Posts Tagged ‘illegitimate daughter’

Rosalía de Castro (February 24 1837 – July 15 1885)

Rosalía de Castro’s poems, suffused as they are with the feeling of unassailable loss, which is known in Galician as Saudade, are still vivid and sharp even as they express a sorrowful concession to the inevitability of changes which can only be lamented. There is a sense of persistence about these poems, and a refusal to accept false comfort. de Castro takes her dose of sorrow without dilution, but remarkably, also without bitterness. Nature is ever present in her manifestations of a loveliness which is sufficiently intense to cause the sharpest pain.

A remarkable woman with a strong social conscience, de Castro’s antecedents were probably influential in predisposing her to identify with her poor and exploited countrymen. She was the illegitimate daughter of a priest. Her mother came from a well-to-do family, but de Castro spent the first 14 years of her life in the country. When she was 14, de Castro was ‘reclaimed’ by her mother.  She missed her country life intensely and no doubt her poems grew out of her feeling of longing and homesickness for the countryside, and the only home she had ever known until  she was displaced.  The sense of  something longed for and unfulfilled in these poems is so honest and sincere and uncontrived, that to read them is to almost directly experience them  oneself.

I suspect it was de Castro’s fervour and intensity which led to the her being able to accomplish as much as she did in a relatively short life. She died of Cancer at the age of 48. It seems clear that de Castro had a premonition she would not live long, and this sense of life’s brevity and fragility lends the keenest possible edge to her writing. We are blessed indeed to be her literary beneficiaries and to be able to relish her remarkable work, and through them to hear her lovely voice.


This is de Castro’s prologue to Follas Novas. Santiago de Compostela. March 30, 1880.


 And there is so much suffering in this dear Galician land! Whole books could be written about the eternal misfortune that besets our peasants and sailors, the sole true working people of our country. I saw and felt their hardships as though they were my own, but what always moved me, and consequently could not help but find an echo in my poetry, were the countless sorrows borne by our women: loving creatures toward their own folk and toward strangers, full of spirit, as hardy as soft-hearted and also so wretched that one would think they were born only to overcome as many travails as may afflict the weakest and most naive portion of humanity. Sharing the hard, outdoors tasks of farming fifty-fifty with their husbands, braving courageously the anxieties of motherhood indoors, the domestic chores and the wants of poverty. Alone most of the time, having to work from sunrise to sunset, barely able to sustain herself, without assistance having to take care of her children and perhaps of a sickly father, they seem destined to never find rest but in the grave.
Emigration and the King continually take away the lover, the brother, her man—the breadwinner of an often large family—and thus deserted, mourning over their misery, they live out a bitter life amid the uncertainties of hope, the bleakness of solitude and the anxieties of never-ending poverty. And what breaks their heart most is that their men all drift away, some because they are drafted, others because example, necessity, sometimes lust, forgivable though blind, compels them to abandon the dear home of whom they once loved, of the wife become mother and of the many unfortunate children, too small the darlings to suspect the orphanhood to which they are condemned.

When these poor martyrs hazard to reveal to us their secrets confidentially, to mourn for their loves always kept alive, to lament over their woes, one discovers in them such delicacy of sentiment, such  rich treasures of tenderness, so great a spirit of self-denial that unawares we feel ourselves inferior to those obscure and valiant heroines who live and die performing wonderful deeds forever untold, yet full of miracles of love and unplumbed depths of forgiveness. Stories worthy of being sung by poets better than I and whose holy harmonies ought to be played on one single note and one lone chord, on the chord of the sublime and on the note of pain.




Candente está la atmósfera

Candente está la atmósfera;
explora el zorro la desierta vía;
insalubre se torna
del limpio arroyo el agua cristalina,
y el pino aguarda inmóvil
los besos inconstantes de la brisa.

Imponente silencio
agobia la campiña;
sólo el zumbido del insecto se oye
en las extensas y húmedas umbrías,
monótono y constante
como el sordo estertor de la agonía.

Bien pudiera llamarse, en el estío,
la hora del mediodía,
noche en que al hombre, de luchar cansado,
más que nunca le irritan
de la materia la imponente fuerza
y del alma las ansias infinitas.

Volved, ¡oh, noches del invierno frío,
nuestras viejas amantes de otros días!
Tornad con vuestros hielos y crudezas
a refrescar la sangre enardecida
por el estío insoportable y triste…
¡Triste… lleno de pámpanos y espigas!

