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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Blog guest - Jennifer Morton - I ode her this

From time to time, I’ll be featuring blog guests with the name Morton. This stemmed from my discovery of all those Mortons and Moretons on HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar (see the end of my post here )

First up, then, close to home, is Jennifer, my wife of forty years.  She sold the following to The Coastal Press here in Spain and it was published in the September 2005 edition. I’ve edited the first line of the introduction only, which referred to the 400th anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote.


Jennifer Morton
Don Quixote - Wiki-common 
It is 409 years since the publication of Part I of Don Quixote. Perhaps this offering may be of interest, particularly to those who have an understanding of some Spanish and haven’t read the book – 672 pages in Spanish, 765 pages in English. (Part II of Don Quixote didn’t appear until 1615). The following macaronic poem briefly tells the famous story.

Macaronic poetry was coined in the sixteenth century by the Italian poet Teofilo Folengo. He was referring to a kind of burlesque verse he invented in which Italian words were mixed in with Latin ones for comic effect. Macaronic as a word first appeared in English a century later and expanded its scope to refer to any form of verse in which two or more languages were mixed together.

There lived a man in days of yore, Quijote was his nombre,
He was a very gallant and inestimable hombre.

To while his time he read great tomes of noble knights andantes,
Of quarrels, battles, challenges ’gainst moros and gigantes.

He read by day and night until his reason was perdido;
But none could turn him from his quest for he was decidido

To roam the world and right all wrongs and seek for aventuras.
His friends, the barber and the priest, avowed this was locura.

“We'll burn his books!” They burned his books. It made no diferencia;
He'd rescue damsels in distress and hang the consecuencias!
He cleaned his armour till it shone, a helm, a shield, a lanza,
And took to squire a village-man, by name of Sancho Panza.
His nag, bare flesh and bones, but brave, he dubbed him Rocinante.
 “My trusty steed!” he cried, “With you, I’ll conquer mil gigantes!”
Now who could be the lady fair for knight so muy famoso,
But Dulcinea? A country lass who hailed from El Toboso.
And so, our bold, intrepid knight, Quijote, and his Sancho
Set out ere dawn one summer's day, ‘cross plains of broad La Mancha.
With giants he fought, though they were nought but sails of a molino.
A barber’s basin chanced he by, the Helmet of Mambrino.
More giants in dreams he fought with sword, which really made him angry;
But, waking, found he'd pierced some sacks of wine which flowed like sangre!

Why masters beat their serving boys, he could not comprender;
And wretches chained to slave in galleys rough, he'd defender.
Revenge, alas, was sweet but short, his efforts all en vano,
For those he freed abused him, stoned and scorned our good cristiano.
And knights come to the end of days, and one morn on the playa
The White Moon Knight approached him and did shout, “Your Dulcinea”
“Is not as fair as my lady!” Our Don, with face severo,
Could scarce believe the arrogance of this brash caballero!
The challenge he accepts. They charge; White Moon unseats our Don.
“My honour’s slain, so kill me now!” He bares his corazon!
“No, Sir Knight! I'm content with this! Dulcinea is muy hermosa!
But you must retire, give up your arms, go home, return to your casa!”
With sorrowful countenance, Don Quijote confessed he had been muy loco.
But now he was sane and smiled again; but knew that his time was poco.
He made his peace with Sancho, his niece, the curate, the barber, and then
He sighed one last sigh and en lágrimas died, and went to his Maker. Amén!
Nombre – name
Hombre – man
Andantes – walking
Moros – moors
Gigantes – giants
Perdido – lost
Decidido – decided
Locura – madness
Lanza – lance
Muy famoso – very famous
Molino – windmill
Sangre – blood
Comprender – understand
Defender – defend
Cristiano – christian
Playa – beach
Severo – severe
Caballero – knight
Corazón – heart
Hermosa – beautiful
Casa – house
Muy loco – very mad
Poco – little, few
En lágrimas – in tears

Jennifer attended Bolton Girls' School and then Newcastle University, obtaining her degree in Spanish. She met Nik February, 1973 and they were married one year to the day after. Nik was in the Royal Navy and he was drafted to Malta, where they both stayed for 18 months, returning to UK for the birth of their daughter Hannah in 1976. Jennifer taught history, music, French and Spanish in schools then became a college lecturer in Spanish. She and Nik emigrated to Spain in 2003 where she soon took up singing in choirs and became the MD of the ladies' choir Cantabile in 2007. She has completed a novel, The Wells Are Dry, a romantic thriller set in contemporary Spain and is looking for a publisher or agent for that. When not preparing for choir performances, she writes poetry and short stories and has embarked on a historical novel set in 10th Century Spain.

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