No Comment, Quotation — December 24, 2008, 8:41 am

Góngora’s Nativity

velazquez-adoration

Pender de un leño, traspasado el pecho,
y de espinas clavadas ambas sienes,
dar tus mortales penas en rehenes
de nuestra gloria, bien fue heroico hecho;
pero más fue nacer en tanto estrecho,
donde, para mostrar en nuestros bienes
a donde bajas y de donde vienes,
no quiere un portalillo tener techo.

No fue ésta más hazaña, oh gran Dios mío,
del tiempo por haber la helada ofensa
vencido en flaca edad con pecho fuerte

(que más fue sudar sangre que haber frío),
sino porque hay distancia más inmensa
de Dios a hombre, que de hombre a muerte.

Read an English translation here

Luis de Góngora, Al nacimiento de Cristo, nuestro Señor (ca. 1617)

Listen to the traditional Castellian Villancico “Riu riu chiu,” traditionally sung on Christmas Eve, in a setting by Mateo Flecha el Viejo from about 1550, performed here by Kalenda Maya, a Norwegian group specializing in music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

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