Coplas por la muerte de su padre



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Jorge Manrique - Coplas por la muerte de su padre

Jorge Manrique (1440-1479)
Coplas por la muerte de su padre

Recuerde el alma dormida,

avive el seso y despierte

contemplando

cómo se pasa la vida,

cómo se viene la muerte 5

tan callando,

cuán presto se va el placer,

cómo, después de acordado,

da dolor;

cómo, a nuestro parecer, 10

cualquiera tiempo pasado

fue mejor.
Pues si vemos lo presente

cómo en un punto se es ido

y acabado, 15

si juzgamos sabiamente,

daremos lo no venido

por pasado.

No se engañe nadie, no,

pensando que ha de durar 20

lo que espera,

más que duró lo que vio

porque todo ha de pasar

por tal manera.


Nuestras vidas son los ríos 25

que van a dar en la mar,

que es el morir;

allí van los señoríos

derechos a se acabar

y consumir; 30

allí los ríos caudales,

allí los otros medianos

y más chicos,

y llegados, son iguales

los que viven por sus manos 35

y los ricos.


Invocación:
Dejo las invocaciones

de los famosos poetas

y oradores;

no curo de sus ficciones, 40

que traen yerbas secretas

sus sabores;

A aquél sólo me encomiendo,

aquél sólo invoco yo

de verdad, 45

que en este mundo viviendo

el mundo no conoció

su deidad.


Este mundo es el camino

para el otro, que es morada 50

sin pesar;

mas cumple tener buen tino

para andar esta jornada

sin errar.

Partimos cuando nacemos, 55

andamos mientras vivimos,

y llegamos

al tiempo que fenecemos;

así que cuando morimos

descansamos. 60


Este mundo bueno fue

si bien usáramos de él

como debemos,

porque, según nuestra fe,

es para ganar aquél 65

que atendemos.

Aun aquel hijo de Dios,

para subirnos al cielo

descendió

a nacer acá entre nos, 70

y a vivir en este suelo

do murió.


Ved de cuán poco valor

son las cosas tras que andamos

y corremos, 75

que en este mundo traidor,

aun primero que muramos

las perdamos:

de ellas deshace la edad,

de ellas casos desastrados 80

que acaecen,

de ellas, por su calidad,

en los más altos estados

desfallecen.


Decidme: la hermosura, 85

la gentil frescura y tez

de la cara,

el color y la blancura,

cuando viene la vejez,

¿cuál se para? 90

Las mañas y ligereza

y la fuerza corporal

de juventud,

todo se torna graveza

cuando llega al arrabal 95

de senectud.


Pues la sangre de los godos,

y el linaje y la nobleza

tan crecida,

¡por cuántas vías y modos 100

se pierde su gran alteza

en esta vida!

Unos, por poco valer,

¡por cuán bajos y abatidos

que los tienen! 105

otros que, por no tener,

con oficios no debidos

se mantienen.


Los estados y riqueza

que nos dejan a deshora, 110

¿quién lo duda?

no les pidamos firmeza,

pues son de una señora

que se muda.

Que bienes son de Fortuna 115

que revuelven con su rueda

presurosa,

la cual no puede ser una

ni estar estable ni queda

en una cosa. 120


Pero digo que acompañen

y lleguen hasta la huesa

con su dueño:

por eso nos engañen,

pues se va la vida apriesa 125

como sueño;

y los deleites de acá

son, en que nos deleitamos,

temporales,

y los tormentos de allá, 130

que por ellos esperamos,

eternales.


Los placeres y dulzores

de esta vida trabajada

que tenemos, 135

no son sino corredores,

y la muerte, la celada

en que caemos.

No mirando nuestro daño,

corremos a rienda suelta 140

sin parar;

desque vemos el engaño

y queremos dar la vuelta,

no hay lugar.


Si fuese en nuestro poder 145

hacer la cara hermosa

corporal,

como podemos hacer

el alma tan glorïosa,

angelical, 150

¡qué diligencia tan viva

tuviéramos toda hora,

y tan presta,

en componer la cativa,

dejándonos la señora 155

descompuesta!


