'I, who am the author of this poem, am looking for a hero; it is an extraordinary thing that I can not find him, when almost every day we are presented with one to whom the gazettes and feathers serve as trumpets of glory, until eventually time discovers that such a hero is not the real one. '
[Lord Byron (1)]
I'll be honest: I do not know if Lord Byron was ever in Madrid. But if he did, I know that he would have been honest enough, to recognize in the people of Madrid, not just a people, but a race with such special characteristics, as to be able to find, not only heroes, like the one who was looking at the beginning of his fascinating work and that serves as a prologue to the present article, but also antiheroes, villains, happy carriers of the Ways -that like Rome, here also lead all to Santiago- ganapanes and cortadillos and of course, a legion , if not devils, like those who took over with impunity the body of the little exorcist girl-Peter Blatty, dixit-of worthy and long-suffering candidates, staunch hooligans from the south end of the bedrooms of Mrs. Purest Seduction.
I also know, and yet I am honored to suppose it, that some fairly accurate knowledge had to have our poetic Lord, of that other Spain, heterodox, magical and transgressive spirit - that even today, after centuries, refuses to remain mummified in the catacombs of oblivion - which also defines us, because it never ceases to amaze me, and at the same time, procure a pleasant thrill every time I have occasion to reread it, that unforgettable passage of the wonderful pilgrimages of Childe Harold, in which the hero , embarked in the direction of the homeland of Homer-Itaca, in you I trust and in your hands I put-warns, when passing through the Strait of Calpe, with the 'sinister mountains of Mauritania' as a backdrop, that of: '. ..the pale light of Hecate illuminates at the same time the country inhabited by the ibera with black eyes and the ebony complexion ... '(2).
Sun and shadow are, then, and in the interlude between one and the other, we let ourselves be carried away by the umbrella of romanticism, under whose waterproof fabric the legends also take shelter; because in the end, these are the legends, the lyric and the epic of the people and sometimes, without losing sight of that metaphorical nest of the cuckoo, about which they say that someone flew, are also the burladero that serves as a parapet to the murderous onslaught of that brave miura, which is the liberated rationalism of the sons of Voltaire, advocating to make them part of our lives and a yellow ribbon in the oak of our own idiosyncrasy.
It is in this way, going against the current to not lose good habits, as I wish to present you this small artistic and cultural shelter - this last one, it is essential not to forget it - far from the conventions to which they pretend to cling and see in the figure of Jacobo Gratti, the Gentleman of Grace, not the blessed knight who they say spent his whole life kneeling praying to God in the heights, but that human Don Juan, very similar to Raymond Lulio and if they hurry me, even to Saul himself - if they have Some doubt, ask in Tarsus- that also saw the light in that crucial moment of life, in which man-I want, but I can not-is on the way to star in the last stage of the riddle of the Sphinx and its pleasures, more spiritual and mundane, they console themselves -experience already vain- in thinking that any past time was better.
Notes, References and Bibliography:
(1) Lord Byron: 'Don Juan', Collection 100 universal classics. J.Pérez del Hoyo, Editor. Madrid, 1970.
(2) Lord Byron: 'The Pilgrimages of Childe Harold', Second Canto, Section XXII. S.A. of Promotions and Editions, Club Internacional del Libro, Madrid, 1983, page 47.
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[Martial, latin poet]
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