Si Garcilaso volviera, 

Part of the continuity of poetic tradition is the recognition in verse by poets of their predecessors and models. In today’s poem, we have a poet of the 20th century, Rafael Alberti paying tribute to one of the great poets of the sixteenth century, Garcilaso de la Vega. But the tribute is not for his poetry but for his status as a soldier and knight. Garcilaso was a commander in the Spanish army, and was killed in active duty when campaigning in Italy when he was in his 30s. The idea of the poet as soldier clearly caught Alberti’s imagination.

If Garcilaso came back to life, I would be his squire, what a good knight he was… A simple idea, finely expressed.

Si Garcilaso volviera,
yo sería su escudero;
que buen caballero era.

Mi traje de marinero
se trocaría en guerrera
ante el brillar de su acero;
que buen caballero era.

¡Qué dulce oírle, guerrero,
al borde de su estribera!
En la mano, mi sombrero;
que buen caballero era.

From <;

Alberti has a romantic view of Garcilaso on his horse with his sword drawn, a kind of real-life don Quijote fighting for good and virtue. Alberti would stand by the horse holding the stirrup, proud to be in service to the great knight, a kind of Sancho Panza.

Although there is no mention of Garcilaso as a poet here, this is clearly a tribute from one fine poet to another.

The Poetry Dude


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