ODE TO FRANCISCO SALINAS
To Francisco Salinas
Catedrático de Música de la Universidad de Salamanca
The air becomes serene
and is clothed in beauty and strange radiance,
Salinas, when there sounds
the incomparable music
governed by your skilled hand.
At that heavenly sound
my soul, that is sunk in forgetfulness,
recovers its judgement
and the lost memory
of its first, exalted origin.
And as it knows itself,
it improves its fate and thought;
it disdains the gold
that the blind multitude worships,
and perishable, deceitful beauty.
It traverses the ether
until it reaches the highest sphere,
and there it hears another mode
music, the first, the source of all.
It sees how the Great Master,
playing this immense cither,
with skilled movement
produces the sacred sound
by wich this eternal temple is sustained.
And as it is composed
of concordant numbers, it emits
a consonant response,
and from their vying
is mingled the sweetest harmony.
Here the soul steers
through a sea of sweetness, and at last
sinks so deep within,
that it hears or feels
no strange or rare event.
O blessed trance!
O death that gives life! O sweet oblivion!
Could I but remain in your repose
without being restored
ever to these low and abject senses!
To this bliss I call you
glory of Apollo's sacred choir,
friends whom I love
beyond all treasure,
since all visible things are sorrowful tears.
Oh, may your music, Salinas,
sound everlastingly in my ears;
hearing it, my senses
awaken to God's goodness,
and to all else remain oblivious.
Fray Luis de León
Translated by Eugenio Florit