Deep in the man sits fast his fate
To mould his fortunes, mean or great:
Unknown to Cromwell as to me
Was Cromwell’s measure or degree;
Unknown to him as to his horse,
If he than his groom be better or worse.
He works, plots, fights, in rude affairs,
With squires, lords, kings, his craft compares,
Till late he learned, through doubt and fear,
Broad England harbored not his peer:
Obeying time, the last to own
The Genius from its cloudy throne.
For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits
Is the same Genius that creates.
I love thy music, mellow bell,
I love thine iron chime,
To life or death, to heaven or hell,
Which calls the sons of Time.
Thy voice upon the deep
The home-bound sea-boy hails,
It charms his cares to sleep,
It cheers him as he sails.
To house of God and heavenly joys
Thy summons called our sires,
And good men thought thy sacred voice
Disarmed the thunder’s fires.
And soon thy music, sad death-bell,
Shall lift its notes once more,
And mix my requiem with the wind
That sweeps my native shore.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (25 mei 1803 – 27 april 1882)
Portret door David Scott, 1848
Daily Round of a Spinster
To be solitary is shameful. All day long
a terrible blush burnishes her cheek
(while the other is in eclipse).
She busies herself in a labor of ashes,
at tasks worthless and fruitless;
and when her relatives gather
around the fire, telling stories,
the howl is heard
of a woman wailing on a-boundless plain
where every boulder, every scorched tree stump,
every twisted bough is a judge
or a witness without mercy.
At night the spinster
stretches herself out on her bed of agony.
An anguished sweat breaks out to dampen the sheets
and the void is peopled
with made-up dialogues and men.
And the spinster waits, waits, waits.
And she cannot be born in her child, in her womb,
nor can she die
in-her far-off, unexplored body,
a planet the astronomer can calculate,
existent though unseen.
Peering into a dark mirror the spinster
— extinguished star — paints on her lips
with a lipstick the blood she does not have.
And smiles at a dawn without anyone at all.
Vertaald door Kate Flores
Rosario Castellanos (25 mei 1925 – 7 augustus 1974)
Son pas trop lent
Sur le tendre cristal
D’une mer belle
Comme un silence de fée
Ces battements d’ailes D’oiseaux perdus
Ô regards révolus
Ô premiers rendez-vous
Le doux métal
De son aisselle
Je tue son souffle
Je tue son cœur
L’accès m’est interdit
Des fontaines jaillissantes
Mes bras sur son corps repliés
Ne sont plus que des feuillages morts
Suis-je devenu ce tigre vieilli
Qui étouffe sa proie
Mais ne la mort pas
Jusqu’à la fin du sang
Les portes des cathédrales
Très hautes très ogivales
Glissent le long du songe
À la hauteur de l’aube
Alain Grandbois (25 mei 1900 – 18 maart 1975)
The Words of the Candle (Fragment)
Let my wretched corpse be consumed
For our true God the Almighty,
May my lungs scorch, charred to ashes,
For mankind I’ll melt and vanish,
With me all man’s joys I’ll carry,
Bear them to the Lord Almighty.
Humanity is what I long for,
Goodness, gentleness and wisdom,
If you’ll with me be companions?
If you’ll love me as I love you,
If you all love one another,
Work not for the Prince of Darkness.
Venture towards me, fleeting heart, do
Come, approach this fire a little!
Though the flame may singe your wings, it’s
Sure to sanctify your spirit.
With the torch that here consumes me
I the eyes of men have opened,
Been of them a true companion.
I do know them, they do know me,
I’ve observed them all in passing,
Mothers, kith and kin, and fathers,
All of them are my concern still,
All who lived here on this planet,
Even now I see them ‘mongst you,
For I recognize their spirits.
I, like you, have changed, transfigured,
Changed and altered my companions,
Many times have I turned into
Earth and wind and fire and water.
I’m a spark come from the heavens,
From the sun I’m glowing embers,
Through the skies I fly, a-soaring,
And live deep within the ocean,
Often in the soil I sleep or
Take my rest in fruits and honey,
I’m a suckling lamb or kid goat,
Flower, grass or leaves a-sprouting,
So much do I have to tell you,
Yet I fear my speech will fail me.
What’s the point to put to paper
Words this flickering tongue’s inspired?
Naim Frashëri (25 mei 1846 – 20 oktober 1900)
Monument voor de gebroeders Frashër in Prishtina, Kosova. Abdyl Frashëri (l), Sami Frashëri (c), Naim Frashëri (r).
Uit: The Last Days of Pompeii
“To the questor–business of state–afterward to the temple of Isis, Vale!”
“An ostentatious, bustling, ill-bred fellow,” muttered Clodius to himself, as he sauntered slowly away. “He thinks with his feasts and his wine-cellars to make us forget that he is the son of a freedman:–and so we will, when we do him the honor of winning his money; these rich plebians are a harvest for us spendthrift nobles.”
Thus soliloquizing, Clodius arrived in the Via Domitiana, which was crowded with passengers and chariots, and exhibited all that gay and animated exuberance of life and motion which we find at this day in the streets of Naples.
The bells of the cars as they rapidly glided by each other, jingled merrily on the ear, and Clodius with smiles and nods claimed familiar acquaintance with whatever equipage was most elegant or fantastic: in fact, no idler was better known in Pompeii.
“What, Clodius! and how have you slept on your good fortune?” cried, in a pleasant and musical voice, a young man, in a chariot of the most fastidious and graceful fashion. Upon its surface of bronze were elaborately wrought, in the still exquisite workmanship of Greece, reliefs of the Olympian games; the two horses that drew the car were of the rarest breed of Parthia; their slender limbs seemed to disdain the ground and court the air, and yet at the slightest touch of the charioteer, who stood behind the young owner of the equipage, they paused motionless as if suddenly transformed into stone–lifeless, but life-like, as one of the breathing wonders of Praxiteles.`
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (25 mei 1803 – 18 januari 1873)
Illustratie uit The Last Days of Pompeii