Ars Metrica

Il virtuosismo metrico delle Cantigas de Santa María

This short essay explores the great technical skills of the main poetic work of King Alfonso X, Cantigas de Santa María, starting from the overall analysis of the text metrical patterns, especially of the non- narrative ones, a good part of which are a unique example in the Galician-Portuguese lyric tradition, both religious and secular. After this acknowledgement in terms of metrical virtuosity, the essay focuses on the pattern and distribution of one hundred twenty-nine cantigas included in the code TO —notoriously the most recent of the four existing manuscripts, but also (according to the publisher Mettmann) the one which derives directly from a copy of the archetype— to suggest what the one hundred and three texts in the original collection were like. The survey shows the great variety of metrical patterns characterizing the entire collection which was particularly evident in the first Marian collection, with little contribution from the contemporary Galician and Occitan lyric tradition, confirming the rigour and originality of the literary project set up and carried on under the guidance of the poet-king Alfonso X. Read more