeed."

"Ah! What would become of me otherwise,
My daughter, my daughter!
Without shelter in the world
Since I was born a poor orphan child,
Begging from door to door
I had to spend my whole life through
And when life resembles
The life of a pilgrim
Who seeks the daily bread
In her journeying—
Always on alien lands,
Always in strange towns—
One has to learn then
So as not to die ill-fated
At the foot of a stone fence
And ignored of everyone
The chirping of the small birds,
The birdcall of the darling doves,
The pleasantry that endears,
The meekness that compels."

"How much you know, my old woman,
How much of wisdom!
Who could roam the world
To be experienced like you!
Even if hard times awaited
In those distant cities
What things are learned as well!
What things are seen as well!"

"Better for you to never see them
Because you would go astray,
Whoever insists on looking at the sun
Eventually goes blind!"

"You may be right, my old woman,
Nevertheless clear pupils
Has lent you till now
Blessed Saint Lucy."

"I have a lot of devotion for her,
My dear blessed saint!
But clear pupils are not always
Guarantee of pure sights.
Many I saw like the water
That glides among the cold rocks
Gurgling as it goes
Undisturbed, undisturbed,
Which settled surrounded by murk,
Which dwelled shrouded in gloom,
In the darkness of sins
Which is concealed the most."

"If you speak of sins
They are bread which flowers where it pleases,
Everywhere it grows,
Everywhere it tillers,
But some own the colour of poison,
Others of scorched blood,
Others black like the night
Burgeon with the baneful hags
Who deliver them amid silk and gold
Cuddled by jealousy,
Nurtured by lust,
Coddled by ambition...
My dear blessed saint!"

"'Leave well enough alone.'
Stay where you are, my daughter,
Do not yearn to see the world
Or far-away cities
For the world rewards evilly
Whoever gives it fine fabric
And you'd make mischief in the city
That you would forgo here...
Although that moldy bread
Flowers everywhere,
In places it grows enfeebled,
In others it teems that amazes."

"You talk like a lawyer
And anybody would think
That you had learned from books
Such diversity of words—
Every one so well spoken,
Every one so knowing—
And you have made me so fearful
That I would never leave here
Without carrying holy scriptures
And blessed medals
In one side of my corset
Together with a black fig
To fend off witches
And baneful hags."

"That they may protect you from yourself
Pray to God, young girl,
For we to ourselves are
The most harmful hags.
But see, here comes the night arriving
With its cloak of twinkling stars...
The livestock is home already
From the grazing yard...
Already the bells ring afar,
Ring out the Ave Marías,
Every rabbit nimble nimble
Heads to its burrow
For the night is an evil companion
If companion it must be.
But alas! I do not have a burrow
Or fixed address
Or roof over my head
To fend off the winds of the chilly night.
What life the poor lead, lassie!
What life, what a bitter life!
Still Our Lord was poor too,
May this console us!"

"Amen, my old woman, amen,
But for all hallows' sake
Today you will sleep on a bed
Made of comfy wheat straw
Beside the stone oven that will keep you warm
With its warm, glowing embers
And you will sup a hot broth
With potatoes and Swede leaves."

"Blessed be God, blessed!
Blessed Our Lady
Who so generously assists me
Through a compassionate hand!
May the Lord grant you fortune
And a life of many years.
May your roof tiles turn to gold,
The stones to fine silver
And may each grain of yours
Turn into a diamond every day!
And presently, my girl,
So that you may have fun
Dancing with your mates
Who romp in the kitchen
I will tell you stories,
I will sing you quatrains,
I will rub the seashells together,
My sweet kitchen maid
."




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Neno mendigo

Source: Poema de Marta Zabaleta para un niño amigo, mendigo de Santiago



9.   Pharisees     (Tembra un neno no húmido pórtico)

(Follas Novas, 1880)




Tembra un neno no húmido pórtico...
Da fame e do frío
ten o sello o seu rostro de ánxel,
inda hermoso, mais mucho e sin brilo.

