The Poem of Queen Esther

The Poem of Queen Esther

The Poem of Queen Esther

The Poem of Queen Esther

Synopsis

This is a translation of a Spanish poem by Jo~ao Pinto Delgado (c. 1585-1653) that is based on the biblical book of Esther. His choice of subject here was not accidental; the murderous persecution of the biblical Jews by the Persian King Haman stands as an obvious analogue to their sufferings at the hands of the Inquisition. Today, it also resonates with the events of the Holocaust. At the same time, this virtually unknown work is an elegant piece of Renaissance writing that bears stylistic and thematic affinities to important poems of the English Renaissance, such as those of Spenser, Sidney, and Marlowe. Slavitt's skillful translation approximates the rhyme scheme of the original and wonderfully evokes the lavishness and sensuousness of Pinto Delgado's suave descriptions. Also included in this volume is a translation of Pinto Delgados shorter poem In Praise of the Lord.

Excerpt

During the 250 years before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain on January 2, 1492, their position had been deteriorating from what it had been during the Golden Age, which extended from the tenth through the twelfth century in Moslem Andalusia. Even in Christian Spain, the rulers had been tolerant and benevolent toward Jews (Fernando 111 of Castile styled himself monarch of three religions and, in the spirit of convivencia, the epitaph on his tomb in the Cathedral in Seville is written in Latin, Castillian, Arabic, and Hebrew). But as Christian Spain grew in strength and the Moors' power waned, that tolerance gave way to nationalism and its expression of religious exclusivity in the Inquisition.

The Marranos were the crypto-Jews of Spain and Portugal who had been forcibly converted to Christianity. In some instances, those conversions were sincere and enthusiastic--Fray Tomas de Torquemada . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.