Bilingual •  Literature and Poetry

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Spring Has Come: Spanish Lyrical Poetry from the Songbooks of the Renaissance

Translated by Alvaro Cardona-Hine

The majority of the poems translated here appeared in cancioneros between 1511 and 1605. They are the written versions of troubadour and common expression. They are what people were singing! Chants, lullabies, minstrel choruses, and the oral tradition passed from mouth to mind. When this content began to appear in cancioneros it meant the poets and musicians had taken notice and interest and began to use it for their own inspiration.

For a long time, criticism had assumed that Spanish lyrical poetry was preponderantly epic. The little flowers in the Songbooks of the Renaissance, shadowed in the crannies of such mountains as the Cantar del Mio Cid had, seemingly, no roots that anyone could discover.
Spanish scholars at the beginning of this century have investigated their origins and began to theorize that their roots were Andalusian/Moorish in the zejel's two lined rhymed refrain, but the discovery of even older jarchas showed an even longer influence. Sephardic Jewish scholars have shown that a form call muguasajas, written in classical Arabic (and supposedly invented by the blind 9th century poet Muccáddam ben Muáfa), led the official way. Of course arguments still rail, but it is enough to understand the intense conviviality of Christian, Moorish, and Jewish cultures in Spain before Isabella and Ferdinand.


A native of Costa Rica, Alvaro Cardona-Hine has lived in the United States since 1939. He has published seventeen books of poetry, prose, and translation. He lives in the village of Truchas, New Mexico, where he makes his living as a painter with his wife Barbara McCauley.

Published By La Alameda Press

6 x 8 in. 109 pages