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Songs of Life and Hope/Cantos de vida y esperanza / Edition 1

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Overview

Renowned for its depth of feeling and musicality, the poetry of Rubén Darío (1867–1916) has been revered by writers including Federico García Lorca, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz. A leading figure in the movement known as modernismo, Darío created the modern Spanish lyric and permanently altered the course of Spanish poetry. Yet while his output has inspired a great deal of critical analysis and a scattering of translations, there has been, until now, no complete English translation of any of his books of poetry. This bilingual edition of Darío’s 1905 masterpiece, Cantos de vida y esperanza, fills a crucial gap in Hispanic and world literature studies. Will Derusha and Alberto Acereda have provided not only an elegant English translation of Darío’s work but also an authoritative version of the original Spanish text.

Written over the course of seven years and in many locales in Latin America and Europe, the poems in Cantos de vida y esperanza reflect both Darío’s anguished sense of modern life and his ecstatic visions of transcendence, freedom, and the transformative power of art. They reveal Darío’s familiarity with Spanish, French, and English literature and the wide range of his concerns—existential, religious, erotic, and socio-political. Derusha and Acereda’s translation renders Darío’s themes with meticulous clarity and captures the structural and acoustic dimensions of the poet’s language in all its rhythmic sonority. Their introduction places this singular poet—arguably the greatest to emerge from Latin America in modern literature—and his best and most widely known work in historical and literary context. An extensive glossary offers additional information, explaining terms related to modernismo, Hispanic history, mythological allusions, and artists and writers prominent at the turn of the last century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Rubén Darío is one of the world’s most splendid poets and one of the least known, partly because his revolutionary and hybrid style is almost untranslatable. Delighted readers will finally have a chance to plunge into the great Nicaraguan poet’s masterpiece and sing with him of life and hope.”—Ariel Dorfman, author of In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land: New and Collected Poems from Two Languages

“Will Derusha and Alberto Acereda give us a Rubén Darío that will be of immense interest to aficionados of poetry in Spanish, as well as to lay readers who have discovered the joys and pleasures of the likes of Federico García Lorca, Pablo Neruda, and Cesar Vallejo.”—Rafael Campo, author of Landscape with Human Figure

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822332718
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Edition description: Bilingual Edition: English & Spanish
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 839,905
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Rubén Darío was a leading modernist poet, renowned for his innovations in Spanish poetry. Born in Nicaragua, he lived in Chile, Argentina, and Spain.
Will Derusha is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Alberto Acereda is Associate Professor of Spanish at Arizona State University. They are the coeditors and translators of Selected Poems of Ruben Darío: A Bilingual Anthology.

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Read an Excerpt

Songs of Life and Hope

Cantos de Vida y Esperanza
By Ruben Dario

Duke University Press

Copyright © 2004 Ruben Dario
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780822332824


Chapter One

I. Yo soy aquel que ayer no mas decia el verso azul y la cancion profana, en cuya noche un ruisenor habia que era alondra de luz por la manana.

El dueno fui de mi jardin de sueno, lleno de rosas y de cisnes vagos; el dueno de las tortolas, el dueno de gondolas y liras en los lagos;

y muy siglo diez y ocho y muy antiguo y muy moderno; audaz, cosmopolita; con Hugo fuerte y con Verlaine ambiguo, y una sed de ilusiones infinita.

Yo supe de dolor desde mi infancia, mi juventud ... ?fue juventud la mia? sus rosas aun me dejan su fragancia,- una fragancia de melancolia ...

Potro sin freno se lanzo mi instinto, mi juventud monto potro sin freno; iba embriagada y con punal al cinto; si no cayo, fue porque Dios es bueno.

En mi jardin se vio una estatua bella; se juzgo marmol y era carne viva; un alma joven habitaba en ella, sentimental, sensible, sensitiva.

Y timida ante el mundo, de manera que encerrada en silencio no salia, sino cuando en la dulce primavera era la hora de la melodia ...

I.

I am the one who just yesterday spoke the blue verse and theprofane song, in whose night there was a nightingale that was a skylark of light in the morning.

I was the master of my dream garden full of roses and vague swans; the master of turtledoves, the master of gondolas and lyres on the lakes;

and very eighteenth-century and very ancient and very modern; audacious, cosmopolitan; with straightforward Hugo and ambiguous Verlaine, and an infinite thirst for dreams.