Frío y calor, otoño o primavera,
¿dónde…, dónde se encuentra la alegría?
Hermosas son las estaciones todas
para el mortal que en sí guarda la dicha;
mas para el alma desolada y huérfana
no hay estación risueña ni propicia.



The Atmosphere is Incandescent.

The atmosphere is incandescent;
The fox explores an empty road;
Sick grow the waters
That sparkled in the clear arroyo,
Unfluttered stands the pine
Waiting for fickle winds to blow.

A majesty of silence
Overpowers the meadow;
Only the hum of an insect troubles
The spreading, dripping forest shadow,
Relentless and monotonous
As muffled rattle in a dying throat.

In such a summer the hour of midday
Could as well go
By the name of night, to struggle-weary
Man who has never known
Greater vexation from the vast cares
Of the soul, or from matter;s majestic force.

Would it were winter again! The nights! The cold!
O those old loves of ours so long ago!
Come back to make this fevered blood run fresh,
Bring back your sharp severities and snows
To these intolerable summer sorrows…
Sorrows!…While vine and corn stand thick and gold!

The cold, the heat; the autumn or the spring;
Where, where has delight set up its home?
Beautiful are all seasons to the man
Who shelters happiness within his soul;
But the deserted, orphaned spirit feels
No season smile upon its luckless door.


Translation Edwin Morgan



Ya que de la esperanza…

Ya que de la esperanza, para la vida mía,
triste y descolorido ha llegado el ocaso,
a mi morada oscura, desmantelada y fría,
tornemos paso a paso,
porque con su alegría no aumente mi amargura
la blanca luz del día.

Contenta el negro nido busca el ave agorera;
bien reposa la fiera en el antro escondido,
en su sepulcro el muerto, el triste en el olvido
y mi alma en su desierto.



Now That the Sunset of Hope….

Now that the sunset of hope for my life
has sand and colourless come,
toward my dim dwelling, dismantled and chill,
let us turn step by step:
for the white light of the day
with its gladness does not embitter me more:

Contented the ill-fated bird seeks its black nest;
well the wild beast to its hidden cave retreats;
the dead to the grave; the wretched to oblivion,
and to its wilderness my soul.

Translation Kate Flores.




Adiós rios, adios fontes.

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 rivers, good-bye fountains;
Good-bye, little rills;
Good-bye, sight of my eyes:
Don’t know when we’ll see each other again.
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 waved by the wind,
Little chirping birds,
Darling cottage of my joy,

Mill in the chestnut wood,
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’m 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,
Favourite spring of the livestock.
Good-bye, good-bye, I’m leaving,
Hallowed blades of grass in the churchyard
Where my father lies buried,
Saintly blades of grass I kissed so much,
Dear land that brought us up.
Good-bye Virgin of the Assumption
White as a seraph,
I carry you in my heart:
Plead with God on my behalf,
Virgin of the Assumption mine,
Far, very far away hear
The church bells of Pomar;
For hapless me—alas—
They shall never ring again.
Hear them still 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 offshore…
My dear house! My home!

Translation Eduardo Freire Canosa.








Meses do inverno

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.

Translation Eduardo Freire Canosa.



Cold Months of Winter

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.




Translation Eduardo Freire Canosa.






Negra Sombra

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.

Black Shadow


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.







Translation Eduardo Freire Canosa.







Del rumor cadencioso de la onda.

Del rumor cadencioso de la onda
y el viento que muge;
del incierto reflejo que alumbra
la selva o la nube;
del piar de alguna ave de paso;
del agreste ignorado perfume
que el céfiro roba
al valle o a la cumbre,
mundos hay donde encuentran asilo
las almas que al peso
del mundo sucumben.


From the Cadenced Roar of the Waves.

From the cadenced roar of the waves
and the wail of the wind,
from the shimmering light
flecked over woodland and cloud,
from the cries of passing birds
and the wild unknown perfumes
stolen by zephyrs
from mountaintops and valleys,
there are realms where souls
crushed by the weight of the world
find refuge.

Translated by Kate Flores






Ya no mana la fuente…

Ya no mana la fuente, se agotó  el manantial;
ya el viajero allí nunca va su sed a apagar.

Ya no brota la hierba, ni florece  el narciso,
ni en los aires esparcen su fragancia los lirios.


Sólo el cauce arenoso de la seca  corriente
le recuerda al sediento el horror de la muerte.

¡Mas no importa! A lo lejos otro arroyo murmura
donde humildes violetas el espacio perfuman.

