The rooster is crowing for the second time

Imre Ámos: Dreaming rabbi, 1938Imre Ámos: Dreaming rabbi, 1938

Thanks to the inspiring comment of Julia to the post on The rooster is crowing, some fantastic new connections have been revealed between the Hungarian-Jewish folk song and the Sephardic love song.

As I wrote, the thin bond between the two songs is ensured by the piyut Tzur mi-shelo which has lent two Hebrew lines to the first song and the melody to the other one. Their similarities, however, go way beyond this. Both songs have the same scene-setting: a green forest and blooming trees. The time of the day is also identical, the dawn announced by the crowing of the rooster in the first song and by the song of the nightingales on the trees in the second one. This latter motif easily escapes the uninitiated eye, but a reader well versed in old Spanish poetry will recognize a characteristic topos of the genre borrowed from the literature of the Arabic golden age: the nocturnal intimacy of the lovers is ended by the early morning song of the birds that announces the coming of a new day and the lovers' bitter separation.

Another significant feature shared by both poems is that the beloved one appears in the allegoric form of a bird, and that the singer keeps calling this bird with a painful and yearning heart.

But why does she call him? Both poems give the very same quite striking and unexcepted answer to this question: to save her! The word “salvame” explicitly figures in the last verse of the Sephardic song, while the last strophe of The rooster is crowing explicitly links the definite union of the lover and her beloved to the coming of the Messiah, the Savior.

We could not have rounded off more beautifully our round trip revealing the intricate network of relations between the Hungarian Hasidic song, the Sephardic love song and the pious Hebrew liturgical poem.

Aberdeen Bestiary: Perindens

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