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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Martín Fierro, by José Hernández (unabridged full version)

Martin Fierro, Cover

The Martín Fierro is an epic poem by Argentine writer  José Hernández, originally appearing in two parts: El Gaucho Martín Fierro (1872) and La Vuelta de Martín Fierro (1879). The poem portrays the  historical contribution by the "gauchos" to the national development of Argentina and its independence from the Spanish crown. The poem is one of the pinnacles in Argentinian literature and a cornerstone of its literary national identity, like a Don Quixote or a Divine Comedy, to put it in due perspective. 

The poem's hero, Martín Fierro, is a poor, free spirited gaucho (a term describing residents of the South American  Pampas or Patagonian grassland, akin to the North-American cowboy) who is forcibly drafted to serve at a border fort defending against the indigenous, native Indian attacks. He eventually deserts, and becomes a gaucho matrero, an outlaw...

Aquí me pongo a cantar,
al compás de la vigüela
que al hombre que lo desvela
una pena estrordinaria,
como la ave solitaria
con el cantar se consuela.

First strophe of the Martín Fierro.

Full version, in Spanish and on Gutenberg.

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