Y de un sauce el ramaje, al mirarse en las ondas,
tiende en torno del agua su fresquísima sombra.

El sediento viajero que el camino atraviesa,
humedece los labios en la linfa serena
del arroyo que el árbol con sus ramas sombrea,
y dichoso se olvida de la fuente ya seca.



The Spring Does Not Flow Now.

The spring does not flow now, the stream is quite dry,
No traveller goes to quench his thirst there.
The grass does not grow now, no daffodil blooms,
No fragrance of lilies floats on the air.
Only the sandy bed of the dried-up river
Fills the parched traveller with the horror of death.
No matter; in the distance another stream murmurs
Where timid violets perfume the air.
And willow bough, seeing themselves in the ripples,
Spread about the water the coolest shade.

The thirsty traveller, crossing the highway,
Moistens his lips with the limpid water
Of the stream shaded by the tree’s branches,
And gladly forget the spring now dry.

Translation Muriel Kittel





Yo no sé lo que busco eternamente…

Yo no sé lo que busco eternamente
en la tierra, en el aire y en el cielo;
yo no sé lo que busco; pero es algo
que perdí no sé cuando y que no encuentro,
aun cuando sueñe que invisible habita
en todo cuanto toco y cuanto veo.
Felicidad, no he de volver a hallarte
en la tierra, en el aire, ni en el cielo,
y aun cuando sé que existes
y no eres vano sueño!



I Know Not What I Seek Eternally.

I know not what I seek eternally
on earth, in air, and sky;
I know not what I seek; but it is something
that I have lost, I know not when,
and cannot find, although in dreams invisibly
it dwells in all I touch and see.

Ah bliss! Never can I recapture you
either on earth, in air, or sky,
although I know you have reality
and are no futile dream.




Translation Muriel Kittel.





Dicen que no hablan las plantas

Dicen que no hablan las plantas, ni las fuentes, ni los pájaros,
Ni el onda con sus rumores, ni con su brillo los astros,
Lo dicen, pero no es cierto, pues siempre cuando yo paso,
De mí murmuran y exclaman:
—Ahí va la loca soñando
Con la eterna primavera de la vida y de los campos,
Y ya bien pronto, bien pronto, tendrá los cabellos canos,
Y ve temblando, aterida, que cubre la escarcha el prado.

—Hay canas en mi cabeza, hay en los prados escarcha,
Mas yo prosigo soñando, pobre, incurable sonámbula,
Con la eterna primavera de la vida que se apaga
Y la perenne frescura de los campos y las almas,
Aunque los unos se agostan y aunque las otras se abrasan.

Astros y fuentes y flores, no murmuréis de mis sueños,
Sin ellos, ¿cómo admiraros ni cómo vivir sin ellos?



They Say That the Plants Do Not Speak.

They say that the plants do not speak, not the brooks, nor the birds,
Nor the waves with their roar, not with their brilliance the stars,
So they say: but one cannot be sure, for always when I go by,
They whisper about me and say
“Ah, there goes the madwoman, dreaming,
Of the everlasting springtide of life and the fields,
And yet soon, very son, her hair will be grey,
And trembling, frozen, she sees that the frost is upon the grass

-There are gray hairs in my head, there is frost on the lawns,
But I press on dreaming, poor, incurable somnambulist,
With the eternal spring of life that goes
And the perennial freshness of the fields and souls,
Although some were scorched and although others scorch.

Stars  and fountains and flowers, will not murmur of my dreams,
Without them, neither can one admire –  nor can one live without them.

Translation Kate Flores




Yo en mi lecho de abrojos

“Yo en mi lecho de abrojos
tú en tu lecho de rosas y de plumas;
verdad dijo el que dijo que un abismo
media entre mi miseria y tu fortuna.
Mas yo no cambiaría
por tu lecho mi lecho,
pues rosas hay que manchan y emponzoñan,
y abrojos que a través de su aspereza
nos conducen al cielo.”

I in My Bed of Thistles.

I in my bed of thistles,
You in your bed of roses and feathers,
He spoke the truth who spoke of an abyss
between your good fortune and my wretchedness.
Yet I would never change
My bed for your bed,
There are roses which envenom and corrupt,
and thistles on the road to heaven
though harsh to the flesh.



Translation Edwin Morgan




Sintiéndose acabar con el estío

Sintiéndose acabar con el estío
la desahuciada enferma,
—¡Moriré en el otoño!
—pensó entre melancólica y contenta—,
y sentiré rodar sobre mi tumba
las hojas también muertas.
Mas… ni aun la muerte complacerla quiso,
cruel también con ella;
perdonóle la vida en el invierno
y cuando todo renacía en la tierra
la mató lentamente, entre los himnos
alegres de la hermosa primavera.


