Quevedo: How All Things Warn of Death (From Spanish)

This poem seems to draw on Seneca's twelfth epistle to Lucilius:

 "Quocumque me verti, argumenta senectutis meae video. Veneram in suburbanum meum et querebar de impensis aedificii dilabentis. Ait vilicus mihi non esse neglegentiae suae vitium, omnia se facere, sed villam veterem esse. Haec villa inter manus meas crevit: quid mihi futurum est, si tam putria sunt aetatis meae saxa?"
Wherever I turn, I see evidences of my advancing years. I visited lately my country-place, and protested about how much money had been spent on the dilapidated building. My bailiff insisted that the flaws were not due to his own negligence, that he was "doing everything possible, but the house was old." And this was the house which grew under my own hands! What has the future in store for me, if stones of my own age are already crumbling?

How All Things Warn Of Death
By Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click here to hear me recite the poem in Spanish

     I looked upon the walls of my old land,
so strong once, and now moldering away,
worn out by Time's long march, day after day,
which had already sapped their will to stand.
     I went out to the country, saw the sun 
drink up the streams unfettered from the frost,
and cattle groan how light of day was lost
to woodland, with its shadows overrun.
     I went into my home, but saw the crude 
and rotted ruins of an agèd room;
my cane gone weak and crooked in the grime.
     I felt my sword surrender unto Time
and nothing of the many things I viewed
reminded me of anything but Doom.

The Original:

Enseña Cómo Todas Las Cosas Avisan de la Muerte

     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 yelo 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.

1 comment:

  1. They that have power to hurt and will do none (Sonnet

    by William Shakespeare

    They that have power to hurt and will do none
    That do not do the thing they most do show,
    Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
    Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow;
    They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces
    And husband nature’s riches from expense;
    They are the lords and owners of their faces,
    Others but stewards of their excellence.
    The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
    Though to itself it only live and die,
    But if that flower with base infection meet,
    The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
    For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
    Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.


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