ESCOGE ANTES EL MORIR QUE
EXPONERSE A LOS ULTRAJES DE
LA VEJEZ
SHE PREFERS TO DIE RATHER THAN TO
EXPOSE HERSELF TO THE AFFRONT OF
OLD AGE
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruztrans. Alix Ingber
Miró Celia una rosa que en el prado
ostentaba feliz la pompa vana
y con afeites de carmín y grana
bañaba alegre el rostro delicado;

y dijo: "Goza, sin temor del Hado,
el curso breve de tu edad lozana,
pues no podrá la muerte de mañana
quitarte lo que hubieres hoy gozado;

y aunque llega la muerte presurosa
y tu fragante vida se te aleja,
no sientas el morir tan bella y moza:

mira que la experiencia te aconseja
que es fortuna morirte siendo hermosa
y no ver el ultraje de ser vieja."
Celia saw a rose which in the field
its self-indulgent pomp gaily displayed
and with its scarlet lipstick, crimson rouge
its delicate visage joyfully bathed;

and she said, "Go enjoy, not fearing Fate,
the brief course that your graceful youth obeys,
for death that comes tomorrow never can
take from you what you have enjoyed today;

and even though death nears so rapidly
and your sweet-scented life is on the wane,
don't rue your death, so fair and young foretold:

for your experience advises you
that it's good luck to die while beautiful
and see not the affront of being old."

Trans. copyright © Alix Ingber 1995


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