Feeling Her End Would Come With Summer’s End.

Feeling her end would come with summer’s end,
the incurable invalid
thought with mingled joy and sadness:
“I shall die in the autumn,
and over my grave I shall feel the rustling
of the leaves that will also be dead.”

But … cruel with her, too, even death
would not oblige her,
sparing her life through the winter
and, when all the earth was being born anew,
killing her amidst the happy hymns
of glorious spring.

Translation Kate Flores




No va solo el que llora

No va solo el que llora,
no os sequéis, ¡por piedad!, lágrimas mías;
basta un pesar del alma;
jamás, jamás le bastará una dicha.
Juguete del Destino, arista humilde,
rodé triste y perdida;
pero conmigo lo llevaba todo:
llevaba mi dolor por compañía.



He Who Weeps Goes Not Alone.

He who weeps goes not alone,
Keep flowing, I beg of you, my tears!
A single burden suffices the soul;
One joy is never, never enough.

Destiny’s plaything, humble speck,
sad and lost I stray;
Nevertheless I carry all with me:
I carry sorrow for company.






Translation Kate Flores





Hora tras hora, día tras día.

Hora tras hora, día tras día,
entre el cielo y la tierra que quedan
eternos vigías,
como torrente que se despeña
pasa la vida.

Devolvedle a la flor su perfume
después de marchita;
de las ondas que besan la playa
y que una tras otra besándola expiran
recoged los rumores, las quejas,
y en planchas de bronce grabad su armonía.

Tiempos que fueron, llantos y risas,
negros tormentos, dulces mentiras,
¡ay!, ¿en dónde su rastro dejaron,
en dónde, alma mía?.





Hour After Hour, Day After Day.


between the earth and sky that keep
eternal watch,
like a rushing headlong torrent
life passes on.

Restore fragrance to the flower
after it withers;
From the waves that caress the beach
and one after the other die in that caress,
gather the murmurs and the complaints
and engrave on plates of bronze their harmony.

Times now past, tears and laughter,
dark afflictions, soothing falsehoods,
Ah, where do they leave their mark,
tell me where my soul!




Translation Muriel Kittel






The Forward to the 1863 publication of Cantares Gallegos (Galician Songs) by Rosalía de Castro.

It is without doubt a great gamble for a poor talent like the one fortune gave me to hatch a book whose pages ought to be full of sunlight, of harmony and of that candour which along with a profound tenderness, along with an unceasing lullaby of kind, caressing and heartfelt words, constitutes the greatest charm of our popular songs. Galician poetry, all music and vagueness, all grievances, sighs and sweet pampering smiles, sometimes murmuring with the mysterious winds of the woods, other times sparkling with the sunbeam that falls delightfully serene on the waters of a sombre river flowing full underneath the branches of flowering willow trees, requires a sublime and crystalline spirit to be sung—if we may express ourselves thus—a fertile inspiration like the greenery that garnishes our privileged terrain, and above all a delicate acumen to acquaint others with so many first-rate glories, so much elusive ray of beauty radiating from every tradition, from every idea expressed by this people whom many dub stupid and whom perhaps judge insensitive or aloof to poetry divine. No one owns fewer of the great qualities required to accomplish so difficult a task than I although equally no one could be found more deeply stirred by an honest desire to sing the wonders of our land in that soft and caressing dialect which is styled barbarian by those who ignore that it surpasses the other languages in sweetness and harmony. For this reason, despite finding myself with little strength and having learned in no other school than that of our poor peasants, exclusively guided by those songs, 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, I ventured to write these songs endeavouring to relate how some of our poetic traditions preserve still a certain patriarchal and primeval freshness and how our sweet and resonant dialect is as suitable as the foremost for every type of versification.

Truly my strength fell far short of my expectations and for that reason, realizing what a great poet could accomplish in this matter, I lament my inadequacy even more. O Libro dos Cantares of Mr. Antonio Trueba, which inspired and encouraged me to undertake this work, crosses my mind like a remorse and the tears almost well in my eyes when I ponder how Galicia would be raised to the place she deserves had Mr. Trueba of the Cantares been the one picked to make her beauty and customs known.