I've learned about pain from childhood, my youth ... Was mine a youth? Its roses still leave me its fragrance, a fragrance of melancholy ...

An unbridled colt, my instinct took off, my youth rode an unbridled colt; it went about intoxicated and with a dagger in its belt; if it didn't fall off, that was because God is good.

In my garden was a beautiful statue; it was thought to be marble, and was living flesh; a young soul inhabited it, sentimental, sensitive, susceptible.

And shy before the world, so that, locked in silence, it wouldn't come out, except in the sweet spring when it was the time of melody ...

Hora de ocaso y de discreto beso; hora crepuscular y de retiro; hora de madrigal y de embeleso, de "te adoro," de "ay" y de suspiro.

Y entonces era en la dulzaina un juego de misteriosas gamas cristalinas, un renovar de notas del Pan griego y un desgranar de musicas latinas,

con aire tal y con ardor tan vivo, que a la estatua nacian de repente en el muslo viril patas de chivo y dos cuernos de satiro en la frente.

Como la Galatea gongorina me encanto la marquesa verleniana, y asi juntaba a la pasion divina una sensual hiperestesia humana;

todo ansia, todo ardor, sensacion pura y vigor natural; y sin falsia, y sin comedia y sin literatura ... : si hay un alma sincera, esa es la mia.

La torre de marfil tento mi anhelo; quise encerrarme dentro de mi mismo, y tuve hambre de espacio y sed de cielo desde las sombras de mi propio abismo.

Como la esponja que la sal satura en el jugo del mar, fue el dulce y tierno corazon mio, henchido de amargura por el mundo, la carne y el infierno.

Mas, por gracia de Dios, en mi conciencia el Bien supo elegir la mejor parte; y si hubo aspera hiel en mi existencia, melifico toda acritud el Arte.

Time of sunset and a discreet kiss; time of twilight and seclusion; time of madrigal and enchantment, of "I adore you," of "ah," and of a sigh.

And then on the pipes it was an array of mysterious crystalline scales, a renewing of notes from the Greek Pan, and a threshing of Latin music,

with such an air and a fervor so alive that on the statue suddenly goat feet would sprout from the virile thigh and two satyr horns from the brow.

As much as the Galatea of Gongora I loved the Marquise of Verlaine, and so joined to divine passion a sensuous human hypersensitivity;

all longing, all fervor, a pure sensation and natural vigor; and without dissimulation, and without comedy and without literature ... if there is a sincere soul, it is mine.

The ivory tower tempted my desires; I tried to lock myself within me, and grew hungry for space and thirsty for sky from the shadows of my own abyss.

Like a sponge saturated by salt in the essence of the sea, was this sweet and tender heart of mine, swollen with bitterness by the world, the flesh, and hell.

Yet, by the grace of God, in my conscience Goodness learned to choose the better part; and if there was bitter gall in my existence, everything acrid was honeyed by Art.

Mi intelecto libre de pensar bajo, bano el agua castalia el alma mia, peregrino mi corazon y trajo de la sagrada selva la armonia.

!Oh, la selva sagrada! !Oh, la profunda emanacion del corazon divino de la sagrada selva! !Oh, la fecunda fuente cuya virtud vence al destino!

Bosque ideal que lo real complica, alli el cuerpo arde y vive y Psiquis vuela; mientras abajo el satiro fornica, ebria de azul deslie Filomela

perla de ensueno y musica amorosa en la cupula en flor del laurel verde, Hipsipila sutil liba en la rosa, y la boca del fauno el pezon muerde.

Alli va el dios en celo tras la hembra, y la cana de Pan se alza del lodo; la eterna Vida sus semillas siembra, y brota la armonia del gran Todo.

El alma que entra alli debe ir desnuda, temblando de deseo y fiebre santa, sobre cardo heridor y espina aguda: asi suena, asi vibra y asi canta.

Vida, luz y verdad, tal triple llama produce la interior llama infinita; el Arte puro como Cristo exclama: Ego sum lux et veritas et vita!

Y la vida es misterio; la luz ciega y la verdad inaccesible asombra; la adusta perfeccion jamas se entrega, y el secreto Ideal duerme en la sombra.

