To the Most Holy Virgin Under the Invocation of Guadalupe
by FRAY MANUEL NAVARRETE (1768-1809)
From her eternal palace, from the heavens,
One day descended to America,
When in its worst affliction, the great Mary,
Its sorrows to maternally console.
Behold in Tepeyac how watchfully
She frustrates the designs of heresy,
How she extinguishes the fire that flames
From the far French unto the Indian soil!
What matter, then, if proud Napoleon,
With his infernal hosts the world appalling.
Seeks to possess the land of Mexico?
To arms, countrymen: war, war!
For the sacred palladium of Guadalupe
Protects our native land.
The deity of peace have painters skilled
Portrayed with bounteous grace and elegance.
Painting a virgin who with fair white hands
An offering of tender blossoms bore.
Thus were their pencils’ finest excellences
A promise and foreshadowing of this.
The image of Our Lady, which in heaven
Received its colors. Thus beheld it he.
The fortunate Indian, at Tepeyac,
That bare and desolate hill, a miracle.
That unto day has been perpetuate.
Now while the world’s ablaze with lively war,
Seems that affrighted peace has taken refuge
Within the happy households of our land.
reprinted from New Catholic World (p. 194) pub. 1871
José Manuel Martinez de Navarrete was born in Zamora, Michoacán. In The Literary History of Spanish America (pg. 33), author Alfred Coester notes: “This Franciscan friar endeavored to restore poetry by founding a literary society, the “Arcadia mexicana” and by writing anacreontics of shepherds and shepherdesses in the style of the Spanish poet Melendez, but without a hint of sensuality. His eclogues were written on the other hand after the manner of Garcilaso de la Vega. Navarrete displayed more originality, or at least a personal note, in his religious verse. As his style was fluent and musical, he attracted admirers who followed him in his classicism. But they lived to witness the revolution and wrote under its inspiration their more important pieces. The poetic style of the Mexican revolutionary poets is rather better than those of other regions, a fact to which Navarrete’s influence may have contributed.”