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Poetic Epigraphy of the Alhambra

“No one has seen a space grander than mine,
Neither in the East nor in the West,
Nor has any king, Christian or Muslim, had before
a fountain that resembled me.
I am like a globe of water that to men
shines forth brilliantly and does not conceal itself:
a great sea enclosed by shores
of the most beautiful, select marble.
My waters are melted pearls that on ice
You see running…”

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“I am not alone: my garden has created such amazement
The equal of which eyes had never seen:
An edifice of glass, the one who sees it
Imagines a fathomless sea and is frightened by it.
All of this is the work of the Imam Ibn Nasr.
May God guard his majesty among the kings.
His family gained glory in the past
By aiding the Prophet and his followers.”

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“In this garden I am an eye filled with delight
And the pupil of this eye is truly our lord
Muhammad [V], praiseworthy for his bravery and generosity
With fame outstanding and virtue graceful;
He is the full moon on the empire’s horizons,
His signs are lasting and his light brilliant
In his abode he is none other than the Sun,
The shade from which is beneficent.
In me he looks from his caliphal throne
Towards the capital of his entire kingdom.”

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«Bendito sea Aquél que otorgó al iman Mohamed
las bellas ideas para engalanar sus mansiones.
Pues, ¿acaso no hay en este jardín maravillas
que Dios ha hecho incomparables en su hermosura,
y una escultura de perlas de transparente claridad,
cuyos bordes se decoran con orla de aljófar?
Plata fundida corre entre las perlas,
a las que semeja belleza alba y pura.
En apariencia, agua y mármol parecen confundirse,
sin que sepamos cuál de ambos se desliza.
¿No ves cómo el agua se derrama en la taza,
pero sus caños la esconden enseguida?
Es un amante cuyos párpados rebosan de lágrimas,
lágrimas que esconde por miedo a un delator.
¿No es, en realidad, cual blanca nube
que vierte en los leones sus acequias
y parece la mano del califa, que, de mañana,
prodiga a los leones de la guerra sus favores?
Quien contempla los leones en actitud amenazante,
(sabe que) sólo el respeto (al Emir) contiene su enojo.
¡Oh descendiente de los Ansares, y no por línea indirecta,
herencia de nobleza, que a los fatuos desestima:
Que la paz de Dios sea contigo y pervivas incólume
renovando tus festines y afligiendo a tus enemigos!»

 

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