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“La Adelita”

Translation of song lyrics

ca. 1910- 20, translated 2014

Anonymous, “La Adelita,” translated by the Latin American and Iberian Institute (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico),

A corrido is a song that narrates events. Corridos became popular in Mexico in the 1800s, but during the Mexican Revolution songwriters composed many more, about battles, fighters, and leaders. This corrido is one of the most popular and has been sung in many different versions over the years. It is about a famous woman from the state of Durango who joined the revolution in its early stages and fell in love with General Madero. Male writers of most corridos in the revolution wrote love songs about soldaderas rather than celebrations of their fighting ability and military contributions. Why do you think corrido writers represented women this way?

One of the most common ways that Mexicans spread and received information about the revolution was through corridos — ballads in a traditional Mexican style that often narrated historical events. There are numerous recordings of this corrido on YouTube. Most corridos of the revolution represent women as lovers rather than comrades-in-arms and thus present an image of soldaderas as militarily insignificant, motivated by passion, and therefore less threatening to the traditional gender norms. “La Adelita” is represented as both beautiful and valiant, characteristics not often found together in the same woman (according to most men who wrote the corridos), and thus exceptional for her power over men.

En lo alto de una abrupta serranía,
acampado se encontraba un regimiento,
y una joven que valiente lo seguía,
locamente enamorada del sargento.
On the top of the rocky mountain
there was an army camped
and a courageous woman followed them
madly in love with the sergeant.
Popular entre la tropa era Adelita,
las mujer que el sargento idolatraba,
que además de ser valiente era bonita,
que hasta el mismo coronel la respetaba.
Everyone appreciated Adelita,
the woman who loved the sergeant,
as she was courageous and beautiful
so that even the colonel respected her.
Y se oía, que decía,
aquel que tanto la quería:

And they heard that it was told
by him who loved her so much:

Y si Adelita quisiera ser mi esposa,
si Adelita fuera mi mujer,
le compraría un vestido de seda
para llevarle a bailar al cuartel.

If Adelita wanted to be mine,
if Adelita wanted to be my wife,
I'd buy her a silk dress
to take her to the barracks to dance.

Y si Adelita se fuera con otro,
la seguirÍa por tierra y por mar,
si por mar en un buque de guerra,
si por tierra en un tren militar.

And if Adelita went with another
I’d follow her over land and sea
with a battleship on the sea
and with a military train on land.

Y después que termino la cruel batalla
y la tropa regresó a su campamento,
se oye la voz de una mujer que sollozaba,
su plegaria se escucho en el campamento.

And after the cruel battle had ended,
and the troops returned to their camp,
the sobbing of a woman was heard
her crying filling the whole camp.

Al oírla el sargento temeroso,
de perder para siempre a su adorada,
ocultando su dolor bajo el esbozo
a su amada le cantó de esta manera:

The sergeant heard it, and fearing
that he would lose his beloved forever,
concealing his pain inside himself
he sang like this to his lover:

Y se oía, que decía,
aquel que tanto se moría:

And they heard that it was told
by him who was dying so much:

Y si acaso yo muero en campaña,
y mi cadáver lo van a sepultar,
Adelita por Dios te lo ruego,
que con tus ojos me vayas a llorar.

And if I died in the battle
and my body was buried there
Adelita, for God's sake I beg you,
to come there and cry over me.