Esos reyes poderosos

que vemos por escrituras

ya pasadas,

por casos tristes, llorosos, 160

fueron sus buenas venturas

trastornadas;

así que no hay cosa fuerte,

que a papas y emperadores

y prelados, 165

así los trata la muerte

como a los pobres pastores

de ganados.


Dejemos a los troyanos,

que sus males no los vimos 170

ni sus glorias;

dejemos a los romanos,

aunque oímos y leímos

sus historias.

No curemos de saber 175

lo de aquel siglo pasado

qué fue de ello;

vengamos a lo de ayer,

que también es olvidado

como aquello. 180


¿Qué se hizo el rey don Juan?

Los infantes de Aragón

¿qué se hicieron?

¿Qué fue de tanto galán,

qué fue de tanta invención 185

como trajeron?

Las justas y los torneos,

paramentos, bordaduras

y cimeras,

¿fueron sino devaneos? 190

¿qué fueron sino verduras

de las eras?


¿Qué se hicieron las damas,

sus tocados, sus vestidos,

sus olores? 195

¿Qué se hicieron las llamas

de los fuegos encendidos

de amadores?

¿Qué se hizo aquel trovar,

las músicas acordadas 200

que tañían?

¿Qué se hizo aquel danzar,

aquellas ropas chapadas

que traían?


Pues el otro, su heredero, 205

don Enrique, ¡qué poderes

alcanzaba!

¡Cuán blando, cuán halaguero

el mundo con sus placeres

se le daba! 210

Mas verás cuán enemigo,

cuán contrario, cuán cruel

se le mostró;

habiéndole sido amigo,

¡cuán poco duró con él 215

lo que le dio!


Las dádivas desmedidas,

los edificios reales

llenos de oro,

las vajillas tan febridas, 220

los enriques y reales

del tesoro;

los jaeces, los caballos

de sus gentes y atavíos

tan sobrados, 225

¿dónde iremos a buscallos?

¿qué fueron sino rocíos

de los prados?


Pues su hermano el inocente,

que en su vida sucesor 230

se llamó,

¡qué corte tan excelente

tuvo y cuánto gran señor

le siguió!

Mas, como fuese mortal, 235

metióle la muerte luego

en su fragua.

¡Oh, juïcio divinal,

cuando más ardía el fuego,

echaste agua! 240


Pues aquel gran Condestable,

maestre que conocimos

tan privado,

no cumple que de él se hable,

sino sólo que lo vimos 245

degollado.

Sus infinitos tesoros,

sus villas y sus lugares,

su mandar,

¿qué le fueron sino lloros? 250

¿Qué fueron sino pesares

al dejar?


Y los otros dos hermanos,

maestres tan prosperados

como reyes, 255

que a los grandes y medianos

trajeron tan sojuzgados

a sus leyes;

aquella prosperidad

que tan alta fue subida 260

y ensalzada,

¿qué fue sino claridad

que cuando más encendida

fue amatada?


Tantos duques excelentes, 265

tantos marqueses y condes

y varones

como vimos tan potentes,

di, muerte, ¿dó los escondes

y traspones? 270

Y las sus claras hazañas

que hicieron en las guerras

y en las paces,

cuando tú, cruda, te ensañas,

con tu fuerza las atierras 275

y deshaces.


Las huestes innumerables,

los pendones, estandartes

y banderas,

los castillos impugnables, 280

los muros y baluartes

y barreras,

la cava honda, chapada,

o cualquier otro reparo,

¿qué aprovecha? 285

que si tú vienes airada,

todo lo pasas de claro

con tu flecha.


Aquél de buenos abrigo,

amado por virtuoso 290

de la gente,

el maestre don Rodrigo

Manrique, tanto famoso

y tan valiente;

sus hechos grandes y claros 295

no cumple que los alabe,

pues los vieron,

ni los quiero hacer caros

pues que el mundo todo sabe

cuáles fueron. 300


Amigo de sus amigos,

¡qué señor para criados

y parientes!

¡Qué enemigo de enemigos!

¡Qué maestro de esforzados 305

y valientes!

¡Qué seso para discretos!

