Cantar de Mio Cid

Castilian epic poem
Into Burgos rode My Cid, sixty lances in his company, and men and women ran out to see him. The citizens of Burgos, sorely weeping, stood at their windows, and each one made the same lament: "God, what a worthy vassal, had he but a worthy lord!"

El Cantar de mio Cid, literally "The Song of my Cid" (or El Poema de mio Cid), also known in English as The Poem of the Cid, is the oldest preserved Castilian epic poem. Based on a true story, it tells of the Castilian hero El Cid, and takes place during the Reconquista, or reconquest of Spain from the Moors.

QuotesEdit

The First CantarEdit

  • Los ojos de Mío Cid mucho llanto van llorando;
    hacia atrás vuelve la vista y se quedaba mirándolos.
    Vió cómo estaban las puertas abiertas y sin candados,
    vacías quedan las perchas ni con pieles ni con mantos,
    sin halcones de cazar y sin azores mudados.
    Y habló, como siempre habla, tan justo y tan mesurado:
    "¡Bendito seas, Díos mío, Padre que estás en lo alto!
    Contra mí tramaron esto mis enemigos malvados."
    • He turned and looked upon them, and he wept very sore
      As he saw the yawning gateway and the hasps wrenched off the door,
      And the pegs whereon no mantle nor coat of vair there hung.
      There perched no moulting goshawk, and there no falcon swung.
      My lord the Cid sighed deeply such grief was in his heart
      And he spake well and wisely: "Oh Thou, in Heaven that art
      Our Father and our Master, now I give thanks to Thee.
      Of their wickedness my foemen have done this thing to me."
    • Opening lines (as translated into modern Spanish by Pedro Salinas); The Lay of the Cid, trans. Robert Selden Rose and Leonard Bacon (University of California Press, 1919)
  • Mío Çid Ruy Díaz por Burgos entrava,
    en su conpanna LX pendones.
    Exíenlo ver mugieres e varones,
    burgeses e burgesas por las finiestras son,
    plorando de los ojos tanto avíen el dolor.
    De las sus bocas todos dizían una rrazón:
    «¡Dios, qué buen vassalo! ¡Si oviesse buen sennor!»
    Conbidarle íen de grado mas ninguno non osava;
    el rrey don Alfonsso tanto avíe la grand sanna,
    antes de la noche en Burgos dél entró su carta
    con grand rrecabdo & fuertemientre sellada,
    a Mío Çid Ruy Díaz que nadi no l' diessen posada,
    aquel que ge la diesse sopiesse vera palabra
    que perderíe los averes & más los ojos de la cara
    e aun demás los cuerpos & las almas.
    Grande duelo avíen las yentes christianas;
    ascóndense de Mío Çid ca no l' osan dezir nada.
    • My Cid, Ruy Díaz, rode into Burgos.
      His sixty men carried spears, hung with banners.
      Men and women came out, when they appeared;
      Merchants and their wives leaned from their windows, staring,
      Weeping, overcome with sorrow.
      And from their lips, all of them, fell the same prayer:
      "O God, what a wonderful servant, if only he had a decent master!"
      They would have been glad to ask him in, but no one dared;
      Don Alfonso, the king, was far too angry.
      He'd sent the city a notice, received the night before,
      Sealed in dramatic passion, and urgent:
      My Cid, Ruy Díaz, was to be turned away,
      Given nothing. Whoever dared to disobey
      Would lose whatever they owned, their eyes would be torn from their heads,
      And their bodies and souls would be lost forever.
      Every Christian in Burgos was bent in fear
      And sorrow, hiding from my Cid, too terrified to speak.
    • Lines 15–30; The Song of the Cid, trans. Burton Raffel (Penguin, 2009), ISBN 978-1101029145
    • Variant translation:
      • Into Burgos rode My Cid, sixty lances in his company, and men and women ran out to see him. The citizens of Burgos, sorely weeping, stood at their windows, and each one made the same lament:
        "God, what a worthy vassal, had he but a worthy lord!"
        Gladly would they have sheltered him, but none dared, so fearful they of the great wrath of Don Alfonso the King, for his edict had come that day to Burgos, well guarded and strongly sealed with the royal seal, commanding that none give shelter to My Cid Ruy Diaz, and that he who did so would surely lose his goods, his eyes besides, his body even, and his soul! All Christian people with grief were stricken; all fled the presence of My Cid and no one dared bespeak him.
        • The Poem of the Cid, trans. Lesley Byrd Simpson (University of California Press, 1957), ISBN 978-0520250109
  • Ant'el Campeador doña Ximena fincó los inojos amos,
    llorava de los ojos, quísol' besar las manos,
    "Merçed, Canpeador, en ora buena fuestes nado,
    por malos mestureros de tierra sodes echado.
    Merçed, ya Çid, barba tan complida,
    fem' ante vós, yo e vuestras fijas, ifantes son e de días chicas,
    con aquestas mis dueñas, de quien só yo servida.
    Yo lo veo, que estades vós en ida,
    e nós de vós partirnos hemos en vida
    ,
    ¡Dandnos consejo, por amor de Santa María!"
    Enclinó las manos la barba vellida,
    a las sus fijas en braço las prendía,
    llególas al coraçón, ca mucho las quería,
    llora de los ojos, tan fuertemientre sospira,
    "Ya doña Ximena, la mi mugier tan complida,
    commo a la mi alma yo tanto vos quería.
    Ya lo vedes, que partirnos emos en vida,
    yo iré e vós fincaredes remanida.

