Funeral De Um Lavrador

Words by João Cabral De Mello Neto
Music by Chico Buarque, 1967
Arranged by Ricardo Andino, 1988

When a military coup in 1964 plunged Brazil into a long period of repression the already grim life of peasant workers worsened considerably. The army ruled in the best interests of a tiny class of landowners whose ears were deaf to the popular outcry for justice. Soldiers and police made sure that land reform activists lived short and painful lives.

This piece was composed by exiled dissidents for an international theatre festival held in France in the mid-sixties. João Cabral De Mello Neto and Chico Buarque express the sarcastic views of a wealthy Brazilian land owner on the subject of agrarian reform.

Lyrics

Esta cova em que estás
Em palmos medida
É a conta menor
Que tiraste em vida

É de bom tamanho
Nem largo nem fundo
É a parte que te cabe
Deste latifúndio

Não é cova grande
É cova medida
É a terra que querias
Ver dividida

É uma cova grande
P’ra teu pouco defunto
Mas estarás mais ancho
Que estavas no mundo

É uma cova grande
P’ra teu defunto parco
Porém mais que no mundo
Te sentirás largo

É uma cova grande
P’ra tua carne pouca
Mas a terra dada
Não se abre a boca

Translation

This grave that you’re in,
Measured in hand-spans,
Is the paltry amount
You got out of life.

It’s of good size,
Not too long or deep.
It’s your share
Of this large estate.

It’s not a big grave,
It’s a measured grave.
It’s the land that you wanted
To see divided up.

It’s a big grave
For your little corpse,
But you’ll have more scope here
Than you ever did in life.

It’s a big grave
For your meagre corpse.
You’ll feel you can walk tall,
More than you ever could in life.

It’s a big grave
For your little flesh,
And the land’s been granted now
So don’t open your mouth.

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