beside Christ’s lake in Aldehuela de Yeltes, on a night of full moon

White night in which the glassy water
sleeps quietly in its lake bed,
over which watches a round full moon
that leads its army of  stars,

and a round holm-oak is reflected
in the unrippling mirror,
white night in which the water acts as cradle
for the highest and most profound wisdom.

It is a tatter of sky that Nature holds
clasped in her arms, it is a tatter of sky
which has come down

and in the silence of the night prays
the prayer of the lover resigned
solely to love, which is his only riches.

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo

II. Look at the landscape: immensity below…

Look at the landscape: immensity below,
and immensity, immensity above;
in the distant perspective the tall mountain,
sapped at the foot by a terrifying gorge.

Gigantic blocks that the earthquake
has uprooted from the living rock,
and in that brooding and forbidding savannah
not a path or a track.

Desolate and burning air,
studded with calm eagles,
like nails slowly driven home.

A tremendous silence, darkness, and fear,
which only the triumphal gallop of the deer
comes to interrupt, and hardly does so.

Manuel José Othón

the orange-trees

Those lovely orange-trees
whose flowers breathe amber
on the meadows are pomanders
in the sun’s brazier:
a perpetual and lovely emerald,
in which the loquacious nightingale
with harmonious voice
tells us a thousand tales;
among whose tender leaves
the flowers which April shaped
from short-lived stars of snow
are fragrant clusters.
The metamorphoses of time
which will sweetly transform
what are diamonds to-day
into topazes to-morrow;
to whose green liveries
crystal twigs give
handsome ornaments
and a most fragrant whiteness.
Rich mine of the valley
where shy January
gave us free gold
and showy May free silver.

Salvador Jacinto Polo de Medina

these which were pomp and delight

These which were pomp and delight,
waking at the first morning light,
will be in the evening a vain object of compassion,
sleeping in the arms of the cold night.

This blending of colours that challenges the heavens,
a rainbow striped with gold, snow, and scarlet,
will be an object lesson to human life.
So much is attempted in the limits of a single day!

The roses got up early to flower
and flowered to grow old;
they found their cradle and their tomb in a bud.

Even so have men found their fortunes,
in one day they have been born and expired;
for when the centuries have passed they were but hours.

Pedro Calderón de la Barca

on the fleetness and passage of time

With what fleet steps you run by!
Oh how you leave me, vain time!
Oh, tyrant over my fortune and my being,
how continually I feel your lordly hand!

I thought that I could stop you, but you fled past;
that I could follow you, but you went proudly away.
I wasted you in seeking you, inhuman entity,
and the more I sought you the more I lost you.

Now I know your anger; now that I am brought low
I am the spoils of your scythe,
oh bitter disillusionment unconfessed!

I lived blind and was finally disabused.
Made an Argus in my sorrow, with sad eyes
I see you fly and see that I have lost you.

Luis Carrillo y Sotomayor

to a ship wrecked on the sea-shore

This useless bark, dry and broken,
now so despised by water and wind,
looked with scorn on the vast movements
of the stormy sea, of the east and the south winds.

Proud towards the deep, obedient to its pilot,
and always thirsty for the rich metal,
it brought the ores which it took aboard
in the distant Indies to their Spanish destination.

Now it lies far from the dear woods
in which it might have kept its green decoration
better than it could cargoes of treasure.

So the man who follows miserly greed
sometimes perishes miserably in a foreign land,
lacking both consolation and wealth.

Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Aguilar

storm and calm

I saw die calm light of the red sun clouded,
and its pleasant face disappear in a moment,
and the sky all around obscured
by a most horrible darkness.

The stormy South wind roars angrily,
its fury rises, the storm increases,
and tall Olympus shakes on Atlas’ shoulders,
thundering in alarm;

but later I saw the black veil break,
dissolving into water, and the clear day
happily restored to its original brightness,

and gazing on the sky lovely with a new splendor,
I said: ,,Who knows if a similar change
is not in store for my fortunes?’’

Juan de Arguijo


In the early mornings
of the month of May
the nightingales sing
and the field re-echoes.

In the early mornings,
when they are fresh,
the nightingales cover
the poplar trees,

The fountains laugh
as they take pearls
from the little flowers
that are closest to them.

The plants put on various silks,
for to come out
in colours
costs them little.

Different-colored carpets
rejoice the fields,
the nightingales sing
and the field re-echoes.

Lope de Vega Carpio

the gipsy girl

When Preciosa beats her tambourine
and the sweet music wounds the empty air,
it is pearls that drop from her hands,
flowers that she sends from her mouth.

The soul is wonderstruck and the judgement amazed
by her sweet and superhuman movements;
for their purity, their frankness and their modesty
her fame soars up till it touches the sky.

She carries a thousand souls
hanging on her lightest hair, and at her feet
Love has surrendered both his arrows.

She blinds and sheds light with her two suns;
by them Love maintains his empire, and thinks
himself capable of performing even greater prodigies.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

in love and praise of a lady

Beloved face,
take pity on me.
For I live in sadness,
desiring you.

That beauty of yours
has captivated me,
and on account of this (mis)fortune
to my heart,
sadness divides us
at all seasons;
which is why your image
so saddens me.

All my care
is for your praise,
for I cannot forget
the times that are past.
It would be fair of you
to remember me,
for I always served
you willingly and loyally.

Every day
I am sad and joyless.
If only one day
I could see you,
I should take comfort
from the sight of you.
Thus  I should recover
the good that I have lost.

As I was arguing in this manner,
the birds were flying (past);
(and) beside some grass
I found myself sadly grieving.
Then, at that moment,
I remembered a gentle lady
whom my sighing heart adores
night and day.

Alfonso Álvarez de Villasandino