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Will Her Love Remember? A Medieval Jewish Love Song

Will her love remember his graceful doe
her only son in her arms as he parted?
On her left hand he placed a ring from his right,
on his wrist she placed her bracelet.

As a keepsake she took his mantle from him,
and he in turn took hers from her.
Would he settle, now, in the land of Spain,
if its prince gave him half his kingdom?”

הֲיִזְכּוֹר יַעֲלַת הַחֵן יְדִידָהּ
בְּיוֹם פֵּירוּד וּבִזְרוֹעָהּ יְחִידָהּ
וְשָׂם חוֹתַם יְמִינוֹ עַל שְׂמֹאלָהּ
וּבִזְרוֹעוֹ הֲלֹא שָׂמָה צְמִידָהּ

בְּיוֹם לָקְחָה לְזִכָּרוֹן רְדִידוֹ
וְהוּא לָקַח לְזִכָּרוֹן רְדִידָהּ –
הֲיִשָּׁאֵר בְּכָל אֶרֶץ סְפָרַד
וְלוּ לָקַח חֲצִי מַלְכוּת נְגִידָהּ?

hayizkor ya’alat haḥen yedidah
b’yom peirud uvizro’ah yeḥidah
v’sam ḥotam yemino ‘al smolah
uvizro’o halo sama tzemidah

b’yom lakḥah l’zikaron redido
v’hu lakaḥ l’zikaron redidah
hayisha-er b’khol eretz s’farad
v’lu lakaḥ ḥatzi malkhut negidah

Translation by Peter Cole
The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492, ed. and trans. by Peter Cole (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), p. 27.

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