Tres cosas me tienen preso

This poem by Baltasar del Alcazar, writing in the sixteenth century) is uplifting, and I totally relate to the sentiments expressed. The poet expresses his love for three things, tres cosas, – his lover, the beautiful Ines; ham; and eggplant with cheese. (And why not all three at the same time, indeed?)

Tres Cosas
Baltasar del Alcazar

Tres cosas me tienen preso
de amores el corazón,
la bella Inés, el jamón,
y berenjenas con queso.

Esta Inés, amantes, es
quien tuvo en mí tal poder,
que me hizo aborrecer
todo lo que no era Inés.
Trájome un año sin seso,
hasta que en una ocasión
me dio a merendar jamón
y berenjenas con queso.

Fue de Inés la primer palma;
pero ya juzgarse ha mal
entre todos ellos cuál
tiene más parte en mi alma.
En gusto, medida y peso
no le hallo distinción:
ya quiero Inés, ya jamón,
ya berenjenas con queso.

Alega Inés su bondad,
el jamón que es de Aracena,
el queso y la berenjena
la española antigüidad.
Y está tan en fiel el peso
que, juzgado sin pasión,
todo es uno, Inés, jamón,
y berenjenas con queso.

A lo menos este trato
destos mis nuevos amores
hará que Inés sus favores
nos los venda más barato.
Pues tendrá por contrapeso
si no hiciere razón,
una lonja de jamón
y berenjenas con queso.

From <;

The four-line first stanza sets up the premise of the poem’s argument, and is then followed by four eight-line stanzas developing it further. In the first stanza the poem describes how he was totally besotted by Ines for a whole year, hating everything that wasn’t her, until one day someone (Ines?) served him up some ham and eggplants with cheese.

The second stanza takes the story forward, telling how the poet still loved Ines, but found it more and more difficult to work out what he loved the most, between Ines, ham and eggplant with cheese, the answer depending on the moment.

In the third stanza the poet praises the goodness of Ines, the provenance of the ham, from Aracena, and the fact that the eggplant and cheese are traditional Spanish dishes. These qualities are all so superior that the poet conflates them into one object of his love.

And then in the final stanza the poet realises that the advantage of loving all three is that Ines will not act unreasonably as the sole object of his desires, as the poet can always turn to the ham and eggplant with cheese for his satisfaction.

Its always good to have choices…

The Poetry Dude

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