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Fifty Sonnets from the Portuguese

by Anthero de Quental, translated by
James H. Donalson



To Paul - who relieved me of some of my other duties so I could work on this.

I have used the 1890 edition of "Os Sonetos Completos de Anthero de Quental" (Pôrto), "The Oxford Book of Portuguese Verse", edited by A.F.G.Bell (Oxford, 1925), "Antero de Quental", edited by A. Casais Monteiro (Rio, 1960) and "Antero de Quental - Sonetos" edited by Antônio Sérgio (Lisboa, 1956).The first and last of these books are the only complete ones available to me, if indeed there is such a thing as a "complete" sonnets of Anthero: five early sonnets appearing in the 1861 edition were dropped from subsequent ones, and the posthumous books may include some.

The first translation was done in 1949, followed by a further batch in 1960/1, the rest in 1970/1.

I have followed the organization of the 1890 edition. Since it was done in the poet's lifetime, I assume he approved. There are certain discrepancies in the dating, as Sérgio points out. The Xrazilian edition drew me into Brazilian spelling. I attempted to change to the Portuguese style, but the influence of my Brazilian dictionary proved too strong to overcome. Add to this the general spelling reform since 1910, which affected even the name of the Poet (Anthero/Antero), the typographical errors of the 1890 and 1960 editions, the drastic editing of the Oxford edition, and the fact that I have no proof-reader, and I can only apologize and hope for the best.

In places where a word may be scanned with either of two syllable counts, I use the grave accent mark to show inclusion of the extra syllable, rather than the apostrophe to indicate its omission. Such words would perhaps better be avoided altogether.

Before closing the matter, I must express deep thanks to my friend, Alan Marshfield, who was kind enough to prevent some of my mistakes from appearing here by pointing them out by trans-Atlantic correspondence. It is only fair for me to say that I did not always take his advice, and he was hampered in the final stages because I did not furnish him with the originals.

Copyright: James H. Donalson 2003

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