You Foolish Men

Original Poem: Hombres necios que acusáis…

Translation – Copyright © 2004 by Michael Smith. Shearsman Books Ltd.

You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame;

if you invite their disdain
with measureless desire
why wish they well behave
if you incite to ill.

You fight their stubbornness,
then, weightily,
you say it was their lightness
when it was your guile.

In all your crazy shows
you act like a child
who plays the bogeyman
of which he’s then afraid.

With foolish arrogance
you hope to find a Thais
in her you court, but a Lucretia
when you’ve possessed her.

What kind of mind is odder
than his who mists
a mirror and then complains
that it’s not clear.

Their favour and disdain
you hold in equal state,
if they mistreat, you complain,
you mock if they treat you well.

No woman wins esteem of you:
the most modest is ungrateful
if she refuses to admit you;
yet if she does, she’s loose.

You always are so foolish
your censure is unfair;
one you blame for cruelty
the other for being easy.

What must be her temper
who offends when she’s
ungrateful and wearies
when compliant?

But with the anger and the grief
that your pleasure tells
good luck to her who doesn’t love you
and you go on and complain.

Your lover’s moans give wings
to women’s liberty:
and having made them bad,
you want to find them good.

Who has embraced
the greater blame in passion?
She who, solicited, falls,
or he who, fallen, pleads?

Who is more to blame,
Though either should do wrong?
She who sins for pay
or he who pays to sin?

Why be outraged at the guilt
that is of your own doing?
Have them as you make them
or make them what you will.

Leave off your wooing
and then, with greater cause,
you can blame the passion
of her who comes to court?

Patent is your arrogance
that fights with many weapons
since in promise and insistence
you join world, flesh and devil.


In which she satisfies suspicion with the rhetoric of weeping

Original Poema: En que satisface un recelo con la retorica del llanto

Translation of “En que satisface un recelo con la retorica del llanto” by Alix Ingber

This afternoon, my love, while we were talking,

and in your face and acts I clearly saw

that with my words I never would convince you,

I wished my heart could overcome your doubts;



and Love, who all my efforts was assisting,

achieving what so impossible had seemed:

for in tears, which in my grief were spilling,

a heart unloosed, dissolved, came trickling out.



Enough, my love, of cruelty, enough;

let brutal jealousy no more torment you,

nor let low fears your mind’s peace countermand



with foolish fantasies, with empty signs,

for in a liquid form you’ve seen and touched

my heart unloosed, dissolved between your hands.

In which she allays mistrust with rhetoric of tears.

Original Poem: “En que satisface un receto con la retorica del llanto”

Translation of “En que satisface un recelo con la retorica del llanto” by Dia Tsung

This evening, my love, as I with you I was speaking,

When on your face, your feelings I observed,

And when my words I saw could not persuade you

To see whereof it was my heart desired,



Love came to my aid, to help me with my cause

And win what seemed to be beyond achieving.

Then between the ache and flooding tears

Was the essence of my dismantled heart distilled



Enough my love, be done with harshness: Cease!

Neither let tyranny and jealousy torment you

Nor let vile suspicions your concern obstruct



With foolish shadows tinged with vanities,

When now in liquid form you see and touch

My heart unmade, undone, within your hands.

In which she responds to jealous suspicion with the rhetoric of weeping

Original Poem: “En que satisface un recelo con la retorica del llanto”

Translation of “En que satisface un recelo con la retorica del llanto” by Edith Grossman

This afternoon, my love, when I spoke to you,

I could see in your face, in what you did,

that you were not persuaded by mere words,

and I wished you could see into my heart;



and Love, assisting me in my attempt,

overcame the seeming impossible,

for among the tears that my sorrow shed

was my breaking heart, liquid and distilled.



Enough of anger now, my love, enough;

do not let tyrant jealousy torment you,

nor base suspicion roil your serenity



with foolish specters and deceptive clues;

in liquid humor you have seen and touched

my broken heart and held it in your hands.

