Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Bernardim Ribeiro

From Menina e Moça

I’m thinking of you, dear girl,
your mother’s memory haunts me.
My eyes fill up with tears,
They are bathing you gently.

You were born amid sorrow—
may it yet prove a blessing.
Since Fortune, struck with envy,
singled you out at birth.

Gone forever was contentment,
you heard no joyful voices.
Your mother’s life had ended,
while ours went on in sadness.

In anguish born and raised!
I don’t know where all this is going.
I’ve watched you grow, my girl,
with green eyes so lovely.

Beauty like yours wasn’t meant
to be born in exile. Curses on
Fate!  This was clearly a work  
of malevolence, not a mistake.

Here lies your mother,
and we languish in grief.
You did nothing, my girl,
to incur a loss so great.

The Fates spurn reason,
and will admit no protest.
I pity your poor father,
for the pain he must lament.

I heard you crying, alone,
before anyone else. You’d not
be here, had I not been there.
Still, I ask if I did right.

But surely it can’t be wrong
for you to have been born
with that elegant smile of yours,
those dazzling green eyes.

It’s an unlikely comfort
that I take for myself.
May God grant you the grace
that has eluded you till now.

Beauty and Good Fortune,
or so the old story goes,
were once the best of friends,
but became bitterly opposed.

Many hold that it’s fantasy,
but in my life I’ve seen
enough not to doubt it:
Fate inflicts great damage.

No harm is ever believed;
we always expect the good.
In hoping and believing
lies an element of change,
an element of concern.

Da Menina e Moça

Da Menina e Moça

Pensando-vos estou filha
vossa mãe me está lembrando
enchem-se-me os olhos d’água
nela vos estou lavando:

Nascestes filha antre mágoa
para bem filha vos seja
que no vosso nascimento
vos ouve a fortuna inveja:

Morto era o contentamento
nenhuma alegria ouvistes,
vossa mãe era finada,
nos outras éamos tristes:

Nada em dor em dor crescida
não sei onde isto há de ir ter
vejo-vos filha fermosa
cos olhos verdes crescer:

Não era esta graça vossa
para nascer em desterro
mal haja a desaventura
que pôs mais nisto que o erro:

Tinha aqui sua sepultura
vossa mãe e mágoa a nós
não éreis vos filha não
para morrerem por vós:

Não houve em fados razão
nem se consente rogar
de vosso pai hei mor dó
que de si s’á de queixar:

Eu vos ouvi a vós só
primeiro que outrem ninguém
não fôreis vós seu não fora
não sei se fiz mal se bem:

Mas não pode ser senhora
para mal nenhum nascerdes
com este riso gracioso
que tendes sobr’olhos verdes:

Conforto mais duvidoso
me é este que tomo assi
Deus voos dê milhor ventura
Da que tevestes té ‘qui:

Que a dita e a fermosura
dizem patranhas antigas
que pelejaram um dia
sendo dantes muito amigas:

Muitos hão que é fantasia
eu que vi tempos e anos
nenhuma cousa duvido
como ela é caso de danos:

Mas nenhum mal nom é crido
o bem só é esperado
e na crença e na esperança
em ambas há i mudança
em ambas há i cuidado
Close

From Menina e Moça

I’m thinking of you, dear girl,
your mother’s memory haunts me.
My eyes fill up with tears,
They are bathing you gently.

You were born amid sorrow—
may it yet prove a blessing.
Since Fortune, struck with envy,
singled you out at birth.

Gone forever was contentment,
you heard no joyful voices.
Your mother’s life had ended,
while ours went on in sadness.

In anguish born and raised!
I don’t know where all this is going.
I’ve watched you grow, my girl,
with green eyes so lovely.

Beauty like yours wasn’t meant
to be born in exile. Curses on
Fate!  This was clearly a work  
of malevolence, not a mistake.

Here lies your mother,
and we languish in grief.
You did nothing, my girl,
to incur a loss so great.

The Fates spurn reason,
and will admit no protest.
I pity your poor father,
for the pain he must lament.

I heard you crying, alone,
before anyone else. You’d not
be here, had I not been there.
Still, I ask if I did right.

But surely it can’t be wrong
for you to have been born
with that elegant smile of yours,
those dazzling green eyes.

It’s an unlikely comfort
that I take for myself.
May God grant you the grace
that has eluded you till now.

Beauty and Good Fortune,
or so the old story goes,
were once the best of friends,
but became bitterly opposed.

Many hold that it’s fantasy,
but in my life I’ve seen
enough not to doubt it:
Fate inflicts great damage.

No harm is ever believed;
we always expect the good.
In hoping and believing
lies an element of change,
an element of concern.

From Menina e Moça

I’m thinking of you, dear girl,
your mother’s memory haunts me.
My eyes fill up with tears,
They are bathing you gently.

You were born amid sorrow—
may it yet prove a blessing.
Since Fortune, struck with envy,
singled you out at birth.

Gone forever was contentment,
you heard no joyful voices.
Your mother’s life had ended,
while ours went on in sadness.

In anguish born and raised!
I don’t know where all this is going.
I’ve watched you grow, my girl,
with green eyes so lovely.

Beauty like yours wasn’t meant
to be born in exile. Curses on
Fate!  This was clearly a work  
of malevolence, not a mistake.

Here lies your mother,
and we languish in grief.
You did nothing, my girl,
to incur a loss so great.

The Fates spurn reason,
and will admit no protest.
I pity your poor father,
for the pain he must lament.

I heard you crying, alone,
before anyone else. You’d not
be here, had I not been there.
Still, I ask if I did right.

But surely it can’t be wrong
for you to have been born
with that elegant smile of yours,
those dazzling green eyes.

It’s an unlikely comfort
that I take for myself.
May God grant you the grace
that has eluded you till now.

Beauty and Good Fortune,
or so the old story goes,
were once the best of friends,
but became bitterly opposed.

Many hold that it’s fantasy,
but in my life I’ve seen
enough not to doubt it:
Fate inflicts great damage.

No harm is ever believed;
we always expect the good.
In hoping and believing
lies an element of change,
an element of concern.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère