Yes, please
No, thanks

Folk Songs

donate Books CDs HOME updates search contact

A Madre de Jesu Cristo

Galician Song – Cantiga de Santa Maria n. 209

A Madre de Jesu-Cristo (The Mother of Jesus Christ) is one of the 420 poem-songs called the Cantigas de Santa Maria (Songs to Holy Mary). These Cantigas were written under the aegis of King Afonso X the Wise (13th century) in honor of Our Lady and are accounts of Marian miracles sung in the Galician dialect, which is still to be found in some areas of Northwest Spain and Northern Portugal.

The Cantigas have survived in four manuscript codices: two at El Escorial, one at Madrid's National Library, and one in Florence, Italy. These manuscripts are richly illuminated with narrative vignettes and colored miniatures showing pairs of musicians playing a wide variety of instruments. The compilation of the Cantigas is one of the largest collections of monophonic songs from the Middle Ages and is characterized by the mention of Our Lady in every song, while every tenth song is a hymn.

Cantiga 302, A Madre de Jesu-Cristo, describes how Our Lady discovered a theft that was committed in her church. (1) The thief thought he could get away with the stolen money, but Our Lady prevented him from leaving the church until he gave back the money and confessed his sin before everyone.

It is a reminder that Our Lady protects her own, she who is both merciful and just.

A Madre de Jesu-Cristo is here interpreted by soloist Simone Sorini, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien directed by François Lazarevitch and Maîtrise de Radio France directed by Sofi Jeannin.

Listen to Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien and Maîtrise de Radio France
(live performance)

Old Galician Text (2):

A Madre de Jesú-Cristo,
Que é Sennor de nobrezas,
Non sofre que en sa casa
Façan furtos nen vilezas.

1. E dest' un mui gran miragre
Vos direi que me juraron
Hómees de bõa vida
E por verdade mostraron
Que fezo Santa María
De Monssarrat, e contaron
Do que fez un ávol hóme
Por mostrar sas avolezas.

2. Este con outra gran gente
Vẽo i en romaría,
E acolleu-s' a un hóme
Con que fillou companía;
E quando chegou a noite,
Os dinneiros que tragía
lle furtou da esmolneira
Por crecer en sas requezas.

3. Outro día de mannãa,
Des que as missas oíron,
Os que alí albergaron
Da eigreja se saíron;
Mas el ên saír non pode,
E esto muitos o viron,
Ca non quis Santa María,
Que é con Déus nas altezas,

4. Atá que ben repentido
Foss' e ben mãefestado
E todo quanto furtara
Houvéss' ao outro dado,
E que disséss' ante todos
De com' havía errado,
E saíss' ên con vergonna
Por sas maas astruguezas.

5. Tod' aquest' assí foi feito,
Ca o quis a verdadeira
Madre de Déus pïadosa,
Santa e mui justiceira,
Que non quis que en sa casa
Fossen per nulla maneira
Feitas cousas desguisadas
Nen cobiíças per pobrezas.

English Translation (3)

The Mother of Jesus-Christ,
Who is Lord of noble qualities,
Will not suffer that in her house
Thefts and vile deeds be done.

1. And of this a very great miracle
I will tell you, that was sworn
[By] men of good character
And proved to be true
Which performed Holy Mary
Of Montserrat, and they told
About what a base man did
To show his baseness.

2. This man with many other people
Went there on pilgrimage,
And approched a man
And became his companion;
And when night came,
The money he was carrying
He stole from his alms purse
To grow in his riches.

3. The next morning,
As soon as they heard Mass,
Those who had spent the night there
Went out of the church;
But he could not go out,
And this many people saw,
For Holy Mary, did not allow this,
She who sits on high with God.

4. Until he had sincerely repented
And had publicly confessed
Everything that he had stolen,
And had returned to the other man,
And had declared before everyone
How he had sinned,
And he had left there with shame
Because of his ill-fated deeds.

5. All of this was thus done
Because it was willed
By the Mother of God, merciful,
Holy and very just,
For she did not want that in her house
Be done in any way
Unseemly disguised acts
Nor petty covetousness.

lyrics and music A Madre de Jesu-Cristo

For a high-resolution JPG version, click here.

For a PDF version, click here.

For a facsimile of the original manuscript: page 1 and page 2.

burbtn.gif - 43 Bytes

A Madre de Jesu-Cristo Cantiga 302

  1. Translation adapted from Songs of Holy Mary of Alfonso X, The Wise: A Translation of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, by Kathleen Kulp-Hill, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Tempe, Arizona, 2000.
  2. Text courtesy of Andrew Casson, "Cantigas de Santa Maria for Singers” (Digital Database) here, Cantiga 302 here. Additional text reference to José-Martinho Montero Santalha's 2021 critical edition, here.
  3. Ibid. footnote 1.

Folk Songs  |  Cultural  |  Religious  |  Home  |  Books  |  CDs  |  Search  |  Contact Us  |  Donate

Tradition in Action
© 2002-   Tradition in Action, Inc.    All Rights Reserved