In which she satisfies suspicion with weeping

Original Poem: “En que satisface un recelo con la retorica del llanto”

Translation of “En que satisface un recelo con la retorica del llanto” by Victoria Nahley

This evening, my love, when I spoke to you,

I saw in your face and your actions

that with my words I could never persuade you,

I wished you could see into my heart;



and Love, who’s attempts were assisting me,

defeated what seemed impossible:

for through my tears my pain spilled out,

my undone, distilled heart.



Enough, of hardness, my love, enough;

let tyrant jealously torment you no more,

nor let vile fears clash your mind’s stillness



with silly shadows, with hollow signs,

for in a liquid form you’ve seen and you’ve touched

my undone heart which dissolved between your hands.

Sonnet

Original Poem: “Soneto”

Translation of “Soneto” by Victoria Nahley

Feliciano worships me and I detest him;

Lisardo detests me and I adore him;

for him who does not long for me, I’m weeping,

and he who weeps for me, I don’t crave.



To him who’s tarnish me most, my soul I offer;

to him who’d sacrifice for me, I tarnish;

I scorn him who’d enrich my reputation,

and he who’d scorn it, I enrich.



If I complain that one of them reprimands me,

the other reprimands me for some offense;

and I suffer either way,



because both torture my feelings:

the latter with asking for what I don’t have;

and the former by not having what I ask.

Which contains a happy fantasy with decent love

Original Poem, “Que contiene una fantasia contenta con amor decente”

Translation of “Que contiene una fantasia contenta con amor decente” by Victoria Nahley

Stop, shadow of my elusive joy,

image of the charms I most desire,

beautiful illusion for whom I happily die,

sweet fiction for whom I painfully live.



If to the magnet of your graces appeal,

my heart serves like obedient steel,

why do you love flattering me

if later you will mock me, fugitive?



But don’t think you can boast, self-satisfied,

that your tyranny triumphs over me:

that though you’ve left and the narrow noose have mocked



that once encircled your fantastic form,

it matters little that you mocked my arms and breast

if you are locked in my fantasy prison.

In which she warns a rose, and through the rose, people

Original Poem, “En que moral censura a una rosa, y en ella a sus semejantes”

Translation of “En que moral censura a una rosa, y en ella a sus semejantes” by Alix Ingber

Divine rose cultivated with such grace

you are, with all your fragrant subtlety,

a scarlet master class in loveliness,

a snowy course that beauty demonstrates;



of human architecture duplicate,

example of all vain gentility,

in whose existence nature aptly joined

the happy crib to sad sepulcher’s gates:

how haughtily you scorn the risks of death,

and later faint, with shriveled petals tucked,


of your declining state give withered signs,

whereby, by your wise death and foolish life,

alive you fool, and dying you instruct.

She prefers to die rather than to expose herself to the affront of old age

Original Poem “Escoge antes el morir que exponerse a los ultrajes de la veejs”

Translation of “Escoge antes el morir que exponerse a los ultrajes de la veejs” by Alix Ingber

Celia saw a rose which in the field

its self-indulgent pomp gaily displayed

and with its scarlet lipstick, crimson rogue

its delicate visage joyfully bathed;



and she said, “Go enjoy, not fearing Fate,

the brief course that your graceful youth obeys,

for death that comes tomorrow never can

take from you what you have enjoyed today;



and even though death nears so rapidly

and your sweet-scented life is on the wane,

don’t rue your death, so fair and young foretold:



for your experience advises you

that it’s good luck to die while beautiful

and see not the affront of being old.”

Sonnet

Original Poem by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

Translation of “Soneto” by Alix Ingber

Philip worships me and I abhor him;

Leonard hates me; and for him I yearn;

for him who would desire me not, I’m weeping,

and him who weeps for me I always spurn.

To him who’d shame me most, my soul I offer;

him who’d sacrifice for me, I shame;

I scorn him who’d exalt my reputation,

of him who’d scorn it, I exalt the name.

If I complain that one of them offends me,

the other censures me for some offense;

in either case I suffer in my task,

for each of them wreaks torture on my feelings:

the latter for asking for what I don’t have;

the former by not having what I ask.