I freed my intellect from base thinking, the waters of Castalia bathed my soul, my heart made a pilgrimage and brought back harmony from the sacred wood.

Oh, the sacred wood! Oh, the profound emanation of the divine heart of the sacred wood! Oh, the prolific fountain whose virtue overcomes fate!

Ideal forest which the real complicates, there the body burns and lives and Psyche flies; while below her the satyr fornicates, Philomela-drunk on blue-liquefies

a pearl of fantasy and amorous music in the flowering cupola of the green laurel, subtle Hypsipyle sucks on the rose, and the mouth of the faun bites her nipple.

There, after the female goes the god in heat, and Pan's reed rises from the mud; Life eternal sows its seeds, and harmony springs from the great Everything.

The soul that enters there should go naked, trembling with desire and holy fever, over wounding nettle and prickly thorn: so it dreams, so it quivers, and so it sings.

Life, light, and truth: such a triple flame produces the infinite flame within; Art pure as Christ exclaims: Ego sum lux et veritas et vita!

And life is a mystery; light blinds and inaccessible truth appalls; stark perfection never concedes, and the secret Ideal sleeps in the shadow.

Por eso ser sincero es ser potente. De desnuda que esta, brilla la estrella; el agua dice el alma de la fuente en la voz de cristal que fluye d'ella.

Tal fue mi intento, hacer del alma pura mia, una estrella, una fuente sonora, con el horror de la literatura y loco de crepusculo y de aurora.

Del crepusculo azul que da la pauta que los celestes extasis inspira, bruma y tono menor-!toda la flauta!, y Aurora, hija del Sol-!toda la lira!

Paso una piedra que lanzo una honda; paso una flecha que aguzo un violento. La piedra de la honda fue a la onda, y la flecha del odio fuese al viento.

La virtud esta en ser tranquilo y fuerte; con el fuego interior todo se abrasa; se triunfa del rencor y de la muerte, y hacia Belen ... la caravana pasa!

Thus, to be sincere is to be powerful. By being naked, the star shines; water speaks the fountain's soul in the crystal voice that from it flows.

Such was my intent, to make of this pure soul of mine, a star, a resonant fountain, with a horror of literature and crazy with dusk and with dawn.

With the blue dusk that sets the pattern, inspiring heavenly ecstasies; fog and a minor key: the whole flute! And Aurora, daughter of the sun: the whole lyre!

A stone went flying from a slingshot; an arrow, which a violent man had sharpened, flew. The stone from the slingshot went into the wave, and the arrow of hate went off on the wind.

Virtue lies in being tranquil and strong; everything burns with the fire inside it; we triumph over spite and over death, and on to Bethlehem ... the caravan passes!

II. Salutacion del optimista

Inclitas razas uberrimas, sangre de Hispania fecunda, espiritus fraternos, luminosas almas, salve! Porque llega el momento en que habran de cantar nuevos himnos lenguas de gloria. Un vasto rumor llena los ambitos; magicas ondas de vida van renaciendo de pronto; retrocede el olvido, retrocede enganada la muerte; se anuncia un reino nuevo, feliz sibila suena y en la caja pandorica de que tantas desgracias surgieron encontramos de subito, talismanica, pura, riente, cual pudiera decirla en su verso Virgilio divino, la divina reina de luz, la celeste Esperanza!

Palidas indolencias, desconfianzas fatales que a tumba o a perpetuo presidio, condenasteis al noble entusiasmo, ya vereis el salir del sol en un triunfo de liras, mientras dos continentes, abonados de huesos gloriosos, del Hercules antiguo la gran sombra soberbia evocando, digan al orbe: la alta virtud resucita que a la hispana progenie hizo duena de siglos.

