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DARIO, Rubén


Madrugada. En el silencio reposa la gran villa

donde de niño supe de cuentos y consejas,

o asistí a serenatas de amor junto a las rejas

de alguna novia bella, timorata y sencilla.

El cielo lleno de constelaciones brilla,

y su oriente disputan suaves luces bermejas;

de pronto, un terremoto mueve las casas viejas

y la gente en los patios y calles se arrodilla,

medio desnuda, y clama: “¡Santo Dios! ¡Santo fuerte!

¡Santo inmortal!”. La tierra tiembla a cada momento.

¡Algo de apocalíptico mano invisible vierte!...

La atmósfera es pesada como plomo. No hay viento.

Y se diría que ha pasado la muerte

ante la impasibilidad del firmamento.

Bagpipes of Spain

Bagpipes of Spain, ye that can sing

That which is sweetest to us in the Spring!

You first sing of gladness and then sing of pain

As deep and as bitter as the billowed main.

Sing. 'Tis the season! As glad as the rain

My verses shall trip ye a jig or a fling.

Ecclesiastes said it again and again,

All things have their season, O bagpipes of Spain!—

A season to plant, a season to reap:

A season to sew, a season to tear;

A season to laugh, a season to weep;

Seasons for to hope and for to despair;

A season to love, a season to mate;

A season of birth, a season of Fate…

Canto de esperanza

Un gran vuelo de cuervos mancha el azul celeste.

Un soplo milenario trae amagos de peste.

Se asesinan los hombres en el extremo Este.

!Ha nacido el apocalíptico Anticristo?

Se han sabido presagios y prodigios se han visto

y parece inminente el retorno de Cristo.

La tierra está preñada de dolor tan profundo

que el soñador imperial, meditabundo,

sufre con las angustias del corazón del mundo.

Verdugos de ideales afligieron la tierra:

en un pozo de sombra la humanidad se encierra

con los rudos molosos del odio y de la guerra.

¡Oh, Señor Jesucristo! ¿Por qué tardas, qué esperas

para tender tu mano de la luz sobre las fieras

y hacer brillar al sol tus divinas banderas?

Surge de pronto y vierte la esencia de la vida

sobre tanta alma loca, triste o emperdernida

que, amante de tinieblas, tu dulce aurora olvida.

Vén, Señor, para hacer la gloria de ti mismo.

Vén con temblor de estrellas y horror de cataclismo,

vén a traer amor y paz sobre el abismo.

Y tu caballo blanco, que miró el visionario,

pase. Y suene el divino clarín extraordinario.

Mi corazón será brasa de tu incensario.

Canto de esperanza

Vultures a-wing have sullied the glory of the sky;

The winds bear on their pinions the horror of Death's cry;

Assassinating one another, men rage and fall and die.

Has Antichrist arisen whom John at Patmos saw?

Portents are seen and marvels that fill the world with awe,

And Christ's return seems pressing, come to fulfill the Law.

The ancient Earth is pregnant with so profound a smart,

The royal dreamer, musing, silent and sad apart,

Grieves with the heavy anguish that rends the world’s great heart.

Slaughterers of ideals with the violence of fate

Have cast man in the darkness of labyrinths intricate

To be the prey and carnage of hounds of war and hate.

Lord Christ! for what art waiting to come in all Thy might

And stretch Thy hands of radiance over these wolves of night,

And spread on high Thy banners and lave the world with light?

Swiftly arise and pour Life's essence lavishly

On souls that crazed with hunger, or sad, or maddened be,Who tread the paths of blindness forgetting the dawn and Thee.

Come Lord, to make Thy glory, with lightnings on Thy

Brow! With trembling stars around Thee and cataclysmal woe,

And bring Thy gifts of justice and peace and love below!

Let the dread horse John visioned devouring stars, pass by;

And angels sound the clarion of Judgment from on high.

My heart shall be an ember and in thy censer lie

Lo fatal

Dichoso el árbol, que es apenas sensitivo,

y más la piedra dura porque ésa ya no siente,

pues no hay dolor más grande que el dolor de ser vivo

ni mayor pesadumbre que la vida consciente.

Ser, y no saber nada, y ser sin rumbo cierto,

y el temor de haber sido y un futuro terror...

