SONETO XVIII SONNET XVIII
Fernando de Herrera trans. Michael Smith

Flaca esperança en todas mis porfías,
vano deseo en desigual tormento,
y, inútil fruto del dolor que siento,
lágrimas sin descanso, y ansias mías;  

un' ora alegre, en tantos tristes días
sufrid, que tenga un triste descontento;
y que pueda sentir tal vez contento
la gloria de fingidas alegrías.  

No es justo, no, que siempre quebrantado
me oprima el mal, y me deshaga el pecho
nueva pena d' antiguo desvarío.  

Mas ô que temo tanto el dulce estado,
que (como al bien no esté enseñado y hecho)
abraço ufano el grave dolor mío.

Debile hope in all my obstinate strivings,
futile longing in unrivalled torment,
and pointless outcome of the pain I feel,
unceasing tears and anguishes of mine:

permit a disconsolate wretch
one hour of joy in so many days of sadness,
and let him a while enjoy contentedly
the glory of blisses that he has imagined.

It is not fair at all ill fortune
should oppress and rack me always
and that new pain of old delirium rend my breast.

But oh, I fear so much my happy state,
unused to, as I am, untaught in happy fortune,
I cheerfully embrace this heavy pain of mine.

Transl. Copyright © Michael Smith, 2008


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