Thursday, November 6, 2008


On Page 238, in the Spanish and Portuguese section of Adventures in World Literature, a book I’ve mentioned here and here, is this note on coplas:

“The reputation of Spain as a land of song is justified by the tremendous number of little four-line songs called coplas, which have sprung up like field flowers, without literary cultivation or known authorship.”

The note is followed by twenty examples. Here are two, translated by S. de Madariaga:


When I saw you coming,
I said to my heart;
What a pretty little stone
To stumble on!


I dreamt last night
That the Moors were killing me,
And it was your beautiful eyes
Looking at me angrily.

“Philosophers,” a haiku inspired by pumpkins, added to Songs and Letters.

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