¡Qué gracia para donosos!

¡Qué razón!

¡Cuán benigno a los sujetos! 310

¡A los bravos y dañosos,

qué león!


En ventura Octaviano;

Julio César en vencer

y batallar; 315

en la virtud, Africano;

Aníbal en el saber

y trabajar;

en la bondad, un Trajano;

Tito en liberalidad 320

con alegría;

en su brazo, Aureliano;

Marco Tulio en la verdad

que prometía.


Antonia Pío en clemencia; 325

Marco Aurelio en igualdad

del semblante;

Adriano en elocuencia;

Teodosio en humanidad

y buen talante; 330

Aurelio Alejandro fue

en disciplina y rigor

de la guerra;

un Constantino en la fe,

Camilo en el gran amor 335

de su tierra.


No dejó grandes tesoros,

ni alcanzó muchas riquezas

ni vajillas;

mas hizo guerra a los moros, 340

ganando sus fortalezas

y sus villas;

y en las lides que venció,

muchos moros y caballos

se perdieron; 345

y en este oficio ganó

las rentas y los vasallos

que le dieron.


Pues por su honra y estado,

en otros tiempos pasados, 350

¿cómo se hubo?

Quedando desamparado,

con hermanos y criados

se sostuvo.

Después que hechos famosos 355

hizo en esta misma guerra

que hacía,

hizo tratos tan honrosos

que le dieron aún más tierra

que tenía. 360


Estas sus viejas historias

que con su brazo pintó

en juventud,

con otras nuevas victorias

ahora las renovó 365

en senectud.

Por su grande habilidad,

por méritos y ancianía

bien gastada,

alcanzó la dignidad 370

de la gran Caballería

de la Espada.


Y sus villas y sus tierras

ocupadas de tiranos

las halló; 375

mas por cercos y por guerras

y por fuerza de sus manos

las cobró.

Pues nuestro rey natural,

si de las obras que obró 380

fue servido,

dígalo el de Portugal

y en Castilla quien siguió

su partido.

Después de puesta la vida 385

tantas veces por su ley

al tablero;

después de tan bien servida

la corona de su rey

verdadero: 390

después de tanta hazaña

a que no puede bastar

cuenta cierta,

en la su villa de Ocaña

vino la muerte a llamar 395

a su puerta,


diciendo: «Buen caballero,

dejad el mundo engañoso

y su halago;

vuestro corazón de acero, 400

muestre su esfuerzo famoso

en este trago;

y pues de vida y salud

hicisteis tan poca cuenta

por la fama, 405

esfuércese la virtud

para sufrir esta afrenta

que os llama.


No se os haga tan amarga

la batalla temerosa 410

que esperáis,

pues otra vida más larga

de la fama glorïosa

acá dejáis,

(aunque esta vida de honor 415

tampoco no es eternal

ni verdadera);

mas, con todo, es muy mejor

que la otra temporal

perecedera. 420


El vivir que es perdurable

no se gana con estados

mundanales,

ni con vida deleitable

en que moran los pecados 425

infernales;

mas los buenos religiosos

gánanlo con oraciones

y con lloros;

los caballeros famosos, 430

con trabajos y aflicciones

contra moros.


Y pues vos, claro varón,

tanta sangre derramasteis

de paganos, 435

esperad el galardón

que en este mundo ganasteis

por las manos;

y con esta confianza

y con la fe tan entera 440

que tenéis,

partid con buena esperanza,

que esta otra vida tercera

ganaréis.»


«No tengamos tiempo ya 445

en esta vida mezquina

por tal modo,

que mi voluntad está

conforme con la divina

para todo; 450

y consiento en mi morir

con voluntad placentera,

clara y pura,

que querer hombre vivir

cuando Dios quiere que muera 455

es locura.


Oración:
Tú, que por nuestra maldad,

tomaste forma servil

y bajo nombre;

tú, que a tu divinidad 460

juntaste cosa tan vil

como es el hombre;

tú, que tan grandes tormentos

sufriste sin resistencia

en tu persona, 465

no por mis merecimientos,

mas por tu sola clemencia

me perdona.»


