AE


 

 

Of the same author:

 

A PLEA FOR A KISS
      (1545)

IN DEFENCE OF WOMEN
      (1545)

 

 

Bernat Etxepare

 

He was born in Eiheralarre, a village close to Donibane Garazi (Saint Jean de Pied de Port), capital of the part of Navarre that today forms part of France. This priest was the author of the first book printed in the Basque language in 1545. We know little about his life, but we do know he spent some time in prison, probably accused of political involvement at a time when the kingdoms of France and Castile were jostling to take over the old Kingdom of Navarre. In his book, he gathered autobiographical, religious, amatory and patriotic poems, some of which praise the Basque language.

 


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CONTRAPAS

        Bernat Etxepare , 1545

 

 

Basque,

go forth into the world!

 

Blessed be the land of Garazi;

For it has given Basque

the rank it deserves.

 

Basque,

go forth into the street!

 

Other people thought

it could not be written;

now they have seen

that they were wrong.

 

Basque,

go forth into the world!

 

Among tongues you were

held in low esteem;

but now you shall be

the noblest of them all.

 

Basque,

come forth into the whole world!

 

All the others

are at their zenith.

Now Basque shall rise

above all others!

 

Basque!

 

All hold the Basques in esteem

despite not knowing Basque.

Now all will find out

what Basque itself is like.

 

Basque!

 

If in the past you have been

unprinted,

from now on you shall be borne

throughout the world.

 

Basque!

 

No language shall be found

—be it French or any other—

to be comparable

to Basque.

 

Basque,

go forth and dance!

 

 

Translation: Toni Strubell

Original version: KONTRAPAS

 

© Bernat Etxepare    

© Translation: Toni Strubell    

anonymous

 

centuries
15
16
20

 

alphabetical
list
of the poems