    Plega a Dios e a Santa María, que aún con mis manos case estas mis fijas,
    o que dé ventura e algunos días vida,
    e vós, mugier ondrada, de mí seades servida."
    • Doña Jimena knelt down on her knees before the Campeador. Weeping, her eyes full of tears, she made to kiss his hands.
      "I pray you, Campeador, you who were born in a lucky hour! Because of evil meddlers you are now banished from the land. I pray you, you of the flowing beard! Behold me here before you, me and your daughters—they are so little, so very young in years. With us are these, my ladies-in-waiting. I can see that you are about to leave, and we must now live apart from you. Say something to raise our spirits, for blessed Mary's sake!"
      He of the flowing beard held out his hands, taking his daughters into his arms. He hugged them close, for he loved them dearly. Weeping, the tears filling his eyes, he heaved a deep sigh.
      "Lady Jimena, my most constant wife, I have always loved you as I love my very soul! Now you see how we must henceforth live apart. I must go, and you must stay behind. Please God and holy Mary that someday I myself, with my own hands, may give away my daughters in marriage, and that He bring me luck and long life, so that I may serve you, my loving spouse!"
    • Lines 264–284; The Epic of the Cid, trans. Michael Harney (Hackett, 2011), ISBN 978-1603846103
 
The Moors cried, "Mohammad!" The Christians, "Saint James!"
In a moment, thirteen hundred Moors lay dead on the field.
  • Veriedes tantas lanças premer e alçar,
    tanta adágara foradar e passar,
    tanta loriga falsar e desmanchar,
    tantos pendones blancos salir vermejos en sangre,
    tantos buenos cavallos sin sos dueños andar.
    Los moros llaman "¡Mafómat!" e los christianos "¡Santi Yague!".
    Cayén por el campo en un poco de logar
    moros muertos mill e trezientos ya.
    • It was a sea of lances rising and falling,
      Shields pierced through and broken open,
      Body armor smashed,
      Blood spattered all over white flags,
      And many, many horses who had no rider.
      The Moors cried, "Mohammad!" The Christians, "Saint James!"
      In a moment, thirteen hundred Moors lay dead on the field.
    • Lines 726–733; The Song of the Cid, trans. Burton Raffel (Penguin, 2009)
  • "Oíd, Minaya, sodes mio diestro braço:
    d'aquesta riqueza que el Criador nos á dado
    a vuestra guisa prended con vuestra mano.
    Embiarvos quiero a Castiella con mandado
    d'esta batalla que avemos arrancado;
    al rey Alfonso, que me á airado,
    quiérol' embiar en don treínta cavallos,
    todos con siellas e muy bien enfrenados,
    señas espadas de los arçones colgando".
    Dixo Minaya Álbar Fáñez: "Esto faré yo de grado".
    • "Minaya, my right arm, listen!
      Out of all this treasure God has given us,
      take with your own hand what pleasures you.
      And it's you I want to send to Castille with
      the news of this battle we've won.
      To King Alfons, whose anger is against me, I
      want to send as gift thirty horses, all with saddles and
      handsomely bridled, swords hung from the saddletrees."
      Minaya Álvar Fariez said: "That,
      I'll do gladly."
    • Lines 810–819; Poem of the Cid, trans. Paul Blackburn (University of Oklahoma Press, 1998), ISBN 978-0806130224

