Curros Enríquez- The Virgin of the Crystal Part II


Near to the city of Ourense,
On the way to Celanova,
Where the wind is warmer
That whips Galician lands,
With a circle of mountains
Skirting around it, an ever green
Flowery vale stretches out,
Covered with aromatic herbs,
Pine woods and woodlands
Rich in fruit and shade.
There at springtime
After coming out of school,
The boys go looking for
Ashes and cytinelle;
And the girls, more delicate,
And not as hardy as them,
Find carnations there
With which to adorn their hair
And, with lavender and catnip,
Make little bunches just to pull them apart.

Right in the middle of this valley,
Covered with ivy and moss,
???????????????????????????????Rise the towers of a castle,
Made in distant times
Of worked stone blocks,
Almost as though gilded by time.
Like this old building
There is no other, according to the tales,
Because they say it was built
By a Moorish princess
Between one sunset
And the following break of day,
And there are still old men who assure you,
And it is possible it could be true,
That below the foundations
That support the high walls,
The Moorish princess left
For whoever had the courage, when she died,
On a balancing beam
Two amazing jugs:
One is filled with tar
And the other with coins and jewels.
So that whoever would want
To set hands on the gold in that treasure,
Would break that jug and die
Burnt black beneath the other one,
Ending up at the same time
With neither one thing or the other.

Next to this castle,
All gathered in together,
Or distributed across the valley
Like a flock of white doves,
With their high windows
Open to the sun that gilds them,
Are found the white houses
Of the town of Vilanova.
Vilanova dos Infantes
Is a town that sounds fine:
There isn’t a cobbler in the world
To match the shoes made here;
Nowhere do they bake
Cornbread the equal of theirs,
And from here the best linens
Head off to the looms.
Here are the most gracious men
And the flower and the cream of women;
In short, here were born, here
And here only, Martiño and Rosa.

Way back in the year of grace
Sixteen hundred and thirty,
The lord of the castle
That can still be seen in Vilanova,
Was don Xácome Mazcareñas,
The lord of fourteen towns.
A man of tired and out-of-date habits,
He lived at the court of the king,
A  Gallego as many there are
Who was repelled by Galicia itself.
He only ever remembered it,
If ever he bothered to,
To collect his rents and rights
With no notice, sending in the law.
For these devilish deeds
He was hated by everyone
And when money, grains and flour,
headed off to Madrid,
There along the road,
On heavily-burdened carts,
The poor people working the fields,
Who could see in those carts
The tiny earnings disappear
Which served to keep their children,
Earned through back-breaking work,
When the wagons were leaving,
Would stop and say to themselves:
“Much good may it do the old tyrant!”

Amongst the low servants
Don Xacome kept
To look after his fields
His animals and his pastures,
Were Martiño and Rosa:
He taking in the harvest,
Ploughing and  pruning
In the gardens, vegetable patches and enclosed lands
And she looking after the cattle
In the neighbouring oak groves.
Of the town only Rosa
Lived inside the castle.
Martin was twenty years old
And Rosa was sixteen,
He was an arrogant young man,
And she was a charming beauty;
They had known no other loves
And although Xan de Ventraces
Followed her with his mouth open
Rosiña took it all as a joke.
Both of them were orphans
With no one in this life to support them,
Both serving the same master
One day they bumped into each other.
From that day, Martiño and Rosa
Felt they were wounded to the soul,
And perhaps that they would die
Of the sickness of melancholy,
If finally they did not succeed
In getting married in the church.

About Jason Preater

Working on Projects
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