(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

In “Rider’s Song,” one of his most popular short poems, García Lorca has written a parable about the unattainability of goals. The refrain that frames the poem, “Córdoba/ Far away and alone,” indicates in somber tones the rider’s destination. Córdoba in the eleventh century was the capital of Arabic Spain and the richest city in Europe, and for a modern traveler it is still a city of great cultural wealth.

Mounted on a valiant black pony, olives in his saddlebag, the moon lighting his way, conditions seem optimum for the rider. The moon is usually a malevolent figure in García Lorca’s poetry, however, and it soon turns red, the color of violence and blood. “Although I know the roads/ I’ll never reach Córdoba,” exclaims the narrator, and the reader discovers why: “Death is looking at me/ From the towers of Córdoba.” The road seems suddenly long, and the poem ends the way that it began: “Córdoba/ Far away and alone.” The poem takes on special meaning for the reader who knows that García Lorca greatly feared death and was executed at the age of thirty-eight in the midst of a brilliant career.

Rider's Song Bibliography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bonaddio, Federico, ed. A Companion to Federico García Lorca. Rochester, N.Y.: Boydell & Brewer, 2007.

Cobb, Carl. Federico García Lorca. Boston: Twayne, 1967.

Craige, Betty Jean. Lorca’s “Poet in New York”: The Fall into Consciousness. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1977.

Edwards, Gwynne. Lorca: Living in the Theatre. London: Peter Owen, 2003.

Gibson, Ian. Federico García Lorca: A Life. New York: Pantheon, 1989.

Honig, Edwin. García Lorca. Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1963.

Staunton, Leslie. Lorca: A Dream of Life. London: Bloomsbury, 1998.

Stone, Rob. The Flamenco Tradition in the Works of Federico García Lorca and Carlos Saura: The Wounded Throat. Lewiston, N.Y.: E. Mellen Press, 2004.