The Second CantarEdit

  • "Mucho creçen las nuevas de mio Çid el Campeador,
    bien casariemos con sus fijas pora huebos de pro,
    non la osariemos acometer nós esta razón,
    mio Çid es de Bivar e nós de los condes de Carrión."
    • "The fortunes of My Cid, the Campeador, keep growing and growing. We would do very well to marry his daughters: that would be really profitable for us. But we don't dare propose the match ourselves. My Cid is from Vivar, and we belong to the clan of the Counts of Carrión."
    • Lines 1373–1376; The Epic of the Cid, trans. Michael Harney (Hackett, 2011)
  • A la madre e a las fijas bien las abraçava,
    del gozo que avién de los sos ojos lloravan,
    todas las sus mesnadas en grant deleit estavan,
    armas teniendo e tablados quebrantando.
    Oíd lo que dixo el que en buen ora nasco,
    "Vós, querida e ondrada mugier, e amas mis fijas,
    mi coraçón e mi alma,
    entrad comigo en Valençia la casa,
    en esta heredad que vos yo he ganada".
    Madre e fijas las manos le besavan,
    a tan grand ondra ellas a Valençia entravan.
    • The mother and the daughters close he drew
      Within his arms; and for their joy they wept.
      And all his followers were overjoyed,
      Tablados breaking, arms within their hands.
      What spake the one on hour propitious born
      Attend: "Oh thou, my honored cherished wife,
      And both my daughters, heart and soul of mine,
      Within Valencia City pass with me,
      Within this heritage I gained for you."
      The mother and the daughters kissed his hands.
      Valencia's gates with honor great they passed.
    • Lines 1599–1609; Poem of the Cid, trans. Archer M. Huntington, Vol. II (1901)
 
Ah, how my heart swells with pride to have you here to see me!
  • Créçem' el coraçón porque estades delant.
    • Ah, how my heart swells with pride to have you here to see me!
    • Line 1655; The Poem of The Cid, trans. Lesley Byrd Simpson (University of California Press, 1957), p. 65
    • Variant translation:
      • My heart kindles because you are here!
        • Chronicle of the Cid, trans. Robert Southey (1808), p. 229
  • Los montes son altos, las ramas pujan con las núes.
    • The mountains are high, the branches touch the clouds.
    • Line 2698; Poem of the Cid, trans. William Stanley Merwin (New American Library, 1975), p. 233

The Third CantarEdit

  • "Lengua sin manos, ¿cuémo osas fablar?"
    • "Tongue without hands! How dare you speak?"
    • Line 3328; The Poem of the Cid, trans. Lesley Byrd Simpson (University of California Press, 1957), p. 125

Quotes about Cantar de Mio CidEdit

 
It is unquestionably the oldest poem in the Spanish language. In my judgement, it is as decidedly and beyond all comparison the finest.
Robert Southey
  • It is unquestionably the oldest poem in the Spanish language. In my judgement, it is as decidedly and beyond all comparison the finest.
  • As the historian of manners, this poet, whose name unfortunately has perished, is the Homer of Spain.
  • The Cid's speech at the Cortes is perfect eloquence of its kind. If it be remembered that all this was written in all probability before the year 1200..., I think it must be considered as one of the most curious and valuable specimens of early literature,— certainly as the most beautiful, beyond all comparison.
    • Robert Southey, letter to Grosvenor Charles Bedford (16 August 1808), in The Life and Correspondence of the Late Robert Southey, ed. ‎Charles C. Southey, Vol. III (1850), p. 166
  • El Cantar es uno de esos libros que pocos conocen y la mayoría cree haber leído.
    • [Cantar de Mio Cid] is one of those books that few know but that most believe they have read.
    • Javier Marías, "Ochocientos o más años", in El País Semanal (2 December 2007); quoted in María Rosa Menocal's introduction to The Song of the Cid (Penguin Books, 2009)

External linksEdit