'Lament For Ignacio Sanchez Mejias' by Federico García Lorca

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1. Cogida and deathAt five in the afternoon.It was exactly five in the afternoon.A boy brought the white sheetat five in the afternoon.A frail of lime ready preparedat five in the afternoon.The rest was death, and death alone.The wind carried away the cottonwoolat five in the afternoon.And the oxide scattered crystal and nickelat five in the afternoon.Now the dove and the leopard wrestleat five in the afternoon.And a thigh with a desolated hornat five in the afternoon.The bass-string struck upat five in the afternoon.Arsenic bells and smokeat five in the afternoon.Groups of silence in the cornersat five in the afternoon.And the bull alone with a high heart!At five in the afternoon.When the sweat of snow was comingat five in the afternoon,when the bull ring was covered with iodineat five in the afternoon.Death laid eggs in the woundat five in the afternoon.At five in the afternoon.At five o'clock in the afternoon.A coffin on wheels is his bedat five in the afternoon.Bones and flutes resound in his earsat five in the afternoon.Now the bull was bellowing through his foreheadat five in the afternoon.The room was iridiscent with agonyat five in the afternoon.In the distance the gangrene now comesat five in the afternoon.Horn of the lily through green groinsat five in the afternoon.The wounds were burning like sunsat five in the afternoon.At five in the afternoon.Ah, that fatal five in the afternoon!It was five by all the clocks!It was five in the shade of the afternoon!2. The Spilled BloodI will not see it!Tell the moon to come,for I do not want to see the bloodof Ignacio on the sand.I will not see it!The moon wide open.Horse of still clouds,and the grey bull ring of dreamswith willows in the barreras.I will not see it!Let my memory kindle!Warm the jasminesof such minute whiteness!I will not see it!The cow of the ancient worldpassed har sad tongueover a snout of bloodspilled on the sand,and the bulls of Guisando,partly death and partly stone,bellowed like two centuriessated with threading the earth.No.I will not see it!Ignacio goes up the tierswith all his death on his shoulders.He sought for the dawnbut the dawn was no more.He seeks for his confident profileand the dream bewilders himHe sought for his beautiful bodyand encountered his opened bloodDo not ask me to see it!I do not want to hear it spurteach time with less strength:that spurt that illuminatesthe tiers of seats, and spillsover the cordury and the leatherof a thirsty multiude.Who shouts that I should come near!Do not ask me to see it!His eyes did not closewhen he saw the horns near,but the terrible motherslifted their heads.And across the ranches,an air of secret voices rose,shouting to celestial bulls,herdsmen of pale mist.There was no prince in Sevillawho could compare to him,nor sword like his swordnor heart so true.Like a river of lionswas his marvellous strength,and like a marble torosohis firm drawn moderation.The air of Andalusian Romegilded his headwhere his smile was a spikenardof wit and intelligence.What a great torero in the ring!What a good peasant in the sierra!How gentle with the sheaves!How hard with the spurs!How tender with the dew!How dazzling the fiesta!How tremendous with the finalbanderillas of darkness!But now he sleeps without end.Now the moss and the grassopen with sure fingersthe flower of his skull.And now his blood comes out singing;singing along marshes and meadows,sliden on frozen horns,faltering soulles in the miststoumbling over a thousand hoofslike a long, dark, sad tongue,to form a pool of agonyclose to the starry Guadalquivir.Oh, white wall of Spain!Oh, black bull of sorrow!Oh, hard blood of Ignacio!Oh, nightingale of his veins!No.I will not see it!No chalice can contain it,no swallows can drink it,no frost of light can cool it,nor song nor deluge og white lilies,no glass can cover mit with silver.No.I will not see it!3. The Laid Out BodyStone is a forehead where dreames grievewithout curving waters and frozen cypresses.Stone is a shoulder on which to bear Timewith trees formed of tears and ribbons and planets.I have seen grey showers move towards the wavesraising their tender riddle arms,to avoid being caught by lying stonewhich loosens their limbs without soaking their blood.For stone gathers seed and clouds,skeleton larks and wolves of penumbra:but yields not sounds nor crystals nor fire,only bull rings and bull rings and more bull rings without walls.Now, Ignacio the well born lies on the stone.All is finished. What is happening! Contemplate his face:death has covered him with pale sulphurand has place on him the head of dark minotaur.All is finished. The rain penetrates his mouth.The air, as if mad, leaves his sunken chest,and Love, soaked through with tears of snow,warms itself on the peak of the herd.What is they saying? A stenching silence settles down.We are here with a body laid out which fades away,with a pure shape which had nightingalesand we see it being filled with depthless holes.Who creases the shroud? What he says is not true!Nobody sings here, nobody weeps in the corner,nobody pricks the spurs, nor terrifies the serpent.Here I want nothing else but the round eyesto see his body without a chance of rest.Here I want to see those men of hard voice.Those that break horses and dominate rivers;those men of sonorous skeleton who singwith a mouth full of sun and flint.Here I want to see them. Before the stone.Before this body with broken reins.I want to know from them the way outfor this captain stripped down by death.I want them to show me a lament like a riverwich will have sweet mists and deep shores,to take the body of Ignacio where it looses itselfwithout hearing the double planting of the bulls.Loses itself in the round bull ring of the moonwhich feigns in its youth a sad quiet bull,loses itself in the night without song of fishesand in the white thicket of frozen smoke.I don't want to cover his face with handkerchiefsthat he may get used to the death he carries.Go, Ignacio, feel not the hot bellowingSleep, fly, rest: even the sea dies!4. Absent SoulThe bull does not know you, nor the fig tree,nor the horses, nor the ants in your own house.The child and the afternoon do not know youbecause you have dead forever.The shoulder of the stone does not know younor the black silk, where you are shuttered.Your silent memory does not know youbecause you have died foreverThe autumn will come with small white snails,misty grapes and clustered hills,but no one will look into your eyesbecause you have died forever.Because you have died for ever,like all the dead of the earth,like all the dead who are forgottenin a heap of lifeless dogs.Nobady knows you. No. But I sing of you.For posterity I sing of your profile and grace.Of the signal maturity of your understanding.Of your appetite for death and the taste of its mouth.Of the sadness of your once valiant gaiety.It will be a long time, if ever, before there is bornan Andalusian so true, so rich in adventure.I sing of his elegance with words that groan,and I remember a sad breeze through the olive trees.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Lament For Ignacio Sanchez Mejias: A Masterpiece of Grief and Remembrance