Fin:
Así, con tal entender,

todos sentidos humanos 470

conservados,

cercado de su mujer

y de sus hijos y hermanos

y criados,

dio el alma a quien se la dio 475

(en cual la dio en el cielo

en su gloria),

que aunque la vida perdió

dejónos harto consuelo

su memoria. 480


Estrofa: Coplas de pie quebrado


Sílabas: Ocho y cuatro (cada estrofa sigue el esquema: 8-8-4, 8-8-4, 8-8-4, 8-8-4)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 + 1 = 8

Recuerde_el alma dormida,


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 + 1 = 8

avive_el seso_y despierte


1 2 3 + 1 = 4

contemplando


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 + 1 = 8

cómo se pasa la vida,


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 + 1 = 8

cómo se viene la muerte


1 2 3 + 1 = 4

tan callando,

A veces hay enlace entre la última vocal de un verso y la primera del verso corto (pie quebrado) que sigue, porque el verso corto es

como una extensión del verso anterior:


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 + 1 = 8

el alma tan glorï-osa,_


1 2 3 + 1 = 4

_angelical,

Algo análogo puede ocurrir cuando un verso es agudo:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 + 1 = 8

porque todo_ha de pasar_


1 2 3 + 1 = 4 [«Por» funciona como la sílaba número ocho del verso anterior.]

_por tal manera.

Rima: Rima perfecta con el esquema abcabcdefdef
Recuerde el alma dormida, a

avive el seso y despierte b

contemplando c

cómo se pasa la vida, a

cómo se viene la muerte b

tan callando, c

cuán presto se va el placer, d

cómo, después de acordado, e

da dolor; f

cómo, a nuestro parecer, d

cualquiera tiempo pasado e

fue mejor. F

Jorge Manrique (1440-1479)


The Coplas on the Death of His Father,

the Grand-Master of Santiago

The Introit


Let from its dream the soul awaken,

And reason mark with open eyes

The scene unfolding,—

How lightly life away is taken,

How cometh Death in stealthy guise,—

At last beholding;


What swiftness hath the flight of pleasure

That, once attained, seems nothing more

Than respite cold;

How fain is memory to measure

Each latter day inferior

To those of old.


Beholding how each instant flies

So swift, that, as we count, 'tis gone

Beyond recover,

Let us resolve to be more wise

Than stake our future lot upon

What soon is over.


Let none be self-deluding, none,—

Imagining some longer stay

For his own treasure

Than what today he sees undone;

For everything must pass away

In equal measure.


Our lives are fated as the rivers

That gather downward to the sea

We know as Death;

And thither every flood delivers

The pride and pomp of seigniory

That forfeiteth;


Thither, the rivers in their splendor;

Thither, the streams of modest worth,—

The rills beside them;

Till there all equal they surrender;

And so with those who toil on earth,

And those who guide them.

The Invocation
I turn me from the praise and singing

Of panegyrists, and the proud

Old poets' stories;

I would not have them hither bringing

Their artful potions that but cloud

His honest glories;


On Him Alone I lay my burden—

Him only do I now implore

In my distress,—

Who came on earth and had for guerdon

The scorn of man that did ignore

His Godliness.


This world is but a highway going

Unto that other, the abode

Without a sorrow;

The wise are they who gird them, knowing

The guideposts set along that road

Unto tomorrow.


We start with birth upon that questing;

We journey all the while we live,

Our goal attaining

The day alone that brings us resting,

When Death shall last quiétus give

To all complaining.


This were a hallowed world indeed,

Did we but give it the employ

That was intended;

For by the precepts of our Creed

We earn hereby a life of joy

When this is ended.


The Son of God Himself on earth

Came down to raise our lowly race

Unto the sky;

Here took upon Him human birth;

Here lived among us for a space;

And here did die.


Behold what miserable prize—

What futile task we set upon,

Whilst greed awakes us!

And what a traitor world of lies

Is this, whose very gifts are gone

Ere Death o'ertakes us!


Some through increasing age deprived,

Some by unhappy turn of fate

Destroyed and banished,

Some, as with blight inherent rived

At topmost of their branching state,

Have failed and vanished.


