Cantar de Mio Cid

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El Cantar de mio Cid, literally "The Song of my Cid" (or El Poema de mio Cid), also known in English as The Poem of the Cid, is the oldest preserved Castilian epic poem. Based on a true story, it tells of the Castilian hero El Cid, and takes place during the Reconquista, or reconquest of Spain from the Moors.


¡Dios, qué buen vassalo!

God, what a worthy vassal,

¡Si oviesse buen sennor!

had he but a worthy lord!
  • Mío Çid Ruy Díaz por Burgos entrava,
    en su conpanna LX pendones.
    Exíenlo ver mugieres e varones,
    burgeses e burgesas por las finiestras son,
    plorando de los ojos tanto avíen el dolor.
    De las sus bocas todos dizían una rrazón:
    «¡Dios, qué buen vassalo! ¡Si oviesse buen sennor!»
    Conbidarle íen de grado mas ninguno non osava;
    el rrey don Alfonsso tanto avíe la grand sanna,
    antes de la noche en Burgos dél entró su carta
    con grand rrecabdo & fuertemientre sellada,
    a Mío Çid Ruy Díaz que nadi no l' diessen posada,
    aquel que ge la diesse sopiesse vera palabra
    que perderíe los averes & más los ojos de la cara
    e aun demás los cuerpos & las almas.
    Grande duelo avíen las yentes christianas;
    ascóndense de Mío Çid ca no l' osan dezir nada.
    • My Cid, Ruy Díaz, rode into Burgos.
      His sixty men carried spears, hung with banners.
      Men and women came out, when they appeared;
      Merchants and their wives leaned from their windows, staring,
      Weeping, overcome with sorrow.
      And from their lips, all of them, fell the same prayer:
      “O God, what a wonderful servant, if only he had a decent master!”
      They would have been glad to ask him in, but no one dared;
      Don Alfonso, the king, was far too angry.
      He'd sent the city a notice, received the night before,
      Sealed in dramatic passion, and urgent:
      My Cid, Ruy Díaz, was to be turned away,
      Given nothing. Whoever dared to disobey
      Would lose whatever they owned, their eyes would be torn from their heads,
      And their bodies and souls would be lost forever.
      Every Christian in Burgos was bent in fear
      And sorrow, hiding from my Cid, too terrified to speak.
    • First Cantar, lines 15–30; The Song of the Cid, trans. Burton Raffel (Penguin, 2009), ISBN 978-1101029145
    • Variant translation:
      • Into Burgos rode My Cid, sixty lances in his company, and men and women ran out to see him. The citizens of Burgos, sorely weeping, stood at their windows, and each one made the same lament: "God, what a worthy vassal, had he but a worthy lord!" Gladly would they have sheltered him, but none dared, so fearful they of the great wrath of Don Alfonso the King, for his edict had come that day to Burgos, well guarded and strongly sealed with the royal seal, commanding that none give shelter to My Cid Ruy Diaz, and that he who did so would surely lose his goods, his eyes besides, his body even, and his soul! All Christian people with grief were stricken; all fled the presence of My Cid and no one dared bespeak him.
        • The Poem of the Cid, trans. Lesley Byrd Simpson (University of California Press, 1957), ISBN 978-0520250109

Quotes about Cantar de Mio Cid[edit]

  • It is unquestionably the oldest poem in the Spanish language. In my judgement, it is as decidedly and beyond all comparison the finest.
  • As the historian of manners, this poet, whose name unfortunately has perished, is the Homer of Spain.

External links[edit]