As I read Federico García Lorca's "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias," I am struck by the raw emotion and vivid imagery that fill each line. This poem, written in honor of a deceased friend and fellow poet, is a moving tribute to the power of love and loss to shape our lives.

The Context of the Poem

Before diving into the poem itself, it is important to understand the context in which it was written. Ignacio Sanchez Mejias was a renowned torero, or bullfighter, who was well-respected in Spain in the early 20th century. He was also a friend of Federico García Lorca, who was a poet, playwright, and artist. In 1934, Sanchez Mejias was gored by a bull during a fight and died soon after. Lorca was devastated by the loss of his friend, and "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" was his way of processing that grief.

The Poem's Structure

The poem is divided into five sections, each of which deals with a different aspect of Sanchez Mejias' life and death. The first section is an introduction to the poem, while the second and third sections focus on the bullfighting world that Sanchez Mejias inhabited. The fourth section is a more personal reflection on Lorca's friendship with Sanchez Mejias, while the fifth and final section is a mournful elegy for the deceased torero.

The Imagery of the Poem

One of the most striking aspects of "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" is its vivid imagery. Lorca describes the bullfighting world in detail, using sensory language to bring it to life. In the second section of the poem, for example, he writes:

The air of Andalusian Rome
Gilded and nailed to the ground
With shining suns and gladiators.

These lines create a picture of the bullfighting arena, with its golden light and brave fighters. Lorca uses the metaphor of gladiators to emphasize the danger and heroism of the toreros, who face off against powerful bulls.

In the third section of the poem, Lorca shifts his focus to the bull itself. He describes the animal in detail, using language that is both beautiful and brutal:

Four blossoms of blood on the ivory
Of a torso that is buckled with fury.

These lines create a stark image of the bull, with its ivory tusks and powerful rage. Lorca's use of the word "blossoms" adds a touch of beauty to the description, but also serves to underline the violence and bloodshed of the bullfight.

