Poems MSS / layout Miracles Keywords Poncelet Bibliography Search

View poem data

For the purposes of the new edition, every poem has been assigned a unique short title. The original short titles, taken eclectically from a number of sources, are retained as alternative short titles.
For new critical texts of the poems, return to the listing page and click on the poem number, or go to the archive of texts .
For epigraphs and layout information click on the appropriate manuscript location.
For information on Latin and vernacular sources of miracle stories follow the links to Miracles and collections. Follow the links to the appropriate pages of Todd McComb and Pierre Roberge's online discography, to the BITAGAP archive, and to linked entries in the Bibliography.
Home Page

Back to list
CSM Number : 245
Short name: The Hostage who was Released Alternative: Man held hostage is freed
Incipit: O que en coita de morte
Refrain: O que en coita de morte/ mui grand’ ou en prijon for/ cham’ a Virgen groriosa/ madre de Nostro Sennor.
Summary of narrative
View Options: (Narrative Miniature Narrative & Miniature Miniature & Caption Narrative, Miniature & Both Captions )
Setting: the Castle of Neiva and the banks of the River Lima in São Salvador da Torre Protagonist(s): a man held prisoner by a band of thieves

In Portugal, between the Douro and Minho Rivers, there roamed a band of thieves, made up of knights, squires, and foot soldiers. The one who robbed the most was held in highest esteem.\r\nIn São Salvador da Torre, a man lived a good life and served the Virgin. He often went to say his prayers in a chapel dedicated to her and he decorated it with flowers.

One day, thinking that he was rich, the robbers seized this man. They put him on a ship and carried him across the river, intending to hold him for ransom.\r\nThey abused him and held him in the castle of Neiva. He was beaten continuously and the castellan threatened to kill him if he would not hand over his possessions.\r\nHe tortured him, stretching him out on a beam and pouring cold water over his body, which was already black with wounds. When they threatened to capture his wife and children, the man promised to give them a thousand Leonese soldas, but they rejected his offer.

The man prayed to the Virgin to save him and she entered the castle. In plain view of all of them, she untied him and told him that she was coming to save him because he had served her in her chapel. His captors were powerless and pale with fright. The Virgin took the man out of the castle and led him to the banks of the Lima River. She instructed him to cross it and to go to the monastery and tell the friars and the prior what had happened.

The man was afraid of the deep water, but the Virgin exhorted him to trust her and he began to wade. His feet did not even get wet and he suffered no harm. After he had crossed the river, he entered the monastery and, before the break of day, prostrated himself before a statue of the Virgin.

When the friars came in for matins, they looked at him in wonder. They couldn’t believe that he had entered because the placed was shut soundly. He told them what had happened and vowed to serve the Virgin even more zealously.

Even the castellan of Neiva and the band of rogues acknowledged the miracle. Each one repented and none of them ever committed evil deeds again.

Metrical data
Stanza: 15 15 15 15 Refrain: 15 15
No. of Stanzas: 25
Rhyme scheme: AA | bbba Zejel: Yes
MS locations:
F51, E245
Poncelet reference
None
Keywords
alms, apparition, castellan, castle, cross, doors (opening of) , flower, image (of Virgin Mary), imprisonment, matins, monks, prior, river, Saint Denis, Saint Martin, thief/ thieves, torture, water (walking on/under), wound
Discography
Click HERE for a list of recordings of this poem
BITAGAP ID
3995
Bibliography
Milagres e romarias portuguesas nas Cantigas de Santa Maria
Martins, Mário
Lendas portuguesas de apariçoes de Nossa Senhora nas Cantigas de Santa Maria
Martins, Mário