Never did mysterious moonlight
Pour such a silvery light,
Nor willows in the breezes
Spread out such fragrant odours.
Through the square and through the streets
The young girls go by singing,
And the boys go by behind them
Calling out and clapping their hands.
Improvising a dance song
At the door of every house,
From all over can be heard
The sound of tambourines and bagpipes.
From a league and half around
The young men from the mountain
Salute the fiesta with the light
Of straw beacons on the hills.
The old women of all the town
Come out of the balconies onto verandahs
And the tipsy little children
With their heads shaved,
Jumping and shouting get tangled
In the legs of the dancers.
Tonight the shoemakers
Do not want to take up their tools,
And the girls are not at their sewing,
And the bakers are not kneading the dough.
Tonight in Vilanova
Is the night of the festival;
That is what the town hall decided
And the lord Abbot commands.
The Abbot of Vilanova,
Whom they call don Xan de Barros,
Ordered all the bells to be rung
To call out all the parish.
With his bonnet on his head,
Dressed in alb and stole,
He went up to the pulpit and spoke
To those who were listening below:
“My little brothers, you already know
How four weeks ago
Our Lady deigned
By means of a young girl
To come and visit this town-
To make it her home.
The Lord Bishop of Ourense
Astonished by how much mercy
God was bestowing upon us,
Wanted to see the Holy Image,
But its fame had travelled
So far in this time
That when the Bishop thought
To build her a chapel,
The King, Philip IV,
Who today reigns over Spain in peace,
Concerned that such a famous
Wonder might not be true,
Ordered it to be taken to him
So that he could see it and admire it.
I sent it to him wrapped up
With various other relics.
The king saw it, touched it,
Came back to it to see and touch again
And with his eyes alight
And his tongue hanging out
Doubted what he was seeing,
As doubting Thomas doubted.
Then what did he do? Fearing
That the crystal that enclosed
The Virgin was something
That might have some kind of trick,
He ordered the most famous
Craftsmen to his chamber.
He told them to examine
At ease the crystal
And make formal declarations
Of anything strange they noted.
This was done: silversmiths
And experts of the Royal House,
Men of letters and science
Came together in a hall
Of his palace, in the presence
Of thousands of courtiers,
And after a great study
And boundless admiration
They all together said
That what they had just seen
Was unique in the whole world,
And thus that the crystal and the Santa
Were of divine origin
Since they could find no other explanation.
After this declaration
They all fell down at the feet
Of our Virgin, and then
King, knights and ladies
Made her rich offerings
Of jewels, gold and silver
So that a hermitage could be raised
In the field where she was found.
All these details are given
By the king in a letter
That the courier from Madrid
Himself has just delivered to me.
The Virgin will now come back
To Vilanova: adore her!
And until the stonemasons
Can put up her house
Come and pray to her in this church
Calling her the Virgin of the Crystal.
And now may God go with you,
And in remembrance of this day
Today and tomorrow, God-willing,
No one in the town should work.
The town hall agrees to the same
Consenting to my requests.
The towncrier is charged to proclaim
To you the same order.”
When all the people that had been inside
Came out of the church
Martiño went around to look
For Rosa under her window.
Rosa was in the castle
Surrounded by people,
Because she was pretty
And famed for being saintly
Ever since when watching cows
She found the Virgin in the valley,
Everyone liked her and everyone
Goes to see her and tempt her.
But Martiño is dry
With jealousy like straw
And he can no longer bear
The trouble he himself caused.
That’s why I often see others
In a similar state to this.
But Rosa, either didn’t see him,
Or went the other way to avoid him.
He had been waiting now
A good while under the window
But Rosa wouldn’t come out.
Like someone saying… I just don’t feel like it.
Martiño coughs and coughs…
Martiño sings and sings…
He walks and walks about…
But as for Rosiña… nothing!
At last, when Martiño
Was ready to set off for his own house,
Rosa leant out and then
They exchanged these words:
-Praise God, my Rosa…
Will you give me a little sprig of basil?
-When I am asked for something small
I never deny anything to anyone.
-May God serve you
If you give me my soul;
For since I haven’t seen you for so long
It seems something is lacking.
-Don’t come to me with that story,
Martiño, because… everything finishes…
Don’t you remember now that night
When you called me a traitor?
-Ay! You are giving me a good punishment
And another greater one I was expecting.
I doubted you… a bad friend
Told me…. who would not doubt?
But that crime…cost me
If you could only see… so many tears…
-And did you repent
That cursed night
I told myself: “As clean
As a crytal.” And you spoke well!
Because the other day in the morning,
Without you saying anything else,
I discovered, I had it
In this calloused and rough hand,
I was the one who saw it fall,
I was the one who angrily threw it away,
Without knowing… the devil take it!
How much greatness was within it.
You certainly had good luck!
God wanted it so and his divine
Majesty is very wise.
-Who knows if God was not
Calling me to him in this way,
-What do you say? What are you talking about?
-Do not swear by God, Martiño.
-Are you thinking about dying, girl?
-No, but in the balance it might be the same:
I’m thinking of marrying…!
Since as far as I am concerned… right
Now if you want to.
-It is necessary
To have a dowry: the lord Abbot
Gave his word that he would supply it.
-Dowry? You do not need that.
-Well, I already sold my dresses
And my flowery shawl… everything
So that there can be bagpipes at the party.
-Then you are going to get married?
If instead of selling, you bought…
-The thing is… for my wedding
A shroud is enough.
-What? Get married and then die?
-When one gets married to Christ,
One dies to the world…
You, a nun?
Hush and go away! If it is not me
Let another girl make you happy!
-And so… you are leaving me… Rosiña…?
-Martiño… the Virgin demands it!