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QUEVEDO, Francisco de



Retirado en la paz de estos desiertos

Retirado en la paz de estos desiertos,

con pocos, pero doctos libros juntos,

vivo en conversación con los difuntos,

y escucho con mis ojos a los muertos.


Si no siempre entendidos, siempre abiertos,

o enmiendan, o fecundan mis asuntos;

y en músicos callados contrapuntos

al sueño de la vida hablan despiertos.


Las grandes almas que la muerte ausenta,

de injurias de los años vengadora,

libra, ¡oh gran don Joseph!, docta la imprenta.


En fuga irrevocable huye la hora;

pero aquélla el mejor cálculo cuenta,

que en la lección y estudios nos mejora.



Retired to the peace of this deserted place ...


Retired to the peace of this deserted place

Together with a few but learned books

I live in conversation with those passed away,

And with my eyes listen to the dead.


If not always understood, the books are ever open.

They either correct or fertilize my ideas.

And in silent contrapuntal music

In life's sleep they speak, awake.


Great souls which death makes absent,

The avenger of the years' insults,

The learned press frees, oh great Don Joseph!


In irrevocable flight the hour flees,

But that flight is reckoned best

Which in reading and study betters us.


Translated by Dennis Mangan






Miré los muros de la patria mía

Miré los muros de la patria mía,

si un tiempo fuertes, ya desmoronados,

de la carrera de la edad cansados,

por quien caduca ya su valentía.


Salíme al campo; vi que el sol bebía

los arroyos del hielo desatados,

y del monte quejosos los ganados,

que con sombras hurtó su luz al día.


Entré en mi casa; vi que, amancillada,

de anciana habitación era despojos;

mi báculo, más corvo y menos fuerte.


Vencida de la edad sentí mi espada,

y no hallé cosa en que poner los ojos

que no fuese recuerdo de la muerte.




I gazed upon my country's tottering walls,

one day grandiose, now rubble on the ground,

worn out by vicious time, only renowned

for weakness in a land where courage fails.


I went into the fields. I saw the sun

drinking the springs just melted from the ice,

and cattle moaning as the forests climb

against the thinning day, now overrun


with shade. I went into my house. I saw

my old room yellowed with the sickening breath

of age, my cane flimsier than before.


I felt my sword coffined in rust, and walked

about, and everything I looked at bore

a warning of the wasted gaze of death.

Translation:.Willis BARNSTONE





Afectos varios de su corazon, fluctuando en las ondas de los cabellos de Lisi


En crespa tempestad del oro undoso

Nada golfos de luz ardiente y pura

Mi corazón, sediento de hermosura,

Si el cabello deslazas generoso.


Leandro, en mar de fuego proceloso,

Su amor ostenta, su vivir apura;

Ícaro, en senda de oro mal segura,

Arde sus alas por morir glorioso.


Con pretensión de Fénix encendidas

Sus esperanzas, que difuntas lloro,

Intenta que su muerte engendre vidas.


Avaro y rico y pobre, en el tesoro

El castigo y la hambre imita a Midas,

Tántalo en fugitiva fuente de oro.


Several reactions of his heart, bobbing on the waves of Lisi’s hair


Within a curly storm of wavy gold

must swim great gulfs of pure and blazing light

my heart, for beauty eagerly athirst,

when your abundant tresses you unbind.


Just like Leander in a fire-tossed sea,

its love displays, extinguishes its life;

like Icarus, its golden path unsure,

its wings catch fire — in glorious flames it dies.


So very like the Phoenix, with its hopes

all burnt, whose expiration I lament,

it wants its death to make new lives from old.


So miserly and rich, in treasure poor,

in trials and hunger Midas imitates;

Tantalus in a fleeting fount of gold.


Translated by Alix INGBERT





To Apollo chasing Daphne


Ruddy silversmith from up on high,

in whose bright beams the rabble pick their fleas:

Daphne, that nymph, who takes off and won't speak,

if you'd possess her, pay, and douse your light.


If you want to save yourself the pain,

oh, eye of heaven, try to buy her love:

Mars for bonbons sold his coat of mail,

and then his sword for jugs and sweet delights.


Stodgy Jupiter became a purse;

the maiden raised her skirt above her knees

in showers of coins to catch him on the run.


That was the doing of some duenna star,

—a star without a duenna it can't be—

Phoebus, get her help, since you're the sun