Wednesday, August 24


Xácara: Los que fueron de buen gusto

A free translation of excerpts from the Mexican Christmas xácara Los que fueron de buen gusto by Francisco de Vidales (died 1702). The xácara, a self-consciously "rustic" outgrowth of the Mexican baroque, was a extraliturgical religious song in D minor based on a dance form of the same name. It forms a subset of the wildly popular villancico type.

At the Moon Inn,
Next to the Gate of the Sun,
A damsel brought forth from heaven's domain,
To us below a lantern-bright star.
To pay court to us, most gallant of lovers,
God's World was born into snow and ice,
Which took Him gently and graceful,
But without any warmth to cheer Him tonight.

No doubt that Giant divine
Was born to die of His love,
For in hiding His face in human flesh,
He opens up His bleeding heart unto me,
This one from the Trinity
He came to redeem us,
And bent down and entered into Saint Mary the holy,
And became our Holy Savior.

He settled into a cradle of snow,
For nothing is new in His old love,
In the spirit of God moving over the waters.
And that sovereign Cupid was pricked
By the arrow at His very birth,
Dart wounding His flesh,
More easily in naked poverty.
He came to slay death,
Spurred on by love's mortal blow,
And it was because of His very body.
That Bethlehem's gates did not split and fall down
Is a miracle of God:
Oh well may he say, our Giant today,
That here He has truly been born.

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