The Pastoral of Pedr’Amigo de Sevilla

One day on my way to Compostela

as a pilgrim a shepherdess I saw.

I’ve seen none so fine in all of my life

nor any that spoke finer than she,

so I composed this pastoral for her.
Right then I said: “Fair maiden,

do you want me as your suitor?

I will give you good Estella veils

and fine Rocamador ribbons

with other presents to please you

and beautiful cloth for a tunic.”
And she said: ” I would not take you

as my suitor, since I never saw you

until this moment. I would not take your

presents either for they are not mine

as I think, if I accepted them,

somewhere some poor girl will suffer.
And if I should see her what would I say,

if she said through my fault she lost

her love and the presents he was bringing?

I don’t know anything I could tell her.

If it were not for this one thing I fear

I cannot say I would not say yes.”
I said to her, “Shepherdess, you are right,

but believe me, if it is not too hard,

but there is no one else in the world

I could love aside from you

and that’s why I am here now asking

if you will take me as your vassal.”
And she said, like a well-educated woman,

“Then I shall accept you as my suitor

and when the pilgrimage is done

come here to the Sar where I live

if you want to take me away, I think

I will go away with you at your expense.

This is a charming little poem I found in an otherwise exceptionally dull book, Leyendas y milagros del Camino de Santiago, by Xosé Ramón Mariño Ferro (Eliaga Ediciones, 2010, p.170). It was written at the time of Alfonso X and is filled with the spirit of courtly love. The word I have translated as suitor is “entendedor” in Spanish and the note from the book is helpful in explaining this:
Entendedor, in the rules of courtly love, is one of the grades or steps in the relation between the lover and his lady. The complete scale is made with the fenhedor or timid; the pregador or supplicant; the entendedor or accepted suitor; and the drutz or lover.
I took this book with me on the Camino that I just completed with my son, walking from Lugo to Santiago in three and a half days. That Camino does not go past the Sar which is the river on the south side of Compostela. The Sar is a river that appears in other love poems and is the title of a famous book of poems by Rosalía de Castro, En las orillas del Sar.

About Jason Preater

Working on Projects
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3 Responses to Pastoral

  1. pierrmorgan says:

    I must admit these last three posts – Dream – Bran’s Business – Pastoral – I’ve been reading your paintings, not the poems. Wonderful.


  2. Some interesting images accompany the text.


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