November 13, 2009

Romance del rey moro que perdió Alhama

Romance del rey moro que perdió Alhama
Paseábase el rey moro — por la ciudad de Granada
desde la puerta de Elvira — hasta la de Vivarrambla.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Cartas le fueron venidas — que Alhama era ganada.
Las cartas echó en el fuego — y al mensajero matara,
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Descabalga de una mula, — y en un caballo cabalga;
por el Zacatín arriba — subido se había al Alhambra.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Como en el Alhambra estuvo, — al mismo punto mandaba
que se toquen sus trompetas, — sus añafiles de plata.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Y que las cajas de guerra — apriesa toquen el arma,
porque lo oigan sus moros, — los de la vega y Granada.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Los moros que el son oyeron — que al sangriento Marte llama,
uno a uno y dos a dos — juntado se ha gran batalla.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Allí fabló un moro viejo, — de esta manera fablara:
—¿Para qué nos llamas, rey, — para qué es esta llamada?
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

—Habéis de saber, amigos, — una nueva desdichada:
que cristianos de braveza — ya nos han ganado Alhama.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Allí fabló un alfaquí — de barba crecida y cana:
—Bien se te emplea, buen rey, — buen rey, bien se te empleara.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Mataste los Bencerrajes, — que eran la flor de Granada,
cogiste los tornadizos — de Córdoba la nombrada.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

Por eso mereces, rey, — una pena muy doblada:
que te pierdas tú y el reino, — y aquí se pierda Granada.
—¡Ay de mi Alhama!—

I read this poem and didn't realize that by Moro they meant Muslim. Yeah. All throughout high school I thought Moros were a group of people that Spain fought and won and they were low low people. It was NOT a flattering image of Muslims. It wasn't until I went to college and started going through my notes I realized what I had been reading. Anti Islam literature from that time. Seems like the fear mongering isn't a new thing. I wonder how it got in to the AP curriculum though?

You know what was ironic? we were bashing Muslims and at the time and praising them for their architecture and how they manage to do gardens in the middle of barren lands.

What is your opinion.


NeverEver said...

Spain would NOT be what it is today, nor would the rest of Europe, had it not been for the Moorish occupation.

Arts and sciences flourished under Muslim rule at this time and this was the seed of the Enlightenment that Europe is so proud of.

Anybody who pretends differently is silly. :0P

Ms M said...

Occasionally I think it can refer to a particular group of people, maybe an ethnic group (not sure though) from the Phillipines.

I think you're right that anti-Islamic sentiment isn't new...but being anti changes all the time in terms of what your hatred is directed against. When I say ''your'' I guess I'm referring to societies in general. It must be amazing now for you to look back and see what you were reading.

I never really thought about Islam, nor learnt about it, so I wasn't aware of anti-Islamic sentiments really until after 9-11.

The only think I knew was that whenever Mum would talk about Cat Stevens she would say he was mad for following some weird religion. Her issue was more with religion in general, not Islam specifically. At any rate it didn't turn me off him. He was one of my faves in the 70's and I continued to listen to him right through my life without ever considering Islam and the change he had made in his life until just a few years ago. Sorry for getting off topic a bit.

.::Tuttie::. said...

Ms M. It comes from Morocco but they meant Muslim. Kinda like Arab nowadays means Muslim.

Ms M said...

Thanks Tuttie. Would you believe that I just got this message now. I've been having trouble with my notifications.

Nyyyra said...

Salaam! I came across your blog while I was searching for this poem to use in a paper I'm writing on the Moriscos of Granada.... and I don't know how you studied this poem in your Spanish class, but I didn't interpret this poem as "bashing Muslims" at all. I know the alfaquí turns against the king at the end of the poem, saying that the king got what he deserved, but if anything this poem is an expression of grief. It's written from a Muslim perspective, and if you have looked into the historical background, you would know that the young king of Granada did betray his people in a way. He signed a treaty that allowed him to keep his personal land and riches and handed over the keys of the city to Christian rule. So obviously the Morisco people felt betrayed, and their criticism is directed towards the king for his corrupt ways ("Mataste los Bencerrajes, que eran la flor de Granada,/cogiste los tornadizos de Córdoba la nombrada"). It's an important part of Spanish literature and the AP curriculum because it recognizes the loss and fear faced BY the Moors when their lands were taken with the advent of the Reconquista.
Just wanted to clarify that :)

.::Tuttie::. said...

its not written from a Muslim perspective. the moors may have felt betrayed but they would never use this language to describe the Christians "que cristianos de braveza." The language doesn't add up.

John said...

nilla is correct - this is certainly not racism. The poem is about grief - Moors (which is the term for Muslims who crossed to the Iberian Peninsula from North Africa during the Roman Empire, to clarify) held much of Spain until 1492, bringing with them remarkable technology in agriculture, hydroponics, and architecture. Alhama was a beautiful town near Granada, where the poem takes place. The sultan, upon discovering that Alhama is lost, falls into dispair (indicated by the chorus) and orders an attack on the recently conquered city. The old man alludes to the sultan's corruption (look up the legend of the Bencerrajes - supposedly, they were murdered in the Alhambra because of a family fued by the sultan of Grenada)and suggests that this loss is deserved.

The poem is not written by a Muslim - a romance was a medieval ballad sung in European courts.

The poem is a story - whatever morals we draw from it are our own. I hope this clarifies everything somewhat.