Yea, tell me shall the lovely blason,

The gentle freshness and contour

Of smiling faces,—

The blush and pallor's sweet occasion,—

Of all—shall one a truce secure

From Time's grim traces?


The flowing tress, the stature slender,

The corporal litheness, and the strength

Of gallant youth,—

All, all,—to weariness surrender

As o'er them falls the shadow's length

Of age in truth.


The Visigoths whose lineage kingly

Whose feats of war and mighty reign

Were so exalted,—

What divers ways did all and singly

Drop down to the obscure again

And were defaulted!


Some through their worthlessness (How lowly

And base among the rabble came

Their estimation!)

Whilst others as a refuge solely

In offices they only shame

Maintain their station.


Estate and luxury's providing

Can leave us pauper—who may doubt?—

Within an hour;

Let us not count on their abiding,

Since there is nothing sure about

Dame Fortune's dower.


Hers are the gifts of one unstable

Upon her globe as swift as light

Revolving ever;

Who to be constant is unable,

Who cannot stay nor rest from flight

On aughtsoever.


And though, say I, her highest favor

Should follow to the tomb and heap

With wreaths her master;

Let not our solid judgment waver

Since life is like a dream and sleep

Flies nothing faster.


The soft occasions of today

Wherein we find our joy and ease

Are but diurnal;

Whilst the dread torments that must pay

The cost of our iniquities

Shall be eternal.


The pleasures light, the fond evasions

That life on troubled earth deploys

For eyes of mortals,

What are they but the fair persuasions

Of labyrinths where Death decoys

To trap-like portals?


Where heedless of the doom ensuing

We hasten laughing to the snare

Without suspicion.

Until aghast at our undoing,

We turn to find the bolt is there,

And our perdition.


Could we but have procured the power

To make our faded youth anew

Both fresh and whole,

As now through life's probation hour

'Tis ours to give angelic hue

Unto the soul,—


What ceaseless care we then had taken,

What pains had welcomed, so to bring

A health but human,—

Our summer bloom to re-awaken,

Our stains to clear,—outrivalling

The arts of woman!


The kings whose mighty deeds are spacious

Upon the parchments of the years,

Alas!—the weeping

That overtook their boast audacious.

And swept their thrones to grime and tears

And sorrow's keeping!


Naught else proves any more enduring;

Nor are the popes, nor emperors,

Nor prelatries

A longer stay or truce securing

Than the poor herdsman of the moors

From Death's decrees.


Recount no more of Troy, or foeman

The echo of whose wars is now

But far tradition;

Recount no more how fared the Roman

(His scroll of glories we allow)

Nor his perdition;


Nor here rehearse the homely fable

Of such as yielded up their sway

These decades gone;

But let us say what lamentable

Fate the lords of yesterday

Have fallen upon.


Of fair Don Juan the king that ruled us,—

Of those hight heirs of Aragon,—

What are the tidings?

Of him, whose courtly graces schooled us,

Whom song and wisdom smiled upon,

Where the abidings?


The jousts and tourneys where vaunted

With trappings, and caparison,

And armor sheathing,—

Were they but phantasies that taunted,—

But blades of grass that vanished on

A summer's breathing?


What of the dames of birth and station,

Their head-attire, their sweeping trains,

Their vesture scented?

What of that gallant conflagration

They made of lovers' hearts whose pains

Were uncontented?


And what of him, that troubadour

Whose melting lutany and rime

Was all their pleasure?

Ah, what of her who danced demure,

And trailed her robes of olden time

So fair a measure?


Then Don Enriqué, in succession,

His brother's heir,—think, to what height

Was he annointed!

What blandishment and sweet possession

The world prepared for his delight,

As seemed appointed!


Yet see what unrelenting foeman,

What cruel adversary, Fate

To him became;

A friend befriended as was no man—

How brief for him endured the state

His birth might claim.


The golden bounties without stinting,

The strongholds and the lairs of kings

With treasure glutted;

The flagons of their wassail glinting,

The sceptres, orbs, and crowns, and rings

With which they strutted;


The steeds, the spurs, and bits to rein them,

The pillions draped unto the ground

Beneath their paces,—

Ah, whither must we fare to gain them?—

That were but as the dews around

The meadow places.


