I Will not have you think me less
Than others of my faith,
Who live on a generous king’s largess,
Forsworn at every breath.
And if you deem my teachings true,
Reject them not with hate,
Because a minstrel sings to you
Who’s not of knight’s estate.
The fragrant, waving reed grows tall
From feeble root and thin,
And uncouth worms that lowly crawl
Most lustrous silk do spin.
Because beside a thorn it grows,
The rose is not less fair;
Though vine from gnarled branches flows,
’Tis sweet beyond compare.
The goshawk, know, can soar on high,
Yet low he nests his brood,
A Jew true precepts doth apply,
Are they therefore less good?
Some Jews there are with slavish mind
Who fear, are mute, and meek.
My soul to truth is so inclined
That all I feel I speak.
There often comes a meaning home
Through simple verse and plain,
While in the heavy, bulky tome
We find of truth no grain.
Full oft a man with furrowed front,
Whom grief hath rendered grave,
Whose views of life are honest, blunt,
Both fool is called and knave.
Santob de Carrion (1290 - 1369) Spain