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The sweet lament of two Castilian swains,
Salicio's love and Nemoroso's tears,
In sympathy I sing, to whose loved strains
Their flocks, of food forgetful, crowding round,
Were most attentive: Pride of Spanish peers!
Who, by thy splendid deeds, hast gained a name
And rank on earth unrivaled, whether crowned

With cares, Alvano, wielding now the rod
Of empire, now the dreadful bolts that tame
Strong kings, in motion to the trumpet's sound,

Express vicegerent of the Thracian God;
Or whether, from the cumbrous burden freed
Of state affairs, thou seek'st the echoing plain,

Chasing, upon thy spirited fleet steed,
The trembling stag that bounds abroad, in vain
Lengthening out life, though deeply now engrossed

By cares, I hope, so soon as I regain
The leisure I have lost,
To celebrate, with my recording quill,
Thy virtues and brave deeds, a starry sum,
Ere grief, or age, or silent death turn chill
My poesy's warm pulse, and I become
Nothing to thee, whose worth the nations blaze,

Failing thy sight, and songless in thy praise.
But till that day, predestined by the Muse,
Appears to cancel the memorial dues
Owed to thy glory and renown, a claim
Not only upon me, but which belongs
To all fine spirits that transmit to fame
Ennobling deeds in monumental songs,
Let the green laurel whose victorious boughs
Clasp in endearment thine illustrious brows,
To the weak ivy give permissive place,
Which, rooted in thy shade, thou first of trees,

May hope by slow degrees
To tower aloft, supported by thy praise ;
Since Time to thee sublimer strains shall bring,
Hark to my shepherds, as they sit and sing.

The sun, from rosy billows risen, had rayed
With gold the mountain tops, when at the foot
Of a tall beech romantic, whose green shade
Fell on a brook, that, sweet-voiced as a lute,
Through lively pastures wound its sparkling way,
Sad on the daisied turf Salicio lay ;
And with a voice in concord to the sound
Of all the many winds, and waters round,
As o'er the mossy stones they swiftly stole,
Poured forth in melancholy song his soul
Of sorrow with a fall
So sweet, and aye so mildly musical,
None could have thought that she whose seeming guile
Had caused his anguish, absent was the while,
But that in very deed the unhappy youth
Did, face to face, upbraid her questioned truth.


More hard than marble to my mild complaints,
And to the lively flame with which I glow,
Cold, Galatea, cold as winter snow !
I feel that I must die, my spirit faints,
And dreads continuing life ; for, alienate
From thee, life sinks into a weary weight,
To be shook off with pleasure; from all eyes
I shrink, ev'n from myself despised I turn,
And left by her for whom alone I yearn,
My cheek is tinged with crimson ; heart of ice !
Dost thou the worshipped mistress scorn to be
Of one whose cherished guest thou ever art ;
Not being able for an hour to free
Thine image from my heart ?
This dost thou scorn ? in gentleness of woe
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

The sun shoots forth the arrows of his light
O'er hills and valleys, wakening to fresh birth
The birds, and animals, and tribes of earth,
That through the crystal air pursue their flight,
That o'er the verdant vale and craggy height
In perfect liberty and safety feed,
That with the present sun afresh proceed
To the due toils of life,
As their own wants or inclinations lead ;
This wretched spirit is alone at strife
With peace, in tears at eve, in tears when bright
The morning breaks ; in gentleness of woe,
Flow forth my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

And thou, without one pensive memory
Of this my life, without the slightest sign
Of pity for my pangs, dost thou consign
To the stray winds, ungrateful, every tie
Of love and faith, which thou didst vow should be
Locked in thy soul eternally for me ?
Oh righteous Gods! if from on high ye view
This false, this perjured maid
Work the destruction of a friend so true,
Why leave her crime of justice unrepaid ?
Dying I am with hopeless, sharp concern ;
If to tried friendship this is the return
She makes, with what will she requite her foe ?
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

Through thee the silence of the shaded glen,
Through thee the horror of the lonely mountain
Pleased me no less than the resort of men ;
The breeze, the summer wood, and lucid fountain,
The purple rose, white lily of the lake,
Were sweet for thy sweet sake ;
For thee the fragrant primrose, dropt with dew,
Was wished when first it blew !
Oh how completely was I in all this
Myself deceiving! oh the different part
That thou wert acting, covering with a kiss
Of seeming love, the traitor in thy heart !
This my severe misfortune, long ago,
Did the soothsaying raven, sailing by
On the black storm, with hoarse sinister cry,
Clearly presage; in gentleness of woe,
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

