presented bilingually by
Alvaro Cardona-Hine


Spring Has Come

Spanish Lyrical Poetry
from the Songbooks
of the Renaissance

120 pages

6 x 8 inches

ISBN: 1-888809-20-5



One could not have found a better title for this collection than Antonio Machado’s poem—

La primavera ha venido,       Spring has come,
nadie sabe como ha side        nobody knows how it happened

because, as with the season itself, and until very recently, nobody knew how Spanish lyrical poetry had come into being. For a long time, criticism had assumed that Spanish poetry was preponderantly epic. The little flowers in the Songbooks of the Renaissance were a puzzle as to how in the 15th and 16th centuries they came about in such perfect form. Poets such as Gil Vicente and Lope de Vega were much inspired though the tradition behind the songs was not known.

The majority of the poems translated here appeared in cancioneros between 1511 and 1605. They are the written versions of troubadour and common expression. They are what people were singing! Chants, lullabies, minstrel choruses, and the oral tradition passed from mouth to mind. These songs and others would later inspire the lyrical experiments of more contemporary poets such as Antonio Machado, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Federico García Lorca, and others. This bilingual edition includes poems that often seem simple but resonate with depth and an intense feeling for existence, love and death. Cardona-Hine has brought together a collection that one can read over and over in either Spanish or English and have the words brighten the tongue.


These short Spanish lyrics from the Renaissance, and earlier, sparkle with vitality, mystery, and charm. They are reminiscent of later Spanish folk songs and some of Lorca’s Canciones, to which they are obvious distant-ancestors. Cardona-Hine’s introduction discusses their history astutely and usefully. His translations are done with great respect for the originals, but also with great imagination and flair.

— Joseph Somoza

Alvaro Cardona-Hine, writer, painter, and composer, was born in Costa Rica in 1926 and came to the United States when he was thirteen years old, His work has been published in fourteen books of poetry, prose, and translation, and appeared in over sixty literary and national journals and numerous anthologies. He has been the recipient of a NEA grant, a Bush Foundation Fellowship, and a Minnesota Arts Board grant. He makes his living as a painter, selling his work from his gallery/home in Truchas, New Mexico.