¡Y el espanto seguro de estar mañana muerto,

y sufrir por la vida y por la sombra y por

lo que no conocemos y apenas sospechamos,

y la carne que tienta con sus frescos racimos,

y la tumba que aguarda con sus fúnebres ramos

y no saber adónde vamos,

ni de dónde venimos!...


Fortunate is the barely sentient tree

And more so the hard stone that is without feeling

For there is no pain greater than that of living

And no greater sorrow than a life of knowing

To be, and to know nothing, and to be without bearing

And the fear of a past and future doom

And tomorrow's certain death to be dreading

And to suffer for life and death's gloom

And for that which we do not know and can hardly divine

And the flesh with its tempting fruitful vines

And the beckoning crypt with its funereal boughs

With no knowledge to where we're bound

Nor from whence we've arrived

Translation Lysander KEMP

Nocturno/Silencio de la Noche

Silencio de la noche, doloroso silencio
nocturno ¿Por qué el alma tiembla de tal manera?
Oigo el zumbido de mi sangre,
dentro de mi cráneo pasa una suave tormenta.
¡Insomnio! No poder dormir, y, sin embargo,
soñar. Ser la auto-pieza
de disección espiritual, ¡el auto-Hamlet!
Diluir mi tristeza
en un vino de noche
en el maravilloso cristal de las tinieblas…
Y me digo: ¿a qué hora vendrá el alba?
Se ha cerrado una puerta…
Ha pasado un transeúnte…
Ha dado el reloj trece horas… ¡Si será Ella!…

Nocturnal/Silence of the Night

Silence of the night, painful silence

Nocturnal...Why does the soul tremble in such a manner?

I hear the pulsing of my blood,

Within my cranium a calm storm happens.

Insomnia! Unable to sleep, and nonetheless,

dream. To be the auto-piece

of spiritual dissection, the auto-Hamlet!

Dilute my sadness

in the wine of night

in the marvelous crystal of the darkness...

And I tell myself: at what hour will dawn arrive?

A door has closed...

A bystander has passed...

The clock has given three hours...Could it be her!...

Nocturne/Stilte van de nacht

Stilte van de nacht, pijnlijke nachtelijke
stilte… Waarom rilt dit hart zo zeer?
Ik luister naar het suizen van mijn bloed,
in mijn schedel woedt een teder noodweer.
Slapeloos! Niet kunnen slapen en toch
dromen. Het werkstuk zijn van
de eigen innerlijke ontleding, de eigen Hamlet.
Mijn treurigheid versnijden
in een nachtelijk glas wijn
in het wonderlijke kristal van de duisternis…
Ik vraag me af: wanneer breekt de dag aan?
Iemand heeft een deur gesloten…
Op straat is iemand langsgelopen…
De klok sloeg dertien. ..Was Zij dit toch!…

Vertaling: L. TERHEIDE

Nocturno/ Los que auscultasteis el corazón de la noche

Los que auscultasteis el de la noche,

los que por el insomnio tenaz habéis oído

el cerrar de una puerta, el resonar de un coche

lejano, un eco vago, un ligero ruido...

En los instantes del silencio misterioso,

cuando surgen de su prisión los olvidados,

en la hora de los muertos, en la hora del reposo,

¡sabréis leer estos versos de amargor impregnados!..

Como en un vaso vierto en ellos mis dolores

de lejanos recuerdos y desgracias funestas,

y las tristes nostalgias de mi alma, ebria de flores,

y el duelo de mi corazón, triste de fiestas.

Y el pesar de no ser lo que yo hubiera sido,

y la pérdida del reino que estaba para mí,

el pensar que un instante pude no haber nacido,

¡y el sueño que es mi vida desde que yo nací!

Todo esto viene en medio del silencio profundo

en que la noche envuelve la terrena ilusión,

y siento como un eco del corazón del mundo

que penetra y conmueve mi propio corazón

Nocturne / You that have heard the Heartbeat in the Night

You that have heard the heartbeat of the night,

you that have heard, in the long, sleepless hours,

a closing door, the rumble of distant wheels,

a vague echo, a wandering sound from somewhere:

you, in the moments of mysterious silence,

when the forgotten ones issue from their prison--

in the hour of the dead, In the hour of repose--

will know how to read the bitterness in my verses.

I fill them, as one would fill a glass, with all

my grief for remote memories and black misfortunes,

the nostalgia of my flower-intoxicated soul

and the pain of a heart grown sorrowful with fêtes;

with the burden of not being what I might have been,

the loss of the kingdom that was awaiting me,

the thought of the instant when I might not have been born

and the dream my life has been ever since I was!

