Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Fiery Portuguese Love Poem

                                                              Image from

Luis Camões was one of the greatest Portuguese poets and some of his love poems stand ground with the best of all poets around the world. In Camões’ greatest sonnet he writes*:

Amor é fogo que arde sem se ver,
É ferida que dói e nao se sente,
é um contentamento descontente,
é dor que desatina sem doer ;

é um nao querer mais que bem querer ;
é solitário andar por entre a gente ;
é nunca contentar-se de contente ;
é um cuidar que ganha em se perder ;

é querer estar preso por vontade ;
é servir a quem vence o vencedor ;
é ter com quem nos mata lealdade.
Mas como causar pode seu favor
Nos corações humanos amizade,
Se tão contrário a si é o mesmo Amor ?  

Love is a fire, which burns invisibly
It is a wound which hurts but you do not feel,
It is an unhappy happiness,
It is a pain which aches without hurting;

It is not wanting more than feeling good;
It is to walk alone amongst the crowd;
It is to never to be content with happiness;
It is an anxiety which wins by losing;

It is to want to be prisoner of one’s own volition;
It is to serve to who wins, the winner;
It is to have whom kills loyalty.

But how can you create love
Like this in human hearts
If this same love is so adverse to itself?

This is a fire in the belly type love, ardent and true. This is a restless spirit, a kind of tortured soul, passionate love, which really searches ardently for peace of mind, but knows he cannot achieve it. You can imagine Camoes pounding the streets of Lisbon, going up and down the seven hills of the city, professing his love.

He probably went to the Tejo River in Belem and shouted at the river, walked up to the Castle of St. George and whispered to the wind. He probably also went to the busy ‘Baixa’ area of the city and mingled with the busy crowds talking to himself and cursing his luck. It is said that Camoes never did get his peace of mind, because the object of his love had died while still young, the tragedy that lies behind the majestic combination of his words. A love that could never find peace…..
                                                  Image from

*Please note that all translations may not convey the exact meaning nor the beauty of the words in the original language, and there may be some unintentional errors in translation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please add appropriate comments