Glosa Notes

The Spanish Glosa is known as a mote or retruecano, closely related to the cantiga. In its strict form, it is a poem consisting of a cabeza or texte line or short stanza that states the theme of the poem and followed by one stanza for each line of the cabeza explaining or glossing that line and often adding a refrain as the first or last line or even both.

The cabeza may be any length or rhyme and the poet is free to choose any other form for the glossing stanzas. Loosely the Glosa is a poem that expands on the theme at the opening texte.

Example

Western Wind by Wesli Court

Western wind, when wilt thou blow,
That the small rain down shall rain?
Christ! that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again.

–ANONYMOUS

Western wind, when wilt thou blow?
When shall the rivers begin to flow
Over this ice toward the sea?
When will the branches of the tree
Drop their mantles of rime and snow?
Western wind, when wilt thou blow,

That the small rain down shall rain?
Then may the willows in their train
Loosen their limbs upon the stream;
Then may birdsong burst this dream
Of winter to seek the sprouting grain,
That the small rain down shall rain.

Christ! that my love were in my arms
Where the grass greens and the bee swarms!
She is fair as the mountain heather,
Comely and kind as Maytime’s weather
Over the land after April storms–
Christ! that my love were in my arms,

And I in my bed again
Where gladly I have slept and lain
Upon the pillow of her hair.
When shall I once more come there,
Her breast beneath the counterpane,
And I in my bed again.

One thought on “Glosa Notes

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