Ausiàs March
LA IL·LUSTRACIÓ POÈTICA METROPOLITANA & CONTINENTAL
Plurilingual Anthology of Catalan Poetry
English

 
Ausiàs March
(València, 1400 - 1459)


THE DAYíS AFRAID TO LOSE ITS LIGHT...
LIKE TO THE BULL...
THE TERRIBLE ANGUISH NO TONGUE CAN TELL...

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THE DAYíS AFRAID TO LOSE ITS LIGHT...

 

The day ís afraid to lose its light 
when night draws in and spreads dark shadows. 
Most animals are restless, worried. 
The sick canít sleep, their aches redoubled. 
No-one but thieves are pleased by darkness: 
they hope it 'll hide their crimes forever. 
But I, no crook, wish it were morning, 
worse off than all, suffering much anguish.

No crook I? Worse! To murder thousands 
is less a crime than what I am doing: 
At night I plot my own betrayal. 
All night I force my brain to treason, 
to live next day in lies and falsehoods. 
Therefore, don't think dawn brings me comfort! 
The sick fear death, the thieves dread prison; 
nothing stops me, bent on destruction.

My dearest Lady: I keep thinking 
how best to beg for Cupidís shackles. 
No more deceit. Iíll be your servant. 
Donít let me die! Please show me mercy!
 



Translated by Curt Wittlin
«Ausiàs March in English with a rhythmic version of poem XXVIII: ďLo jorn ha por...Ē»

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LIKE TO THE BULL...


Like to the bull, who takes flight to the wilds
When overcome by ínother of his kind,
And wonít return until he gains such strength
As to destroy the one that made him bend,
In this same way I must escape from you,
Because your gesture blighted my resolve.
I wonít return until Iíve fully routed
This terror great which so thwarts my delight.



Translated by M. A. Conejero, P. Ribes and D. Keown

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THE TERRIBLE ANGUISH NO TONGUE CAN TELL...
 
The terrible anguish no tongue can tell
of the dead man who waits to learn his fate
(he does not know if he will be taken up to God
or if He will decide to bury him in Hell):
a torment like this afflicts my soul,
not knowing what God has ordained for you:
your good or ill will also be mine.
Whichever it is, I shall suffer it too.

You, spirit, who have taken leave
of that body I have loved so much,
can you see me suffering here?
I want to speak to you, yet am afraid to:
everything I have to say depends
on the place your soul inhabits.
Through you I will attain joy or sadness:
God disposes for me the fate that is already yours.

In vain I press my hands together in prayer:
all that could happen to her has come to pass.
If she is in Heaven, her joy is ineffable:
if in Hell, then all prayers are in vain.
If that is the case, annihilate my soul:
may all my being be returned to nothingness,
especially if she is there because of me.
Let me not be stricken with such pain as that.

What words, once spoken, do not seem useless?
My cries and my silence, both are futile.
I clear my mind, or let it fill with thoughts: in vain.
I regret everything I do, even before I do it.
So great are my fears she is in torment
I scarcely feel the pain of my own lost pleasure.
Eternal torment makes nothing of our pain
Ė and I fear this is the punishment she earned.

Nothing we fear more than death,
impartial with us all, but no less
dreadful. Oh pain, be kind:
be my shield against forgetting.
Pierce my heart and seize all my senses.
Spend all your rage: I will offer no defence.
So hurt me that everyone will grieve.
Let your power do all it can in me.

You, spirit, if nothing prevents you,
break the customs of the dead:
come back to the world, and tell me your fate.
I shall have no fear at the sight of you.



Translated by Robert Archer

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