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At last, O thou serene retreat
From all my wanderings! Thou balm desired
So long, that bringst me healing sweet
From wounds naught else can heal! Inspired
Seclusion, gracious welcome for the tired!
At last, thou little thatch of straw
Beneath whose eaves no lurking Care hath stayed,
Where none within a comrade's glances saw
The gleam of Envy e'er displayed—
Nor voice was perjured, not a plot betrayed!
Fair upland, sloping to the skies
With peace beyond the thought of earth endowed—
Beyond where in death's grapple vies
The creature of the fevered crowd
With thirst of dissolution and the shroud!—
Receive me, mountain, oh receive
Within thy fastness! For I come pursued
By slander! — yea, unfinished leave
The tasks that bring ingratitude,
The peace that mocks, and earth's unhappy brood!—
Where one, who late at haven-bar
Hath lain to anchor calm, is now the prey
Of winds that buffet him afar
And waves that gulf him in their spray
And rack his hapless timbers with dismay!
Another meets the lurking rock
And instant down the yawning waters goes
Calamitous unto the shock!
For one, becalmed, no life-breath blows;
On Syrtean shoals the squall another throws;
Whilst others are despairing prey
To sudden midnight and the dread typhoon,
And to the hungry Neptune pay
Their lives in tribute mid the swoon;
Some, bold to swim, are down the ocean strewn!
Strive or surrender to the flood,
What end must ultimate be his, who rides,
Death-gripping through the foaming scud,
Some broken spar his wreck provides
Adown such vast abysm of roaring tides?
Alas! — how often and how often thou,
Unfailing haven, hast been my desire!
Then of thy refuge fail not now —
Fail not when I would so require
'Mid such a sea of troubles blind and dire.


Fray Luis de León
Translation by Thomas Walsh

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