Friday, 10 June 2011

Portugal Day

Today is Portugal Day, which is celebrated in Jersey, officially Dia de Camões, de Portugal e das Comunidades Portuguesas ("Day of Camões,Portugal, and the Portuguese Communities"), and it marks the date of poet Luís de Camões' death on June 10, 1580, which is Portugal's National Day.

A couple of poems (in translation) by Luís de Camões. I'd never come across him. They are lovely poems, even in translation.

"The eyes where love in chastest fire would glow"

The eyes where love in chastest fire would glow,
Joying to be consumed amidst their light,
The face whereon with wondrous lustre bright
The purple rose was blushing o'er the snow;
The hair whereof the sun would envious grow,
It made his own less golden to the sight;
The well-formed body and the hand so white,
All to cold earth reduced lies here below!
In tender age, a beauty all entire,
E'en like a blossom gathered ere its time,
Lies withered in the hand of heartless death:
How doth not Love for pity's sake expire?
Ah! not for her who flies to life sublime,
But for himself whom night extinguisheth.

Translated by J. J. Aubertin.

Beholding Her

When I behold you, Lady! when my eyes
Dwell on the deep enjoyment of your sight,
I give my spirit to that one delight,
And earth appears to me a Paradise.
And when I hear you speak, and see you smile,
Full satisfied, absorb'd, my centr'd mind
Deems all the world's vain hopes and joys the while
As empty as the unsubstantial wind.
Lady! I feel your charms, yet dare not raise
To that high theme the unequal song of praise,--
A power for that to language was not given;
Nor marvel I, when I those beauties view,
Lady! that He, whose power created you,
Could form the stars and yonder glorious heaven.

Translated by Robert Southey.

The Shepherdess Nise

Aurora with her new-born crystal ray
Arose the enamelled world again to dress,
When Nise, fair and gentle shepherdess,
Departed whence her only true life lay.
The light of eyes that darkened those of day
She raised, while flowing anxious tears oppress,
Of self, fate, time, all wearied to distress,
And gazing heavenward thus did pensive say:
Rise, tranquil sun, once more all pure and shining,
Clear purple morn with new-born light be clad,
And see sad souls with you their grief resigning;
But my poor soul, while others all are glad,
Ye know ye ne'er shall see but as repining,
Nor any other shepherdess so sad.

Translated by J. J. Aubertin.

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