All this has come in the midst of that boundless silence

in which the night develops earthly illusions,

and I feel as if an echo of the world's heart

had penetrated and disturbed my own.

Translation: Lysander KEMP


The snow-white Olympic swan,

with beak of rose-red agate,

preens his eucharistic wing,

which he opens to the sun like a fan.

His shining neck is curved

like the arm of a lyre,

like the handle of a Greek amphora,

like the prow of a ship.

He is the swan of divine origin

whose kiss mounted through fields

of silk to the rosy peaks

of Leda's sweet hills.

White king of Castalia's fount,

his triumph illumines the Danube;

Da Vinci was his baron in Italy;

Lohengrin is his blond prince.

His whiteness is akin to linen,

to the buds of white roses,

to the diamantine white

of the fleece of an Easter lamb.

He is the poet of perfect verses,

and his lyric cloak is of ermine;

he is the magic, the regal bird

who, dying, rhymes the soul in his song.

This winged aristocrat displays

white lilies on a blue field;

and Pompadour, gracious and lovely,

has stroked hs feathers.

He rows and rows on the lake

where dreams wait for the unhappy,

where a golden gondola waits

for the sweetheart of Louis of Bavaria.

Countess, give the swans your love,

for they are gods of an alluring land

and are made of perfume and ermine,

of white light, of silk, and of dreams.

A Shell

I found upon the shore a golden shell,

Massive, and with the daintiest pearls embossed;

Europa touched it with her hands divine

When on the heavenly bull the sea she crossed.

I lifted to my lips the sounding shell,

And woke the morning drum-beats of the sea;

I held it to mine ear, the azure mines

Of hidden treasure murmured low to me.

Thus comes to me the salt of those keen gales

The Argo felt within her swelling sails

When Jason's dream the stars of heaven loved well;

An unknown voice 'mid wave-sounds there I find,

A deep sea-swell and a mysterious wind.

(Shaped like a heart it is, that sounding shell).

Song of Autumn in the Springtime

Youth, treasure only gods may keep,

Fleeting from me forever now!

I cannot, when I wish to, weep,

And often cry I know not how…

My heart's celestial histories,

So countless were, could not be told.-

She was a tender child, in this

World of affliction manifold.

She seemed a dawn of pure delight;

She smiled as the flowers after rain;

Her tresses were like to the night

Fashioned of darknesses and pain.

I was timid and childlike shy.

I could not but have been this way:

She, to my love chaste as the sky,

Was Herodias and Salomé…

Youth, treasure only gods may keep,

Fleeting from me forever now!

I cannot, when I wish to, weep,

And often cry I know not how…

The other was more sensitive,

More quieting and loving-kind,

With greater will to love and live

Than I ever had hoped to find.

For with her grace of tenderness

A violence of love she had:

In a peplos of loveliness

Was hid a Maenad passion mad…

Youth, treasure only gods may keep,

Wilted in me forever now!

I cannot, when I wish to, weep,

And often cry I know not how…

Another fancied my lips were

A casket wrought to hold her love;

And wildly with the teeth of her

To gnaw my very heart she strove.

She willed all passionate excess;

She was a flame of love for me;

She made each ardorous caress

Synthesis of eternity.

She deemed our flesh a deathless thing,

And on desire an Eden reared,

Forgetting that the flowers of Spring

And of the flesh so soon are seared…

Youth, treasure only gods may keep,

Fleeting from me forever now!

I cannot, when I wish to, weep,

And often cry I know not how…

And the others! In many climes,

In so many lands, ever were

Merely the pretext for my rhymes,

Or heart-born fantasies of her.

I sought for the princess in vain,

She that awaited sorrowing.

But life is hard. Bitter with pain.

There is no princess now to sing!

And yet despite the season drear,

My thirst of love no slaking knows;

Gray-haired am I, yet still draw near

The roses of the garden-close….

Youth, treasure only gods may keep,

Fleeting from me forever now!

I cannot, when I wish to, weep,

And often cry I know not how…

Ah, but the golden Dawn is mine!


I am the singer who of late put by

The verse azulean and the chant profane,

Across whose nights a rossignol would cry

And prove himself a lark at morn again.

