Juan Ruiz, Archpriest of Hita trans. Elizabeth Drayson MacDonald
Quiero vos abreuiar la predicaçion,
que sienpre me pague de pequeno sermon
e de dueña pequena e de breue Rason,
Ca poco e bien dicho afyncase el coraçon.

Del que mucho fabla Ryen; quien mucho rrie es loco;

es en la dueña chica amor e non poco.
dueñas ay muy grandes que por chicas non troco,
mas las chicas e las grandes se rrepienden del troco.

De las chicas que byen diga el amor me fiso Ruego,
que diga de sus noblesas, yo quiero las dezir luego,
desir vos he de dueñas chicas que lo avredes por juego,
son frias como la nieue e arden commo el fuego.

Son frias de fuera, con el amor ardientes,
en la cama solas, trebejo, plasenteras, Ryentes,

en casa cuerdas, donosas, sosegadas, byen fasientes,
mucho al y fallaredes ado byen pararedes mientes.

En pequena girgonça yase grand rresplandor,
en açucar muy poco yase mucho dulçor,
en la dueña pequeña yase muy grand amor;
pocas palabras cunplen al buen entendedor.

Es pequeño el grano de la buena pemienta,
pero mas que la nues conorta e calyenta,
asi dueña pequena, sy todo amor consyenta,
non ha plaser del mundo que en ella non sienta.

Commo en chica rrosa esta mucha color,
en oro muy poco grand preçio e grand valor,
commo en poco blasmo yase grand buen olor,
ansy en dueña chica yase muy grad sabor.

Como Roby pequeño tyene mucha bondat,
color, virtud e preçio e noble claridad,
ansi dueña pequena tiene mucha beldat,
fermosura, donayre, amor e lealtad.

Sycha es la calandria e chico el rruyseñor,
pero mas dulçe canta que otra ave mayor;
la muger que es chica por eso es mejor,
con doñeo es mas dulçe que açucar nin flor.

sson aves peguenas papagayo e orior,
pero qual quier dellas es dulçe gritador,
ado-nada, fermosa, preçida cantador;
bien atal es la dueña pequena con amor.

De la muger pequeña non ay conparaçion,
terrenal parayso es e grand conssolaçion,
solas e alegria, plaser e bendiçion
mejor es en la prueua que en la salutaçion.

ssyenpre quis muger chica mas que grande nin mayor,
non es desaguisado del grand mal ser foydor,
del mal tomar lo menos, diselo el sabidor,
por ende de las mugeres la mejor es la menor.
I am going to cut short my preaching to you,
as I have always preferred a short sermon,
a small woman and a brief discussion,
for what is short and well stated is well remembered.

People laugh if someone talks a lot, and laughing too much
suggests madness.
The small woman gives great love, not little.
I exchanged big women for small, but small I will not change,
and neither small nor large regret the exchange.

Love asked me to speak of the good qualities
in the small women he talks of - I shall speak now,
and tell you about small women - take it as a joke.
They are cold as snow yet they burn like fire.

They are cold on the outside, yet they are burning with love.
In bed they give pleasure and sport, they are pleasing and
in the house they are wise, witty, calm and dependable,
much more besides, if you think about it.

A small hyacinth stone shines very brightly;
great sweetness lies in just a little sugar.
In small women lies great love;
the good suitor needs only a few words.

A grain of good pepper is small,
but it comforts and warms more than a nut,
like the small woman, when she gives all her love.
There is no pleasure in the world which cannot be found in her.

As a small rose has a lot of colour,
and a little gold is high in price and value,
as a little balsam smells very strongly,
so great delight lies in the small woman.

A small ruby contains great goodness,
colour, virtue, price and noble clarity;
the small woman has great beauty,
loveliness, grace, love and loyalty.

The calendar lark and the nightingale are small,
but they sing more sweetly than larger birds.
The woman who is small is all the better for it;
she is sweeter in courtship than sugar or flowers.

The parrot and oriole are tiny birds,
but each of them can sing sweetly,
as a beautiful, gifted, valued songster,
like the small woman in the case of love.

Nothing can compare with the small woman.
She is an earthly paradise and consolation,
pleasure and happiness, joy and blessing.
Intimate proof is better than the first greeting.

I have always loved a woman who is small, not large or tall.
It is not foolish to flee the larger evil,
and take the lesser, as the wise man says,
so therefore in women, the least is the best.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. Copyright © Elizabeth MacDonald, 1999 - publ. Everyman