Does anyone know some public domain hymns that were originally written in Spanish? I'm learning some Spanish and thought I might practice through reading and translating any originally Spanish hymns.
One possible approach might be to go through a,hymnal, such as ENHE1914, that is old enough (1924 or earlier para norteamericanos como yo) that anything in it has to be in the public domain. You may or may not be able to tell what was originally in Spanish, the lines are kind of blurry* sometimes, and in a words-only hymnal like this one finding an appropriate tune may be a challenge, but maybe one you would enjoy.
*blurry line between original and translation e.g. do you count metrical psalms as originals or as translations? And a lot of evangelical Spanish hymnals have a hymn that purports to be a Spanish version of "Jesus, keep me near the cross" — and it sings well to NEAR THE CROSS, and it may well be old enough to be PD, but ¡¡nowhere! does it mention "la Cruz"! ¡Buena suerte! If you find any really good ones, let me know.
I consider a metrical psalm as a hymn. Is the "Near The Cross" translation you mentioned "Lejos de mi Padre Dios" (https://hymnary.org/text/lejos_de_mi_padre_dios)?
I'm pretty sure that is the purported "Near the Cross" I was thinking of.
https://hymnary.org/search?qu=hymnalLanguages%3Aspanish%20in%3Ahymnal should indicate which Spanish language hymnals have scans attached, for what it is worth.
You say you will use reading and translating the hymns to help you learn the language. Don't forget, also, to sing them! Singing hymns and other folk songs has been indispensable to me in learning everything from Tlingit and Cheyenne to Russian and Swahili.
Who wrote this song? Is it public domain?
It's a folk song, so the basic tune (melody line) and the first and other well known stanzas are in the public domain, and the author and composer are unknown. On the other hand, the English versions are likely to be under copyright, and there may be arrangements that are under copyright, and possibly some stanzas that were recently added might be under copyright.