Fragment from Cantar de mio Cid

The Cantar de Mio Cid was written in Old Spanish during the medieval period. The poem’s protagonist, who is affectionately called the Cid, is exiled early on from his native Castile and thus is forced to rebuild his life. After a series of conquests, the Cid takes Valencia, which was in Moorish lands. The following translated verses from the Cantar shine with humanity hundreds of years after their creation for the following reasons, which are not exhaustive: They are lyrical examples of the fruits of fortitude and wisdom. The narrator of the poem draws attention to the beauty of the daughters’ eyes first, before commenting on a Moorish city with endless gems. The Cid serves the women of his family faithfully and earnestly.

Listen to what the Cid said:
“You, beloved and honored woman,
who loves my daughters, my heart, and my soul,
enter our abode in Valencia with me,
this fruit of conquest that I have won for you.”
His wife and daughters kissed his hands,
and were received in Valencia to great acclaim.

With them the Cid approached the castle
and climbed with them to its highest point.
Beautiful eyes looked in all directions,
took in the wide expanse of the city,
at the other extreme had the sea within sight,
and gazed at the garden, which was ample and lush;
they raised up their hands to thank God
for this grace, as it was pleasant and auspicious.

Translated, from the Spanish, by Jonathan Piskor

Jonathan Piskor has worked as a freelance translator for clients in the US and Europe. He graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY with a bachelor´s degree in Hispanic Studies. His undergraduate thesis examined the role of personal integrity in medieval Spain.
The Cantar de mio Cid (author unknown) was written in Old Spanish during the medieval period. Its protagonist is based on Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, a historical figure considered to be the national hero of Spain. The edition of the text used to prepare this translation is from Galaxia Gutenberg-Círculo de Lectores and was prepared by Alberto Montaner.