How oft, when slumbering in the forest brown,
(Deeming it Fancy's mystical deceit,)
Have I beheld my fate in dreams foreshown I
One day, methought that from the noontide heat
I drove my flocks to drink of Tagus' flood,
And, under curtain of its bordering wood,
Take my cool siesta; but, arrived, the stream,
I know not by what magic, changed its track,
And in new channels, by an unused way,
Rolled its warped waters back ;
Whilst I, scorched, melting with the heat extreme,
Went ever following in their flight, astray,
The wizard waves; in gentleness of woe,
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

In the charmed ear of what beloved youth
Sounds thy sweet voice? on whom revolvest thou
Thy beautiful blue eyes? on whose proved truth
Anchors thy broken faith? who presses now
Thy laughing lip, and hopes thy heaven of charms,
Locked in the' embraces of thy two white arms?
Say thou, for whom hast thou so rudely left
My love, or stolen, who triumphs in the theft ?
I have not yet a bosom so untrue
To feeling, nor a heart of stone, to view
My darling ivy, torn from me, take root
Against another wall or prosperous pine,
To see my virgin vine
Around another elm in marriage hang
Its curling tendrils and empurpled fruit,
Without the torture of a jealous pang,
Ev'n to the loss of life ; in gentle woe,
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

What may not now be looked for to take place
In any certain or uncertain case?
What are too adverse now to join, too wild
For love to fear, too dissonant to agree?
What faith is too secure to be beguiled?
Matter for all thus being given by thee.
A signal proof didst thou, when, rude and cold,
Thou left'st my bleeding heart to break, present
To all loved youths and maids
Whom heaven in its blue beauty overshades,
That ev'n the most secure have cause to fear
The loss of that which they as sweet or dear
Cherish the most ; in gentleness of woe,
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

Thou hast giv'n room for hope that now the mind
May work impossibilities most strange,
And jarring natures in concordance bind ;
Transferring thus from me to him thy hand
And fickle heart in such swift interchange,
As ever must be voiced from land to land.
Now let mild lambs in nuptial fondness range
With savage wolves from forest brake to brake ;
Now let the subtle snake
In curled caresses nest with simple doves,
Harming them not, for in your ghastly loves
Difference is yet more great ; in gentle woe,
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow !

My dairies always with new milk abound,
Summer and winter, all my vats run o'er
With richest creams, and my superfluous store
Of cheese and butter is afar renowned ;
With as sweet songs have I amused thine ear
As could the Mantuan Tityrus of yore,
And more to be admired ; nor am I, dear,
If well observed, or so uncouth or grim,
For in the watery looking-glass below
My image I can see — a shape and face
I surely never would exchange with him
Who joys in my disgrace ;
My fate I might exchange ; in gentle woe,
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

How have I fallen in such contempt, how grown
So suddenly detested, or in what
Attentions have I failed thee? wert thou not
Under the power of some malignant spell,
My worth and consequence were known too well ;
I should be held in pleasurable esteem,
Nor left thus in divorce, alone — alone!
Hast thou not heard, when fierce the Dogstar smites
These plains with heat and drouth,
What countless flocks to Cuenca's thymy heights
Yearly I drive, and in the winter breme,
To the warm valleys of the sheltering south ?
But what avails my wealth if I decay,
And in perpetual sorrow weep away
My years of youth ! in gentleness of woe,
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

Over my griefs the mossy stones relent
Their natural durity, and break ; the trees
Bend down their weeping boughs without a breeze,
And full of tenderness, the listening birds,
Warbling in different notes, with me lament,
And warbling prophesy my death ; the herds
That in the green meads hang their heads at eve,
Wearied, and worn, and faint,
The necessary sweets of slumber leave,
And low, and listen to my wild complaint.
Thou only steel'st thy bosom to my cries,
Not ev'n once rolling thine angelic eyes
On him thy harshness kills ; in gentle woe,
Flow forth, my tears, 'tis meet that ye should flow!

