Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Marrano Poets of the Seventeenth Century

An Anthology of the Poetry of João Pinto Delgado, Antonio Enríquez Gómez, and Miguel de Barrios
Timothy Oelman
Translated from Spanish

The story of the Marranos (the Jewish converts to Christianity in Spain and Portugal) has long been a source of fascination for Jews interested in their heritage and for all those concerned with the struggle for freedom of conscience against authoritarianism. In this volume are presented the selected works of three Marrano poets, together with translations into English and explanatory notes. Each of the three poets is introduced with a biography and brief critical assessment. In a general introduction the editor explains the historical and literary background of their works and examines the inter-relationship between the Jewish and Christian cultural elements. Drawing on a wide range of published and manuscript sources, he gives a balanced picture of the Marranos and describes the process of Jewish re-education they had to undergo in order to reach their goal of integration with authentic Judaism in the Jewish communities outside the Iberian peninsula.

The three poets-João Pinto Delgado, Antonio Enríquez Gómez, and Miguel de Barrios-are presented against this background as exemplifying three different 'paths to Judaism', which nonetheless have in common the dramatic experience of life under the Inquisition and the halfway house of the Marrano communities. Symbols of exile and insecurity abound. Each poet shares a sense of guilt over his past observance of Christianity and endeavours to reach out towards the authentic sources of the Jewish tradition, such as the Talmud and the rabbinic commentaries, to invest his writings with a greater cultural depth.

The poems in this volume have been selected with the aim of giving a representative view of each individual poet's experience and particular literary talents. Through the translations and notes the general reader is provided with insight into their significance and purpose. The specialist reader, too, will gain from finding the writings of three little-known poets of similar background brought together for the first time and set in context.

Publication details


23.5 x 15.5 cm / 6" x 9"

Pages 296 pages, 4 plates
ISBN 978-0-19-710047-9
Price Hardback - out of print
£16.95 / $29.95 paperback
Date of publication 1982 hardback
4 October 2007 paperback


List of illustrations
The Origins of the Marranos * Crypto-Jews under the Regime of the Inquisition * The Communities outside Spain * The Tradition of Language * The Literary Tradition of Spain * The Jewish Inheritance of the Marranos * The Marrano Poets * Notes

The Texts and Translations
1 João Pinto Delgado
Tres poemas autobiograficos
A la salida de Lisboa * A la despedida de un amigo * En alabanza del Senor
Poema de la Reina Ester
El sueño y las lástimas de Mardochay * La triste consolación de Amán * La oración de la reina Ester * Conclusión
Lamentaciones del profeta Jeremías
Lamentación 1:1 * Lamentación 1:12 * Lamentación 1:13 * Lamentación 2:6 * Lamentación 2:7
La historia de Rut
Canción, aplicando misericordias divinas y defetos proprios a la salida de Egipto hasta la Tierra Santa Notes

2 Antonio Enríquez Gómez
Cuando contemplo mi pasada gloria
La culpa del primer peregrino
Diálogo de Adán y Eva * La injusticia en el mundo
Sansón Nazareno
Sansón encuentra a la tamatea * La oración y muerte de Sansón Romance al divín mártir, Judá Creyente, martirizado en Valladolid por la Inquisición

3 Miguel de Barrios
A la muerte de Raquel
A la segura confianza
Real consideración del hombre La memoria renueva el dolor (Sonetos dobles f�nebres)
Alabanza jocosa a lay Ley santísima en la fábrica de la sinagoga
Providencia particular de Dios sobre Israel
Pregón harmónico del Día del Juicio
Acto sexto de contrición
Acto séptimo de contrición
Imperio de Dios en el teatro universal
Día primero