Farrapento e descalzo, nas pedras
os probes peíños,
que as xiadas do inverno lañaron,
apousa indeciso;
pois parés que llos cortan coitelos
de aceirados fíos.

Coma can sin palleiro nin dono,
que todos desprezan,
nun curruncho se esconde, tembrando,
da dura escaleira.
E cal lirio se dobra ó secárese,
o inocente a dourada cabesa
tamén dobra, esvaesido ca fame,
e descansa co rostro nas pedras.

E mentras que el dorme,
triste imaxen da dor i a miseria,
van e vén ¡a adoraren o Altisimo!
fariseios, os grandes da terra,
sin que ó ver do inocente a orfandade
se calme dos ricos a sede avarienta.

O meu peito ca angustia se oprime.
¡Señor! ¡Dios do ceo!
¿Por que hai almas tan negras e duras?
¿Por que hai orfos na terra, Dios boeno?

Mais n'en vano sellado está o libro
dos grandes misterios...
Pasa a groria, o poder i a alegría...
Todo pasa na terra. ¡Esperemos!

A child shivers in the clammy portico...
The seal of hunger and cold
Is written over his angelic face
Still beautiful yet wilted and dun.

In tatters and barefoot
He drops his little feet,
Bitten by the winter's frosts,
Dithering on the stones
As if knives of steely blade
Were slashing them.

Like a dog without a haystack or master,
Despised by everyone,
He hides quivering
In a recess of the stony steps.
And like a lily that droops when it dries,
The innocent boy of golden head
Keels over, faint with hunger,
And rests with his face on the stones.

And while he slumbers,
Doleful image of pain and misery,
Enter and leave —to worship the Most High!—
Pharisees—the grandees of this world—
For whom the sight of the innocent's orphanhood
Slakes not the greed of the wealthy.

Anguish weighs heavy on my bosom.
Lord! God of heaven!
Why are there souls so dark and dour?
Why are there orphans on earth, good God?

But the book of great mysteries
Is sealed not in vain...
Glory, power and glee fade away...
Everything fades away on earth. Let's wait!




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'Mommy': Vintage collectible photograph

Source: Todo Colección



10.   Sweet Dream     (Dulce sono)

(Follas Novas, 1880)



Musical Adaptation

"Dulce Sono" was set to music by distinguished Galician composer Juan Montes Capón who changed the title to Doce Sono, one of his Six Galician Ballads. He entered this ballad together with Negra Sombra in the 1892 Musical Competition of Pontevedra organized by the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País (Economic Society of Friends of the Land). He obtained the first prize with Doce Sono, the emblematic Negra Sombra came in second. The composition is performed on the first entry below.

Singer-songwriter Graciela Pistocchi Pereira performs her own adaptation next.

Listen-to-this icon

Carmen Subrido Tubío and Xoán Elías Castiñeira Varela

Listen-to-this icon

Graciela Pistocchi Pereira




Baixaron os ánxeles
Adonde ela estaba,
Fixéronlle un leito
Cas prácidas alas,
E lonxe a levano
Na noite calada.

Cando a alba do dia
Tocóu a campana,
E no alto da torre
Cantou a calandria,
Os ánxeles mesmos,
Pregadas as alas
—"¿Por que, marmurano,
Por que despertala...?"

Descended the angels
To where she lay,
They made her a bed
With the placid wings
And took her far away
In the quiet night.

When the bell rang
The break of day
And the lark sang
Atop the belfry
The selfsame angels,
Wings folded,
Murmured, "Why?
Why wake her?"




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You Must Be Married by Alfonso Daniel Rodríguez Castelao

Source: Hai que casarse. Alfonso Daniel Rodríguez Castelao. All Paintings Home



11.   Though It Be a Sin     (Díxome nantronte o cura que é pecado)

(Cantares Gallegos, 1863)



Translator's Notes

"Díxome nantronte o cura que é pecado" could not be an exception and it too contains many affectionate diminutives. The affectionate diminutive peculiar to the Galician language ends in iña (feminine) or iño (masculine). Notice that not every word that ends in iña or iño is an affectionate diminutive.

