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BALAGTAS, Francisco

Florante de Laura

In this dark wood thick with gloom

The thick weave of thorny vines…

Rays of Phoebus cannot pierce,

Almost, the solid wilderness.

Great trees loom, disclosing

Sadness only, grief, despair.

Mournful birds dispel

The cheerful air, the stoic pose.

Convolutions of the vine

On branch and twig bristle with thorns.

Their fruit, as if downed with knives,

Wounds the passerby.

And flowers for the looming trees,

Specks of bright shooting through leaves)

Wear the color of mourning,

Sharpen the dizzying stench.

Clumps of cypress and young fig

Cast a terrifying shade

Fruitless, they spread great leaves.

Darkness deepens on the weed.

And beasts that roam

Are shapes of serpent, basilisk,

Hyena, tiger — beasts that prey

On man and beast.