His brother then, the unoffending,

Who was intruded on his reign

To act as heir,—

What gallant court was round him bending,

How many a haughty lord was fain

To tend him there!


Yet as but mortal was his station,

Death for his goblet soon distilled

A draught for draining;

O Thou Divine Predestination!—

When most his blaze the world had filled

Thou sent'st the raining!


And then, Don Alvaro, Grand-Master

And Constable, whom we have known

When loved and dreaded,—

What need to tell of his disaster,

Since we behold him overthrown

And swift beheaded!


His treasures that defied accounting,

His manors and his feudal lands,

His boundless power,—

What more than tears were their amounting?

What more than bonds to tie his hands

At life's last hour?


That other twain, Grand-Masters solely,

Yet with the fortunes as of kings

Fraternal reigning,—

Who brought the high as well as lowly

Submissive to their challengings

And laws' ordaining.


And what of all their power and prize

That touched the very peaks of fame

That none could limit?—

A conflagration 'gainst the skies,

Till at its brightest ruthless came

Death's hand to dim it.


The dukes so many and excelling,

The marquises, and counts, the throng

Of barons splendid,

Speak, Death, where hast thou hid their dwelling?

The sway we saw them wield so strong—

How was it ended?


What fields upon were they engaging,—

What prowess showing us in war

Or its cessation,

When thou, O Death, didst come outraging

Both one and all, and swept them o'er

With desolation.


Their warriors' unnumbered hosting,

The pennon, and the battle-flag,

And bannered splendor,—

The castles with their turrets boasting,

Their walls and barricades to brag

And mock surrender,—


The cavern's ancient crypt of hiding,

Or secret passage, vault, or stair,—

What use affords it?

Since thou upon thy onslaught striding

Canst send a shaft unerring where

No buckler wards it!


O World that givest and destroyest

Would that the life which thou hast shown

Were worth the living!

But here, as good or ill deployest,

The parting is with gladness known

Or with misgiving.


Thy span is so with griefs encumbered

With sighing every breeze so steeped,

With wrongs so clouded,

A desert where no boon is numbered,

The sweetness and allurement reaped

And black and shrouded.


Thy highway is the road of weeping;

Thy long farewells are bitterness

Without a morrow;

Adorn thy ruts and ditches keeping

The traveller who doth most possess

Hath most of sorrow.


Thy chattels are but had with sighing;

With sweat of brow alone obtained

The wage they give;

In myriads thine ills come hieing,

And once existence they have gained,

They longest live.


And he, the shield and knightly pastor

Of honest folk, beloved by all

The unoffending,—

Don Roderic Manrique, Master

Of Santiago,—Fame shall call

Him brave unending!


Not here behooves to chant his praises

Or laud his valor to the skies,

Since none but knows them;

Nor would I crave a word that raises

His merit higher than the prize

The world bestows them.


O what a comrade comrades found him!

Unto his henchmen what a lord!

And what a brother!

What foeman for the foes around him!

His peer as Master of the Sword

There was no other!


What precious counsel 'mid the knowing!

What grace amid the courtly bower!

What prudence rare!

What bounty to the vanquished showing!

How 'mid the brave in danger's hour

A lion there!


In destiny a new Augustus;

A Caesar for his victories

And battle forces;

An Africanus in his justice;

A Hannibal for energies

And deep resources;


A Trajan in his gracious hour;

A Titus for his open hand

And cheer unfailing;

His arm, a Spartan king's in power;

His voice, a Tully's to command

The truth's prevailing!


In mildness Antoninus Pius;

A Marc Aurelius in the light

Of calm attending;

A Hadrian to pacify us;

A Theodosius in his right

And high intending;


Aurelius Alexander stern

In discipline and laws of war

Among his legions;

A Constantine in faith eterne;

Gamaliel in the love he bore

His native regions.


He left no weighty chests of treasure,

Nor ever unto wealth attained

Nor store excelling;

To fight the Moors was all his pleasure

And thus his fortresses he gained,

Demesne, and dwelling.


