CRUZ, Sor Juana Inès de la
I approach and I withdraw
I approach, and I withdraw:
who but I could find
absence in the eyes,
presence in what's far?
From the scorn of Phyllis,
now, alas, I must depart.
One is indeed unhappy
who misses even scorn!
So caring is my love
that my present distress
minds hard-heartedness less
than the thought of its loss.
Leaving, I lose more
than what is merely mine:
in Phyllis, never mine,
I lose what can't be lost.
Oh, pity the poor person
who aroused such kind disdain
that to avoid giving pain,
it would grant no favor!
For, seeing in my future
she disdained me the more,
that the loss might be less.
Oh, where did you discover
so neat a tactic, Phyllis:
denying to disdain
the garb of affection?
To live unobserved
by your eyes, I now go
where never pain of mine
need flatter your disdain.
supplications, ardor and insomnia;
It increases with risks, quarrels and rejections;
It feeds on tears and pleads
Love remains itself amid cloudy veils,
until, with insults or with jealousy,
it quenches its own fire wit hits own tears.
by your decree, Fabio,
and don’t appeal, resist or flee
the wrathful judgment, hear me,
for there’s no culprit of such guilt
should be refused confession.
my breast has caused offence to you,
I stand condemned, ferocious one.
Does uncertain news, not fact,
achieve more in your obdurate breast
than experience of so many truths?
why not believe in your own eyes?
Why, reversing the sense of Law,
deliver to the rope my neck?
You’re as liberal with your rigours
as meanly strict with favours.
kill me with your wrathful eyes.
If I serve another care,
let your implacable anger serve me.
And if another’s love diverts me,
you, who’ve been my life, strike me dead.
never be delight in our mutual looks;
if with another I engaged in pleasant speech,
let your eternal displeasure point at me.
And if another love disturbs my sense,
chase out of me my soul, who’ve been my soul.
my unhappy lot, my only wish
is you allow me choose the death I like.
Let my death be of my choice,
for your mere choice
continues me in life.
El Sueño / The Dream
Nature lifts and lowers
one, and then the other, of her pans,
distributing her several chores—now
restful leisure, now gainful activity—
on the imbalanced balance with which she
rules the world’s complex machinery
Man, in sum, the greatest marvel
posed to human comprehension,
a synthesis composed
of qualities of angel, plant, and beast,
whose elevated baseness
shows traits of each of these.
To Her Portrait
This that you see, the false presentment planned
With finest art and all the colored shows
And reasonings of shade, doth but disclose
The poor deceits by earthly senses fanned!
Here where in constant flattery expand
Excuses for the stains that old age knows,
Pretexts against the years' advancing snows,
The footprints of old seasons to withstand;
'Tis but vain artifice of scheming minds;
'Tis but a flower fading on the winds;
'Tis but a useless protest against Fate;
'Tis but stupidity without a thought,
A lifeless shadow, if we meditate;
'Tis death, tis dust, tis shadow, yea, 'tis nought.