Abominad la boca que predice desgracias eternas, abominad los ojos que ven solo zodiacos funestos, abominad las manos que apedrean las ruinas ilustres, o que la tea empunan o la daga suicida. Sientense sordos impetus en las entranas del mundo, la inminencia de algo fatal hoy conmueve la Tierra; fuertes colosos caen, se desbandan bicefalas aguilas, y algo se inicia como vasto social cataclismo sobre la faz del orbe. ?Quien dira que las savias dormidas no despierten entonces en el tronco del roble gigante bajo el cual se exprimio la ubre de la loba romana? ?Quien sera el pusilanime que al vigor espanol niegue musculos y que al alma espanola juzgase aptera y ciega y tullida? No es Babilonia ni Ninive enterrada en olvido y en polvo, ni entre momias y piedras reina que habita el sepulcro, la nacion generosa, coronada de orgullo inmarchito,

II. The Optimist's Salutation

Distinguished, fructiferous races, blood of prolific Hispania, brotherly spirits, luminous wings: hail! For the moment has come when new anthems will be sung by tongues of glory. An enormous report fills all spaces; magical waves of life begin all at once to be born again; oblivion recedes, death recedes, deluded; a new realm is announced, a felicitous sibyl dreams and in the Pandoric box from which so many misfortunes emerged we suddenly find, talismanic, pure, laughing, as divine Virgil might have said in his verses, the divine queen of light, celestial Hope!

Pallid indolence, fateful misgivings that to the grave or perpetual prison condemned noble enthusiasm, will now see the sun coming up in a triumph of lyres, as long as two continents, enriched by glorious bones, evoking the shadow, imposing and grand, of old Hercules, will say to the orb: the lofty virtue revives, which made Hispanic progeny the master of centuries.

Abominate mouths that foretell eternal misfortunes, abominate eyes that see only ill-fated Zodiacs, abominate hands that stone the illustrious ruins, or that wield the firebrand or suicidal dagger. Deafening impulses are felt in the core of the world, the imminence of something fateful today stirs the Earth; mighty colossuses fall, bicephalous eagles disband, and something has begun like a vast social cataclysm across the face of the orb. Who says that the sleeping sap will not thus awaken in the trunk of the giant oak under which the teat of the Roman she-wolf was milked? Who so pusillanimous would deny muscles to Spanish vigor and declare the Spanish soul apterous and blind and crippled? It is neither a Babylon nor a Nineveh buried in oblivion and in dust nor a queen that inhabits her sepulcher among mummies and stones, that generous nation crowned with unblemished pride, que hacia el lado del alba fija las miradas ansiosas, ni la que tras los mares en que yace sepulta la Atlantida, tiene su coro de vastagos, altos, robustos y fuertes.

Unanse, brillen, secundense, tantos vigores dispersos; formen todos un solo haz de energia ecumenica. Sangre de Hispania fecunda, solidas, inclitas razas, muestren los dones preteritos que fueron antano su triunfo. Vuelva el antiguo entusiasmo, vuelva el espiritu ardiente que regara lenguas de fuego en esa epifania. Juntas las testas ancianas cenidas de liricos lauros y las cabezas jovenes que la alta Minerva decora, asi los manes heroicos de los primitivos abuelos, de los egregios padres que abrieron el surco pristino, sientan los soplos agrarios de primaverales retornos y el rumor de espigas que inicio la labor triptolemica.

Un continente y otro renovando las viejas prosapias, en espiritu unidos, en espiritu y ansias y lengua, ven llegar el momento en que habran de cantar nuevos himnos. La latina estirpe vera la gran alba futura, en un trueno de musica gloriosa, millones de labios saludaran la esplendida luz que vendra del Oriente, Oriente augusto en donde todo lo cambia y renueva la eternidad de Dios, la actividad infinita. Y asi sea Esperanza la vision permanente en nosotros, inclitas razas uberrimas, sangre de Hispania fecunda! which fixes its longing gaze on the side of the dawn, nor the one which, beyond the seas in which Atlantis lies entombed, has its chorus of offspring, tall, robust, and strong.

May so many scattered strengths unite, shine, support one another; may all of them form a single bundle of ecumenical energy. Blood of prolific Hispania, solid, distinguished races, show the former gifts that in olden days were your triumph. May the old enthusiasm return, may the passionate spirit return that will rain down tongues of fire on that epiphany. May both the ancient heads girt with lyrical laurels and the young heads which lofty Minerva decorates, like the heroic manes of the primitive grandfathers, of the eminent fathers who opened the pristine furrow, feel the agrarian breezes of springtime returnings and hear the murmur of grain which Triptolemical labor began.