But my unhappy homeland, as unlucky in this as in everything else, must content herself with some cold and insipid pages which barely deserve to stand afar off the gates of the Parnassus were not for the noble sentiment that created them. May even this earn the reprieve of those who will in all fairness criticize my shortcomings for I hold that whoever endeavours to dispel the falsehoods which tarnish and offend her homeland unjustly has earned credit toward some exoneration!

Songs, tears, complaints, sighs, evening twilights, festive pilgrimages and picnics, landscapes, pasturelands, stands of pine, solitudes, river banks or shorelines, traditions, in short everything which due to its essence and colour is worth singing about, everything which had an echo, a voice, a drone however subdued—as long as it came to stir me—I was bold enough to celebrate in this plain book to state albeit once, albeit clumsily, to those who without reason or knowledge despise us that our land is worthy of praise and that our language is not what they debase and stammer in the most educated provinces with derisory laughter (which to speak the truth, however harsh it may be, demonstrates the crudest ignorance and the most unforgivable injustice that one province can commit against a sister province regardless of how poverty-stricken this one might be). What is saddest about this affair is the false image given abroad about the sons of Galicia and about Galicia herself whom they generally judge to be what is most contemptible and ugly in Spain when she is perhaps what is most beautiful and laudable.

I do not wish to hurt anybody’s feelings with what follows although to tell the truth this short outburst could well be forgiven she who was offended so much by everyone. I who traversed several times those lonesome stretches of Castile which call up the desert, I who toured bountiful Extremadura and the vast Mancha where the blinding sun scorches monotonous fields and where the colour of dry straw lends a tired hue to a landscape which fatigues and depresses the spirit without the relief of a single precious blade of grass that might distract the wandering gaze adrift in a cloudless sky as tiresome and unchanging as the land it looks down upon, I who visited the celebrated outskirts of Alicante where the olive trees with their dark green colour planted in rows, which rarely come into view, seem to weep at seeing themselves so alone, and I who visited that famous orchard region of Murcia so renowned and so praised and which tiresome and monotonous as the rest of that country displays its vegetation like landscapes coloured on a piece of cardboard—trees aligned symmetrically in tight rows for the delight of the children—I can not but feel outrage when the sons of those provinces blessed by God with plenty, but not with a beautiful countryside, make fun of this Galicia able to compete in climate and in finery with the most spellbinding countries on earth, this Galicia where Nature is spontaneous and where the hand of man defers to the hand of God.

Lakes, waterfalls, torrents, flower-filled meadows, valleys, mountains, serene blue skies like Italy’s, overcast and melancholy horizons yet always as beautiful as those acclaimed ones of Switzerland, peaceful and sedately serene river banks, stormy capes that terrify and awe because of their gigantic and mute wrath…immense seas…what more can I add? There is no pen that can tally so much enchantment assembled together. 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…and in spite of this such is the dullness of the ignorant, such the ignoble prejudice that wars against our land, that even those who were able to gaze on so much beauty—and we leave aside those who are majority and who mock us without having ever seen us even from a distance—the same ones yet who came to Galicia and enjoyed the delights that she offers dared to say that Galicia was…a disgusting farmhouse!! And these perhaps were sons…of those scorched lands from which even the small birds flee!…What shall we say to this? Only that such inanities about our country resemble those of the French when they talk about their unbroken string of victories over the Spaniards. Spain never, never defeated them; rather she invariably ended beaten, defeated and humiliated; and the saddest part about this is that this infamous lie is currency among them as currency it is among parched Castile, the barren Mancha and every other province of Spain—none comparable in true beauty of their countryside to ours—that Galicia is the most despicable corner on earth. It has been said wisely that everything in this world has requital and so Spain comes to suffer from a neighbouring nation that offended her always the same injustice which she, even more censurable, commits against a humiliated province that never crosses her mind except to debase her further. Much I feel the injuries that the French favour us with, but at this moment I am almost grateful to them because they provide me with a means of making more tangible to Spain the injustice that she in turn commits against us.

This was the main motive that impelled me to publish this book which I know better than anyone begs the indulgence of everybody. Without grammar or rules of any kind the reader will often find writing mistakes, idioms that will jar the ears of the purist; but at least, and to justify these defects to some extent, I took the greatest pains to reproduce the genuine spirit of our people and I think that I have succeeded in some measure…albeit feeble and limp. May heaven decree that somebody more talented than I will describe in their true colours the enchanting canvases which can be found here even in the most secluded and forsaken spot, so that therewith may at least gain in repute, if not in profit, and be regarded with the deserved respect and admiration this unfortunate Galicia!


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