But though thou wilt not come for my sad sake,
Leave not the landscape thou hast held so dear;
Thou may'st come freely now, without the fear
Of meeting me, for though my heart should break,
Where late forsaken I will now forsake.
Come then, if this alone detains thee, here
Are meadows full of verdure, myrtles, bays,
Woodlands, and lawns, and running waters clear,
Beloved in other days,
To which, bedewed with many a bitter tear,
I sing my last of lays.
These scenes perhaps, when I am far removed,
At ease thou wilt frequent
With him who rifled me of all I loved ;
Enough! my strength is spent;
And leaving thee in his desired embrace,
It is not much to leave him this sweet place.

Here ceased the youth his Doric madrigal,
And sighing, with his last laments let fall
A shower of tears; the solemn mountains round,
Indulgent of his sorrow, tossed the sound
Melodious from romantic steep to steep,
In mild responses deep;
Sweet Echo, starting from her couch of moss,
Lengthened the dirge, and tenderest Philomel,
As pierced with grief and pity at his loss,
Warbled divine reply, nor seemed to trill
Less than Jove's nectar from her mournful bill.
What Nemoroso sang in sequel, tell
Ye, sweet-voiced Sirens of the sacred hill!
Too high the strain, too weak my groveling reed,
For me to dare proceed.


Smooth-sliding waters, pure and crystalline!
Trees, that reflect your image in their breast!
Green pastures, full of fountains and fresh shades!
Birds, that here scatter your sweet serenades!
Mosses, and reverend ivies serpentine,
That wreathe your verdurous arms round beech and pine,
And, climbing, crown their crest!
Can I forget, ere grief my spirit changed,
With what delicious ease and pure content
Your peace I wooed, your solitudes I ranged,
Enchanted and refreshed where'er I went!
How many blissful noons I here have spent
In luxury of slumber, couched on flowers,
And with my own fond fancies, from a boy,
Discoursed away the hours,
Discovering nought in your delightful bowers,
But golden dreams, and memories fraught with joy!

And in this very valley where I now
Grow sad, and droop, and languish, have I lain
At ease, with happy heart and placid brow;
Oh pleasure fragile, fugitive, and vain!
Here, I remember, waking once at noon,
I saw Eliza standing at my side ;
Oh cruel fate! oh finespun web, too soon
By Death's sharp scissors clipt! sweet, suffering bride,
In womanhood's most interesting prime,
Cut off, before thy time!
How much more suited had his surly stroke
Been to the strong thread of my weary life!
Stronger than steel, since in the parting strife
From thee, it has not broke.

Where are the eloquent mild eyes that drew
My heart where'er they wandered? where the hand,
White, delicate, and pure as melting dew,
Filled with the spoils that, proud of thy command,
My feelings paid in tribute? the bright hair
That paled the shining gold, that did contemn
The glorious opal as a meaner gem,
The bosom's ivory apples, where, ah where 1
Where now the neck, to whiteness overwrought,
That like a column with genteelest scorn
Sustained the golden dome of virtuous thought ?
Gone! ah, for ever gone
To the chill, desolate, and dreary pall,
And mine the grief — the wormwood and the gall!

Who would have said, my love, when late through this
Romantic valley, we from bower to bower
Went gathering violets and primroses,
That I should see the melancholy hour
So soon arrive that was to end my bliss,
And of my love destroy both fruit and flower?
Heaven on my head has laid a heavy hand;
Sentencing, without hope, without appeal,
To loneliness and ever-during tears
The joyless remnant of my future years;
But that which most I feel,
Is to behold myself obliged to bear
This condemnation to a life of care;
Lone, blind, forsaken, under sorrow's spell,
A gloomy captive in a gloomy cell.

Since thou hast left us, fullness, rest, and peace
Have failed the starveling flocks; the field supplies
To the toiled hind but pitiful increase;
All blessings change to ills; the clinging weed
Chokes the thin corn, and in its stead arise
Pernicious darnel, and the fruitless reed.
The enamelled earth, that from her verdant breast
Lavished spontaneously ambrosial flowers,
The very sight of which can soothe to rest
A thousand cares, and charm our sweetest hours,
That late indulgence of her bounty scorns,
And in exchange shoots forth but tangled bowers,
But brambles rough with thorns;
Whilst with the tears that falling steep their root,
My swollen eyes increase the bitter fruit.

