Tres morillas me enamoran en Jaen

Today’s poem is an anonymous late mediaeval folk rhyme from the south of Spain. I would probably place it somewhere in the early to mid 15th century when Southern Spain still had large areas under the control of a Muslim state, but there was significant contact, sometimes peaceful, sometimes warlike with neighbouring Christian territories, trying to win back the whole of Spain for Christendom.

This rhyme is presumably told by a Christian, and it is set in the Andalusian city of Jaen.


Tres morillas me enamoran en Jaén:
Axa y Fátima y Marién.

Tres morillas tan garridas
iban a coger olivas,
y hallában las cogidas de Jaén
Axa y Fátima y Marién.

Y hallában las cogidas
y tornaban desmaídas
y las colores perdidas en Jaén
Axa y Fátima y Marién.

Tres moricas tan lozanas
iban a coger manzanas
en Jaén
Axa y Fátima y Marién.

From <’enamoran_(Anonymous)&gt;

The poet sees three, presumably beautiful, young Moorish girls picking olives near Jaen. Presumably he falls in love with and seduces them , since they are described as fainting and going pale after picking the olives. And in the final stanza, the three girls are described as full of energy (lozanas) as they go to pick apples in Jaen.

This is a very simple, but charming rhyme, and the subject matter gives a real sense of time and place. Very nice.

The Poetry Dude


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