Marian lyric in the Cancionero de Baena: Devotional Words for an english Queen.

TWOMEY, Lesley K., «Marian lyric in the Cancionero de Baena: Devotional Words for an english Queen», Romance Notes, 61-2, 2021, pp. 205-216. ISSN: 0035-7995.


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.