Here is Gongora’s famous sonnet in praise of his native city, Cordoba, written when he was absent from that place. So there is a mixture of admiration, longing and absence which comes through strongly in this poem. Cordoba is indeed a wonderful city, and fully deserves the praises of the most masterful poet in Spain of that period.
Let’s go to Cordoba, transported by the lines of this sonnet…
¡Oh excelso muro, oh torres coronadas
De honor, de majestad, de gallardía!
¡Oh gran río, gran rey de Andalucía,
De arenas nobles, ya que no doradas!
¡Oh fértil llano, oh sierras levantadas,
Que privilegia el cielo y dora el día!
¡Oh siempre glorïosa patria mía,
Tanto por plumas cuanto por espadas!
Si entre aquellas rüinas y despojos
Que enriquece Genil y Dauro baña
Tu memoria no fue alimento mío,
Nunca merezcan mis ausentes ojos
Ver tu muro, tus torres y tu río,
Tu llano y sierra, ¡oh patria, oh flor de España!
The first eight lines are exclamatory, proclaiming the glories of the city of Cordoba, its majestic walls and towers, its great river, its fertile plains and, of course, its famed writers and soldiers. Then the final six lines of the sonnet are an exhortation to the poet himself, to not forget the city while he is absent, lest his eyes never get to see Cordoba again.
The final line is a wonderful example of Gongora’s great poetic talent of accumulating words, images and ideas into one line of a sonnet while somehow still respecting the required form and rhythm of the poem. The line lists the attributes of the city building up to its designation as the crowning glory of Spain, and so a worthy subject for this great poet.
The Poetry Dude