All the words in "Díxome nantronte o cura que é pecado" that end in iña or iño are listed below together with a range of possible translations and a short explanation of the choice that was made. Galician affectionate diminutives lend the translator an opportunity to add alliteration, internal rhyme and lyrical sharpness to the text. The objective is to find the best adjective, adverb or noun which conveys small size, frailty, concern or endearment depending on the context. This objective ends in a personal choice when more than one translation is available as is often the case. Sometimes an affectionate diminutive is best ignored because the context is unclear, because the extra term jars the smooth flow of the translation or because it makes the text too syrupy. The exercise can be fun, difficult and challenging. The extra work is worthwhile because it offers the English reader an approximation to what De Castro called "those tender words and those idioms never forgotten which sounded so sweet to my ears since the cradle and which were gathered up by my heart as its own heritage."

Explanation of some words, terms or expressions

Jacinto (5.3). Hyacinth, not a common first name in English.

Cara de pote fendido (10.1). "Cara de pote" was slang for an object of dark complexion (an overcast day, a face) because the cooking pots of Rosalia's day were ironwork. The modifier "fendido" (from fenda: slit, crack, chink) may tab the light-coloured areas of Jacinto's face (teeth, white of the eyes) or a scar. Thus the tempting translation "crackpot face" is wrong: Jacinto is not a nutter, he is probably a gypsy.

Tan contento (23.2). Although the literal translation is "so merrily" the best interpretation is colloquial, meaning "without a second thought" or "without a care in the world." The first option, "without a second thought," serves to contrast Jacinto's thoughtlessness with the infatuated girl's constant dwelling upon him.



Folklore

The Galician countryside regarded a parish priest with ambivalence. He was highly respected when he helped the poor, assisted them in their dealings with the law or looked after the basic education of the children. He was the butt of prudent jokes otherwise. In any case the Galician countryside did not expect a parish priest to be celibate, celibacy was deemed unnatural. Instead the rural priest is a stereotype of covert profligacy in many traditional songs, for example the refrain of the xota de Soutomaior states,

Eu non vou, non vou,
eu non vou alá,
á casa do cura,
¿qué me quere dar,
qué me quere dar,
qué me ha de querer?
morreulle a criada,
quere unha muller.

I won't, I won't go,
I won't go over there
To the padre's house,
What does he want to give me,
What does he want to give me,
What does he want me for!
His housemaid died on him,
He wants a woman.




Díxome nantronte o cura
que é pecado...
Mais aquel de tal fondura
¿como o facer desbotado?

Dálle que dálle ó argadelo,
noite e día,
e pensa e pensa naquelo,
porfía que te porfía...

Sempre malla que te malla,
enchendo a cunca,
porque o que o diancre traballa
din que acaba tarde ou nunca.

Canto máis digo: ¡Arrenegado!
¡Demo fora
!,
Máis o demo endemoncrado,
me atenta dempois i agora.

Máis ansias teño, máis sinto,
¡rematada!,
que non me queira Jacinto,
nin solteira, nin casada.

Porque deste ou de outro modo,
a verdá digo,
quixera atentalo e todo,
como me atenta o enemigo.

¡Que é pecado...miña almiña!
Mais que sea;
¿cal non vai, si é rapaciña,
buscando o que ben desea?

Nin podo atopar feitura
nin asento,
que me está dando amargura
sempre este mal pensamento.

Din que parés lagarteiro
desprumado;
si é verdad, ¡meu lagarteiro
tenme o corazón prendado!

«Cara de pote fendido»
ten de alcume;
mellor que descolorido,
quéroo tostado do lume.