Lorca's Personal Reflections

While much of the poem is devoted to the bullfighting world and the death of Sanchez Mejias, Lorca also takes the time to reflect on his own relationship with the torero. In the fourth section of the poem, he writes:

I want to cry because I feel
That we have lost the purest
Mirror of the people of Spain.

These lines reveal Lorca's deep sense of loss and sadness at the death of his friend. He sees Sanchez Mejias as a symbol of the best qualities of the Spanish people, and mourns the loss of that ideal.

The Final Elegy

The fifth and final section of the poem is a mournful elegy for Sanchez Mejias. Lorca uses language that is both beautiful and heart-wrenching to describe the torero's passing:

And now you are lost in the memory
Of all hearts as a cry
Against the invader and the fog.

These lines create a sense of finality and loss, as Lorca imagines Sanchez Mejias fading into memory as a symbol of resistance and hope against dark forces.


Overall, "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" is a masterpiece of grief and remembrance. Lorca's vivid imagery, personal reflections, and mournful elegy combine to create a powerful tribute to a lost friend and a vanishing way of life. As I read this poem, I am reminded of the power of art to help us process our emotions and find meaning in the midst of loss.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias: A Masterpiece of Spanish Poetry

Federico García Lorca, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, wrote the classic poem "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" in 1935. The poem is a tribute to the famous bullfighter Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, who died in the ring in 1934. Lorca's elegy is a masterpiece of Spanish poetry, combining powerful imagery, intense emotions, and a deep understanding of the human condition.

The poem is divided into five sections, each of which explores a different aspect of Ignacio's life and death. The first section sets the scene, describing the bullfighting arena and the crowd's anticipation. Lorca's language is vivid and evocative, painting a picture of the spectacle that is about to unfold. He writes:

"At five in the afternoon. It was exactly five in the afternoon. A boy brought the white sheet at five in the afternoon. A frail of lime ready prepared at five in the afternoon."

The repetition of "at five in the afternoon" creates a sense of inevitability, as if the events that are about to unfold are predestined. The image of the "frail of lime" is particularly striking, as it suggests both the fragility of life and the brutality of death.

The second section of the poem focuses on Ignacio's life and career as a bullfighter. Lorca describes him as a "man of bronze" who "carried his death with him." He also notes that Ignacio was a poet and a musician, suggesting that he was a complex and multifaceted individual. Lorca's language is both reverent and mournful, as he laments the loss of such a talented and charismatic figure.

The third section of the poem is perhaps the most powerful, as Lorca describes Ignacio's death in graphic detail. He writes:

"He was seeking death with the soul of a child in the waistband of his dawn pants."

This image of Ignacio as a child, vulnerable and innocent, is a stark contrast to the image of him as a fearless bullfighter. Lorca also uses animal imagery to describe the bull's attack, writing that it "opened a gash above the ear. / Mad death and brutal fever / throttled him inside."

The fourth section of the poem is more introspective, as Lorca reflects on the meaning of Ignacio's death. He writes:

"I sing of his elegance with words that groan, and I remember a sad breeze through the olive trees."

This image of the "sad breeze" is a metaphor for the fleeting nature of life, and the inevitability of death. Lorca also suggests that Ignacio's death was a sacrifice, writing that "he died without understanding / the bull's furious horn."

The final section of the poem is a lament for Ignacio's passing, as Lorca mourns the loss of such a talented and charismatic figure. He writes:

"Four melancholy notes are played on the bugle, and the bullfighter's death is mourned with a fine elegy."

This image of the bugle playing a mournful tune is a powerful one, evoking the solemnity and sadness of the occasion. Lorca also suggests that Ignacio's death was a loss not just for his family and friends, but for the entire country. He writes:

"Spain, what a mournful sepulchre, what black elegies, what tears, on this afternoon of bullfighting and song."

This final image of Spain as a "mournful sepulchre" is a poignant one, suggesting that Ignacio's death was a tragedy that affected the entire nation.

In conclusion, "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" is a masterpiece of Spanish poetry, combining powerful imagery, intense emotions, and a deep understanding of the human condition. Lorca's elegy is a tribute to a talented and charismatic figure, but it is also a meditation on the meaning of life and death. The poem is a testament to Lorca's skill as a poet, and to his ability to capture the essence of a moment in time. It is a work of art that will continue to resonate with readers for generations to come.

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