As at the set of sun the shades extend,
And when its circle sinks, that dark obscure
Rises to shroud the world, on which attend
The images that set our hair on end,
Silence, and shapes mysterious as the grave;
Till the broad sun sheds once more from the wave
His lively lustre, beautiful and pure:
Such shapes were in the night, and such ill gloom
At thy departure ; still tormenting fear
Haunts, and must haunt me, until death shall doom
The so much wished-for sun to re-appear
Of thine angelic face, my soul to cheer,
Resurgent from the tomb.

As the sad nightingale in some green wood,
Closely embowered, the cruel hind arraigns
Who from their pleasant nest her plumeless brood
Has stolen, whilst she with pains
Winged the wide forest for their food, and now
Fluttering with joy, returns to the loved bough,
The bough, where nought remains:
Dying with passion and desire, she flings
A thousand concords from her various bill,
Till the whole melancholy woodland rings
With gurglings sweet, or with philippics shrill.
Throughout the silent night she not refrains
Her piercing note, and her pathetic cry,
But calls, as witness to her wrongs and pains,
The listening stars and the responding sky.

So I in mournful song pour forth my pain;
So I lament, — lament, alas, in vain —
The cruelty of death! untaught to spare,
The ruthless spoiler ravished from my breast
Each pledge of happiness and joy, that there
Had its beloved home and nuptial nest.
Swift-seizing death! through thy despite I fill
The whole world with my passionate lament,
Importuning the skies and valleys shrill
My tale of wrongs to echo and resent.
A grief so vast no consolation knows,
Ne'er can the agony my brain forsake,
Till suffering consciousness in frenzy close,
Or till the shattered chords of being break.

Poor, lost Eliza! of thy locks of gold,
One treasured ringlet in white silk I keep
For ever at my heart, which, when unrolled,
Fresh grief and pity o'er my spirit creep;
And my insatiate eyes, for hours untold,
O'er the dear pledge will, like an infant's, weep:
With sighs more warm than fire anon I dry
The tears from off it, number one by one
The radiant hairs, and with a love-knot tie ;
Mine eyes, this duty done,
Give over weeping, and with slight relief
I taste a short forgetfulness of grief.

But soon, with all its first-felt horrors fraught,
That gloomy night returns upon my brain,
Whichever wrings my spirit with the thought
Of my deep loss, and thine unaided pain;
Ev'n now, I seem to see thee pale recline
In thy most trying crisis, and to hear
The plaintive murmurs of that voice divine,
Whose tones might touch the ear
Of blustering winds, and silence their dispute;
That gentle voice (now mute)
Which to the merciless Lucina prayed,
In utter agony, for aid — for aid!
Alas, for thine appeal! Discourteous power,
Where wert thou gone in that momentous hour?

Or wert thou in the grey woods hunting deer?
Or with thy shepherd boy entranced? Could aught
Palliate thy rigorous cruelty, to turn
Away thy scornful, cold, indifferent ear
From my moist prayers, by no affliction moved,
And sentence one, so beauteous and beloved,
To the funereal urn!
Oh, not to mark the throes
Thy Nemoroso suffered, whose concern
It ever was, when pale the morning rose,
To drive the mountain beasts into his toils,
And on thy holy altars heap the spoils;
And thou, ungrateful! smiling with delight,
Could'st leave my nymph to die before my sight.

Divine Eliza! since the sapphire sky
Thou measurest now on angel- wings, and feet
Sandalled with immortality, oh why
Of me forgetful? Wherefore not entreat
To hurry on the time when I shall see
The veil of mortal being rent in twain, -
And smile that I am free?
In the third circle of that happy land,
Shall we not seek together, hand in hand,
Another lovelier landscape, a new plain,
Other romantic streams and mountains blue,
Fresh flowery vales, and a new shady shore,
Where I may rest, and ever in my view
Keep thee, without the terror and surprise
Of being sundered more!

Ne'er had the shepherds ceased these songs, to which
The hills alone gave ear, had they not seen
The sun in clouds of gold and crimson rich
Descend, and twilight sadden o'er the green;
But noting now, how rapidly the night
Rushed from the hills, admonishing to rest,
The sad musicians, by the blushful light
Of lingering Hesperus, themselves addressed
To fold their flocks, and step by step withdrew,
Through bowery lawns and pastures wet with dew.


Garcilaso de la Vega
Translated by J. H. Wiffen

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