One continent and another renewing the old bloodlines, in spirit united, in spirit and longings and language, see the moment coming when new anthems will be sung. The Latin race will see the great dawn of the future; in a thunder of glorious music, millions of lips will salute the splendid light that will come from the East, august East in which all will be changed and renewed by the eternity of God, the infinite activity. And so may Hope be the enduring vision in us, distinguished, fructiferous races, blood of prolific Hispania!

III. Al Rey Oscar

Le Roi de Suede et de Norvege, apres avoir visite Saint-Jean-de-Luz, s'est rendu et a Hendaye et a Fonterabie. En arrivant sur le sol espagnol, il a crie: "Vive l'Espagne!"-Le Figaro, mars 1899.

Asi, Sire, en el aire de la Francia nos llega la paloma de plata de Suecia y de Noruega, que trae en vez de olivo una rosa de fuego.

Un bucaro latino, un noble vaso griego recibira el regalo del pais de la nieve. Que a los reinos boreales el patrio viento lleve otra rosa de sangre y de luz espanolas; pues sobre la sublime hermandad de las olas, al brotar tu palabra, un saludo le envia al sol de medianoche el sol del Mediodia!

Si Segismundo siente pesar, Hamlet se inquieta. El Norte ama las palmas; y se junta el poeta del fjord con el del carmen, porque el mismo oriflama es de azur. Su divina cornucopia derrama sobre el polo y el tropico, la Paz; y el orbe gira en un ritmo uniforme por una propia lira: el amor. Alla surge Sigurd que al Cid se auna. Cerca de Dulcinea brilla el rayo de luna, y la musa de Becquer del ensueno es esclava bajo un celeste palio de luz escandinava.

Sire de ojos azules, gracias: por los laureles de cien bravos vestidos de honor; por los claveles de la tierra andaluza y la Alhambra del moro; por la sangre solar de una raza de oro; por la armadura antigua y el yelmo de la gesta; por las lanzas que fueron una vasta floresta de gloria y que pasaron Pirineos y Andes; por Lepanto y Otumba; por el Peru, por Flandes;



Continues...


Excerpted from Songs of Life and Hope by Ruben Dario Copyright © 2004 by Ruben Dario. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Preface 48
Songs of life and hope
I I am the one ... 54
II The optimist's salutation 62
III To King Oscar 66
IV The three wise men 70
V Cyrano in Spain 72
VI A salutation to Leonardo 76
VII Pegasus 82
VIII To Roosevelt 84
IX Towers of God! ... 88
X Song of hope 90
XI While you hold, O black hearts ... 92
XII Helios 94
XIII Spes 100
XIV Triumphal march 102
The Swans
I What sign do you give ...? 108
II On the death of Rafael Nunez 112
III For one moment ... 114
IV First of all, glory to you, Leda! ... 116
Other poems
I Portraits 122
II Because of the influence of spring 126
III The sweetness of the Angelus ... 130
IV Evening in the tropics 132
V Nocturne 134
VI Song of autumn in springtime 136
VII Clover 142
VIII Charitas 146
IX Oh, a mental earthquake! ... 150
X The subtle verse that passes or pauses ... 152
XI Philosophy 154
XII Leda 156
XIII Divine psyche, sweet invisible butterfly ... 158
XIV The thirteen-verse sonnet 162
XV O misery of every struggle for the finite! ... 164
XVI To Phocas the Peasant 166
XVII Flesh, a woman's heavenly flesh! ... 168
XVIII A sonnet for Cervantes 172
XIX Exalted madrigal 174
XX Seascape 176
XXI Cleopompus and Heliodemos 180
XXII Pity the sad soul who one day ... 182
XXIII In the land of allegories ... 184
XXIV Omens 186
XXV Melancholy 190
XXVI Hallelujah! 192
XXVII In autumn 194
XXVIII To Goya 196
XXIX Seashell 200
XXX I love, you love 202
XXXI Autumnal sonnet to the Marquis de Bradomin 204
XXXII Nocturne 206
XXXIII Votive urn 208
XXXIV Morning plan 210
XXXV Ibis 212
XXXVI Thanatos 214
XXXVII Offering 216
XXXVIII Springtime purpose 220
XXXIX Litany of our Lord Don Quixote 222
XL Way far away 228
XLI What gets you 230
Glossary of annotations 233
Bibliography 249
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