When the 84th anniversary of his death in exile in Collioure (France) had just passed, on February 22, the discovery of a possible unpublished poem brings Antonio Machado back to the present day. The manuscript has been found in the Zugazaga Fund, one of the archives that the Fernán González Institution, Located in Burgos. “We have not finished the conclusions yet, but it seems like an unprecedented discarded Fields of Castile”a work published in 1912, the writer María Jesús Jabato, an academic belonging to this institution, told EL PAÍS by telephone that she confirmed the information provided this Sunday by the Burgos newspaper. Young wild boar He added that this entity plans to publish a facsimile edition of the poem with two expert studies at the end of the year, one of which would be his own.
The Burgos newspaper provides the image of a sheet of paper that time has turned yellow and which, with the letterhead “The Professor of French Language of the Institute of Soria”, includes the Alexandrian verses (of 14 syllables each) of the poem, entitled The old of Castile. “It is highly corrected, with erasures, which makes it difficult to read, but there are 14 verses”, Jabato adds about a composition that begins like this: “One day I was riding along the wide road / that goes from Soria to Burgos, mid-spring, / through these high plains spring is late / to open its pink hands on the brown earth”. A music that clearly refers to fields of castile. “However, it is not a particularly good poem, which is why Machado discarded it. The important thing is its documentary value”, according to Jabato.
To set the context, Machado had arrived in Soria in 1907, where he had obtained the chair of French. “There he probably wrote this poem.” The writer remained in the Castilian city until the autumn of 1912, when he requested a transfer to Baeza (Jaén) after the death of his wife, Leonor, on August 1 of that year due to tuberculosis.
The composition found by this author of the Generation of ’98 is written with a pen in black ink and, as a curiosity, is preceded by the most famous verses of Hamletsby Shakespeare, which the Spanish poet left in his original: “To be or not to be that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer” (To be or not to be, that is the question. If people believe that it is more noble to suffer…). “It was something that Machado had already done on some other occasion,” says Jabato.
The manuscript has been found among the documentation that was owned by Jose Maria Zugazaga Marina, who was the secretary of Manuel Machado, Antonio’s brother. This fund was incorporated only a few months ago to the Burgos institution, whose director, René Jesús Payo, is the one who found the sheet with the poem. “We are still cataloging this fund, but we are already finding more interesting papers”, Jabato advances. The entity informs on its website that the Zugazaga Fund is made up, among other documents, of “autographs, texts, drawings, poems… dedicated by different characters from letters, culture, art and entertainment to José María Zugazaga Marine”. It also houses drafts of The land of Alvargonzález and other manuscripts of fields of castile.
In addition, this institution already had a Machadian Fund with Antonio Machado’s manuscripts and books, writings, letters and other objects that belonged to his brother Manuel. From the first there are notebooks and loose sheets, complete with a few typed or printed ones. The other part of this fund is made up of books, documents, clippings of works published in the press, letters, photographs, works of art and personal belongings of Manuel Machado. This entire set was donated by Eulalia Cáceres, Manuel Machado’s widow, after his death in 1947. Precisely, one of the questions that is now being raised is how the manuscript found ended up in the hands of Manuel Machado’s secretary. What is known is that the two brothers wrote theater together in the twenties and thirties of the last century.
With the Civil War, Antonio Machado went to Valencia in November 1936. He participated in several republican publications and in the II International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture, which was held in various cities of republican Spain in July 1937. In 1939, before Franco’s imminent victory, he went to Barcelona and then crossed the Pyrenees to Collioure, where he died on February 22, a month and a week before the end of the war, and where he left his last and famous verse: “These blue days and this childhood sun.”
The old women of Castile
One day I was riding along the wide road
that goes from Soria to Burgos, mid-spring,
for these high plains the late spring
to open her pink hands on the brown earth.
And it is already mid-April when the greenery is reborn,
where the foals play, where the sheep graze,
[el pescador furtivo apresta sus reteles
y tienen las abejas donde libar sus mieles]*
when the plum trees curdle with white flowers
and the mother stork teaches her children
to use clumsy wings, and at the beginning of May,
Moncayo’s back is still white
And to the man who works the late pegujal
punishes the blizzard and whips the cold wind.
More sun and blue… I prefer the wastelands of Castilla
to the flowery vegas of Córdoba or Seville.