Si elas cal eu te miraran,
meu amore,
nin toliña me chamaran,
nin ti me fixeras dore.

Vino unha mañán de orballo,
á mañecida,
durmindo ó pé dun carballo,
enriba da herba mollida.

Arrimeime paseniño
á súa beira,
e sospiraba mainiño
como brisa mareeira.

E tiña a boca antraberta,
como un neno
que mirando ó ceu desperta
deitadiño antre o centeno.

I as guedellas enrisadas
lle caían,
cal ovellas en manadas,
sobre as froliñas que abrían.

¡Meu Dios! ¡Quen froliña fora
das daquelas!...
¡Quen as herbas que en tal hora
o tiñan pretiño delas!

¡Quen xiada, quen orballo
que o mollou!
¡Quen aquel mesmo carballo
que cas ponlas o abrigou!

Mentras que así o contempraba
rebuleu,
e pensei que me afogaba
o corazonciño meu.

Bate que bate, batía
sin parar,
mais eu tembrando decía:
«Agora lle hei de falar.»

E volveu a rebulir
moi paseniño,
¡ai!, e botei a fuxir,
lixeira polo camiño.

Dempois, chora que te chora,
avergonzada,
dixen: «Si el non me namora,
non lle direi nunca nada.»

E non me namora, non,
¡maldizoado!,
mentras o meu corazón
quérelle anque sea pecado.

E vai tras de outras mociñas
tan contento,
i eu, con unhas cadiñas,
prendíno ó meu pensamento.

E que queira que non queira,
está comigo,
i á postre i á derradeira,
con el me atenta o enemigo.

¡Sempre malla que te malla
enchendo a cunca!
I é que o que o demo traballa,
acabará tarde ou nunca.

Por eso, anque o cura dixo
que é pecado,
mal que tanto mal me fixo
nunca o darei desbotado.

The day before yesterday the padre
Told me that it is a sin...
But how does one tear out
What lies so deep within?

Turn and turn the swift
Night and day,
Think and think of it
Again and again...

Thresh and thresh evermore
Filling up the holding bin
For they say the devil's work
Is late or never in.

The more I say, "Renegade!
Devil, scram!
"
The more the impish devil
Plagues me now and then.

The more I fret the more I grieve
Worn out!
That Jacinto won't love me
Single or espoused.

Because one way or another,
I say this true,
I would love to plague him and all
Like the enemy plagues me.

That it is a sin...my poor soul!
Yet let it be,
What dear girl doesn't pursue
What she well desires?

I can not finish the chores
Nor find repose
Since this wicked thought sours me
Without pause.

They say that you look
Like a skint rogue,
If so my rogue
Has stolen my heart!

"Cracked-cooking-pot face"
Has he for nickname,
Still I want him fire-toasted
Better than faded.

If the girls saw you as I do,
My love,
They would not dub me "adorably daffy"
Nor would you deal me pain.

In the early hours of a drizzly morn
I spied him
Sleeping on the supple grass
At the foot of an oak.

I laid down beside him
Gingerly
And he was breathing softly soft
Like a sailing breeze.

He had the mouth half open
Like a baby
Who lain gently in the rye
Wakes up looking at the sky.

And the curled locks
Fell in flocks
Like lambs
Over the pretty, blooming flowers.

My God! Who were one
Of those darling flowers...!
Who the blades of grass
So cuddly close to him at that hour!

Who frost, who the drizzle
That dampened him!
Who that very oak
Whose branches sheltered him!

He stirred
As I watched him thus
And I supposed that my aching heart
Was going to choke me.

Beating, beating, it beat
Without check
And trembling I kept saying,
"I will talk to him now."

And he stirred again very slowly
And alas!
I sprang to my feet and fled fast
On the byway.

Afterwards I wept and wept
Ashamed,
"If he won't woo me," I vowed,
"I will never tell him anything."

And no, he doesn't woo me—
Confounded!—
Meanwhile my heart wants him
Though it be a sin.

