TO THE POET JUAN DE GRIAL
Now is earth's loveliness withdrawn
Unto her bosom; now the heavens are stoled
In vesture of the fading lawn;
And from the branches' lifeless hold
Leaf after leaf unto the ground is doled.
Now Phœbus turns on sunlit tread
Along Ægean shores; the coursing day
Runs swifter; noontide is bespread
With herding of the fleeces gray
Of Éolus upon his blustery way.
By dim horizons go the cranes
Of Íbycus, migrating with their cry
Portentous; and the bullock strains
Against the yoke with shoulders high,
Turning his patient furrows to the sky.
To noble studies would the hours,
Griàl, convene us; now the voice of Fame
Calls upward to her sacred towers,
And to that summit bids us aim
Where never yet the breath of passions came.
And at her calling, bolder strides
The foot upon the mountain, so it gains
The final peak whence purest glides
The fountain without worldly stains;
Drink there thy fill, and thirst no more remains.
Then naught to thee is golden lure
That snares mankind upon a fevered quest
For that which can no more endure
Than gossamer the zephyr's breast
Is wafting light and fickle without rest.
Doth God Apollo smile?—then write;
Be peer with olden poets,—take thy stand
Above our newer bards in might;
But oh, dear friend, not hand in hand
May'st hope to clasp me on that songful strand!
For I whom whirlwinds have assailed,
And treachery from high adventuring
Down to the very grime hath haled,
Find broken —I a wounded thing—
My lyre belovèd and my soaring wing.
Fray Luis de León
Translation by Thomas Walsh