Marian lyric in the cancionero de baena: Devotional words for an English queen

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This article considers the unique inclusion of words in Middle English purportedly spoken by Catherine of Lancaster in a “dezir” or propagandistic poem by Francisco Imperial collected in the Cancionero de Baena. It then examines the use of Latin hymn and liturgical texts in the two introductory “cantigas” by Alfonso Álvarez de Villasandino. Catherine’s call to the Virgin in the words of the Salve, Regina is replicated in the second of the cantigas, whilst the first relies on the most frequently found Marian hymns for its choices of Latin verses. The article shows that although bilingualism was common in Castile, it was not common in Marian lyric. It proposes that Catherine’s well-known devotion to the Virgin may have inspired Villasandino but almost certainly inspired Juan Alfonso de Baena’s choice of these two cantigas for his compilation presented to Juan II, her son.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)205-215
Number of pages11
JournalRomance Notes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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