Amid the lists where he prevailed

Fell knights and steeds into his hands

Through fierce compression,

Whereby he came to be regaled

With vassals and with feudal lands

In fair possession.


Ask you how in his rank and station

When first he started his career

Himself he righted?

Left orphan and in desolation

His brothers and his henchmen dear

He held united.


And ask you how his course was guided

When once his gallant deeds were famed

And war was ended?

His high contracting so provided

That broader, as his honors claimed,

His lands extended.


And these, the proud exploits narrated

In chronicles to show his youth

And martial force,

With triumphs equal he was fated

To re-affirm in very sooth

As years did course.


Then for the prudence of his ways,

For merit and in high award

Of service knightly,

His dignity they came to raise

Till he was Master of the Sword

Elected rightly.


Finding his father's forts and manors

By false intruders occupied

And sore oppressed,

With siege and onslaught, shouts and banners,

His broad-sword in his hand to guide,

He re-possessed.


And for our rightful king how well

He bore the brunt of warfare keen

In siege and action,

Let Portugal's poor monarch tell,

Or those who in Castile have been

Among his faction.


Then having risked his life, maintaining

The cause of justice in the fight

For law appointed,

With years in harness spent sustaining

The royal crown of him by right

His lord anointed,


With feats so mighty that Hispania

Can never make account of all

In number mortal,—

Unto his township of Ocaña

Came Death at last to strike and call

Against his portal:

Speaketh Death
“Good Cavalier,”—he cried,—“divest you

Of all this hollow world of lies

And soft devices;

Let your old courage now attest you,

And show a breast of steel that vies

In this hard crisis!


“And since of life and fortune's prizes

You ever made so small account

For sake of honor,

Array your soul in virtue's guises

To undergo this paramount

Assault upon her!


“For you, are only half its terrors

And half the battles and the pains

Your heart perceiveth;

Since here a life devoid of errors

And glorious for noble pains

To-day it leaveth;


“A life for such as bravely bear it

And make its fleeting breath sublime

In right pursuing,

Untainted, as is their's who share it

And put their pleasure in the grime

Of their undoing;


“The life that is The Everlasting

Was never yet by aught attained

Save meed eternal;

And ne'er through soft indulgence casting

The shadow of its solace stained

With guilt infernal;


“But in the cloister holy brothers

Besiege it with unceasing prayer

And hard denial;

And faithful paladins are others

Who 'gainst the Moors to win it bear

With wound and trial.


“And since, O noble and undaunted,

Your hands the paynim's blood have shed

In war and tourney,—

Make ready now to take the vaunted

High guerdon you have merited

For this great journey!


“Upon this holy trust confiding,

And in the faith entire and pure

You e'er commended,

Away,—unto your new abiding,

Take up the Life that shall endure

When this is ended!”

Respondeth the Grand-Master
“Waste we not here the final hours

This puny life can now afford

My mortal being;

But let my will in all its powers

Conformable approach the Lord

And His decreeing.


“Unto my death I yield, contenting

My soul to put the body by

In peace and gladness;

The thought of man to live, preventing

God's loving will that he should die,

Is only madness.”

The Supplication
O Thou who for our weight of sin

Descended to a place on earth

And human feature;

Thou who didst join Thy Godhead in

A being of such lowly worth

As man Thy creature;


Thou who amid Thy dire tormenting

Didst unresistingly endure

Such pangs to ease us;

Not for my mean deserts relenting,

But only on a sinner poor,

Have mercy, Jesus!

The Codicil
And thus, his hopes so nobly founded,

His senses clear and unimpaired

So none could doubt him,—

With spouse and offspring fond surrounded,

His kinsmen and his servants bared

And knelt around him,—


He gave his soul to Him who gave it,

(May God in heaven ordain it place

And share of glory!)

And left our life as balm to save it,

And dry the tears upon our face!

His deathless story.



—Thomas Walsh (translator).


From: Hispanic Anthology: Poems Translated from the Spanish by English and North American Poets. Collected and arranged by Thomas Walsh. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York, 1920.


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