...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

July 13, 2005

Wednesday Is Poetry Day: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

War poetry this week.

In his travels, the knight errant Don Quixote de La Mancha met a man known as "the captive," who fought against the Turks. The captive was taken prisoner by a fierce pirate and made a slave oarman on a Turkish galley. The captive related the story of another slave who rowed next to him on the galley, a nobleman named Don Pedro de Aguilar, who had a gift for poetry. Here is one of his sonnets, about the bravery of the Spanish soldiers who in 1574 died defending the Goletta, a citadel near Tunis, the infamous home of the Barbary pirates.

O blissful souls, who from the mortal veil
freed and unconfined, flew from this low earth,
borne on the wings of brave and virtuous deeds
to the highest, holiest spheres of glorious heav'n,
     ablaze with fury and with righteous zeal,
and summoning all your honor and your strength,
you colored the ocean and the sandy ground
with your own blood, and with the enemy's;
     you lost your lives before you lost the valor
of your weary, battling arms; in death,
though you are vanquished, victory is yours.
     Your mortal, melancholy fall, between
the ramparts and the attacking horde, brings you
fame in this world, blessed glory in the next.

This modern version is from the beautiful new Edith Grossman translation. Two more traditional versions of this sonnet can be found here.

Posted by annika, Jul. 13, 2005 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: Poetry


Yadayadayada, good God, I hope you don't believe that romantic bullshit. Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.

Posted by: Casca on Jul. 13, 2005

you and your Wilfred Owen. Its like an obsession. You're worse than Publicola and his Garand.

; )

Posted by: annika on Jul. 13, 2005

Heh, I'm conflicted. I don't want youth to rush down the trail that I got shot up on.

Posted by: Casca on Jul. 13, 2005