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I applied myself to science,
In its great truths believing,
That from my troubles I hence
Some ease might be receiving.

O! what a sad delusion!
What lessons dear I learn’d me!
To verses in conclusion,
And mirth and dance I turn’d me.

As if it were that life could
Produce so little trouble,
That we with toils and strife would
Make each one of them double.

I stand by smiling Bacchus,
In joys us wont to wrap he;
The wise, Dorila, lack us
The knowledge to be happy.

What matters it, if even
In fair as diamond splendour,
The sun is fix’d in heaven?
Me light he’s born to render.

The moon is, so me tell they,
With living beings swarmy;
«There may be thousands», well they
Can never come to harm me!

From Danube to the Ganges,
History tells how did he
The Macedonian launch his
Proud banner fierce and giddy!

What’s that to us, to entice us,
If only half this valley,
To feed our lambs suffice us,
With all our wants to tally?

If not, leave all to justice:
Give me some drink, o’erpower’d
With but to name this goddess,
I feel myself a coward.

They much who study ever
Have thousand plagues annoy them;
Which in their best endeavour
Their peace and joy destroy them:

And then what do they gather?
A thousand doubts upspringing,
Which other puzzlings farther
Them other doubts are bringing.

And so through life they haste on,
One enviable truly!
Disputes and hates to waste on,
And ne’er agreeing throughly.

My shepherd girl! but bring me
Then wine abundant very,
And fear not songs I’ll sing thee,
As endlessly and merry.


Juan Meléndez Valdés
Translation by James Kennedy

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James Kennedy. "Modern poets and poetry of Spain" (1860). Produced by Cornell University Library, 1992.