And he chases after the other lassies
Without a second thought
Even as I fastened him with tiny fetters
To my mind.

And willy-nilly
He lingers with me
And after all is said and done
The enemy plagues me with him.

Thresh and thresh evermore
Filling up the holding bin!
For the devil's work
Is late or never in
.

That is why, even though the padre said
That it is a sin,
No matter how much grief he has given me
I'll never get rid of him.




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Spanish tax collection officers and night watchmen from Navarre in 1948

Source: Imágenes del recuerdo. Azagra (Navarra)



12.   Why?     (¿Por qué?)

(Follas Novas, 1880)



Disambiguation

This "¿Por qué?" is not the poem set to music by Joaquín Rodrigo (see Introduction, "Joaquín Rodrigo and Rosalía de Castro"). This "¿Por qué?" comes from Follas Novas, V, As Viudas dos Vivos e as Viudas dos Mortos.




—¡Escoita!: Os algoasiles
Andan correndo a aldea;
Mais, ¿como pagar, como, se un non pode
Inda paga-la renda?

"Embargarannos todo, que non teñen
Esas xentes concencia, nin tén alma.
¡Quedaremos por portas,
Meus fillos das entrañas!

"¡Mala morte vos mate
Antes de que aquí entredes...!
Dos probes, ó sentirvos,
Os corazós ¡cal baten tristemente!

—María, se non fora
Porque hai un Dios que premia e castiga,
Eu matara eses homes
Como mata un raposo a unha galiña.

—¡Silencio! ¡Non brasfemes,
Que este é un valle de lágrimas...!
¿Mais por que a algúns lles toca sufrir tanto
I outros a vida antre contentos pasan?

"Listen! The tax collectors
Are making the run of the hamlet,
But how to pay them, how, if one
Can't even afford the rent?

"They will impound everything,
Their sort has no conscience or soul;
They will evict us,
Children of my innards!

"May a black hand strike you down
Before you get here...!
How sadly the hearts of the poor beat
When you are near!"

"Mary, if it weren't
Because there is a God who rewards and punishes
I would kill those men
Like a fox slays a hen."

"Silence! Don't blaspheme,
This is a vale of tears...!
But why must some suffer so much
And others spend their lives in merriment?"




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River Miño as it exits Quinte, county O Corgo in Lugo (Spain)

Source: Xelo2004. Wikimedia Commons



13.   Winter Months     (Meses do inverno)

(Follas Novas, 1880)



Folklore

The Celtic band Milladoiro captured the spirit of a normal Galician winter in their piece "Invernía" (track 11 of the 1989 album As Fadas de Estraño Nome).

Listen-to-this icon

Milladoiro




Meses do inverno fríos,
Que eu amo a todo amar;
Meses dos fartos ríos
I o dóce amor do lar.

Meses das tempestades,
Imaxen da delor
Que afrixe as mocedades
I as vidas corta en frol.

Chegade e, tras do outono
Que as follas fai caer,
Nelas deixá que o sono
Eu durma do non ser.

E cando o sol fermoso
De abril torne a sorrir,
Que alume o meu reposo,
Xa non o meu sofrir.

Cold months of winter
That I love with all my love,
Months of rivers that run full
And the sweet love of home.

Months of wild storms,
Image of the pain
That besets the young
And severs lives in bloom.

Come after the autumn
That makes the leaves fall
And let me sleep among them
The slumber of dissolution.

And when the lovely sun
Of April returns smiling
Let it shine upon my repose,
No longer upon my suffering.




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Rosalía de Castro (1)

Translation from Galician to English of 11 poems by Rosalía de Castro






Rosalía de Castro (3)

Translation of the poem ¡Volved! by Rosalía de Castro






Eduardo Pondal

Translation from Galician to English of 11 poems by Eduardo Pondal






Emigration Ballads

Translation from Galician to English of 4 Classic Emigration Ballads






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