Lord was I of my garden-place of dreams,

Of heaping roses and swan-haunted brakes;

Lord of the doves; lord of the silver streams,

Of gondolas and lilies on the lakes.

And very eighteenth century; both old

And very modern; bold, cosmopolite;

Like Hugo daring, like Verlaine half-told,

And thirsting for illusions infinite.

From childhood it was sorrow that I knew;

My youth-was ever youth my own indeed?-

Its roses still their perfume round me strew,

Their perfume of a melancholy seed-

A rainless colt my instinct galloped free,

My youth bestrode a colt without a rein;

Intoxicate I went, a belted blade with me;

If I fell not-'twas God who did sustain.

Within my garden stood a statue fair,

Of marble seeming, yet of flesh and bone;

A gentle spirit was incarnate there

Of sensitive and sentimental tone.

So timid of the world, it fain would hide

And from its walls of silence issue not,

Save when the Spring released upon its tide

The hour of melody it had begot-

The hour of sunset and of hidden kiss;

The hour of gloaming twilight and retreat;

The hour of madrigal, the hour of bliss,

Of 'I adore thee' and 'Alas' too sweet.

And 'mid the gamut of the flute, perchance,

Would come a ripple of crystal mysteries,

Recalling Pan and his glad Grecian dance

With the intoning of old Latin keys,

With such a sweep, and ardor so intense,

That on the statue suddenly were born

The muscled goat-thighs shaggy and immense,

And o the brow the satyr's pair of horn.

As Gongora's Galatea, so in fine

The fair marquise of Verlaine captured me;

And so unto the passion half divine

Was joined a human sensuality;

All longing and all ardor, the mere sense

And natural vigor; and without a sign

Of stage effect or literature's pretence-

If there is ever a soul sincere-'tis mine.

The ivory tower awakened my desire;

I longed to enclose myself in selfish bliss,

Yet hungered after space, my thirst on fire

For heaven, from out the shades of my abyss.

As with the sponge the salt sea saturates

Below the oozing wave, so was my heart,-

Tender and soft,-bedrenched with bitter fates

That world and flesh and devil here impart.

But through the grace of God my conscience

Elected unto good its better part;

If there were hardness left in any sense

It melted soft beneath the touch of Art.

My intellect was freed from baser thought,

My soul was bathed in the Castalian flood,

My heart a pilgrim went, and so I caught

The harmony from out the sacred wood.

Oh, sacred wood! Oh, rumor, that profound

Stirs from the sacred woodland's heart divine!

Oh, plenteous fountain in whose power is wound

And overcome our destiny malign!

Grove of ideals, where the real halts,

Where flesh is flame alive, and Psyche floats;

The while the satyr makes his old assaults,

Loose Philomel her azure drunken throats.

Fantastic pearl and music amorous

Adown the green and flowering laurel tops;

Hypsipyle stealthily the rose doth buss;

And the faun's mouth the tender stalking crops.

There were the god pursues the flying maid,

Where springs the reed of Pan from out the mire,

The Life eternal hath its furrows laid,

And wakens the All-Father's mystic choir.

The soul that enters there disrobed should go

A-tremble with desire and longing pure

Over the wounding spine and thorn below,

So should it dream, be stirred, and sing secure.

Life, Light and Truth, as in a triple flame

Produce the inner radiance infinite;

Art, pure as Christ, is heartened to exclaim;

I am indeed the Life, the Truth, the Light!

The Life is mystery; the Light is blind;

The Truth beyond our reach both daunts and fades;

The sheer perfection nowhere do we find;

The ideal sleeps, a secret, in the shades.

Therefore to be sincere is to be strong.

Bare as it is, what glimmer hath the star;

The water tells the fountain's soul in song

And voice of crystal flowing out afar.

Such my intent was,-of my spirit pure

To make a star, a fountain music-drawn,

With horror of the thing called literature-

And mad with madness of the gloam and dawn.

Of the blue twilight, such as gives the world

Which the celestial ecstasies inspires,

The haze and minor chord,-let flutes be heard!

Aurora, daughter of the Sun,-sound, lyres!

Let pass the stone if any use the sling;

Let pass, should hands of violence point the dart.

The stone from out the sling is for the waves a thing;

Hate's arrow of the idle wind is part.

Virtue is with the tranquil and the braves;

The fire interior burneth well and high;

Triumphant over rancor and the grave,

Toward Bethlehem-the caravan goes by!