Youth's heavenly treasure, from on high,
now you leave, nor come anew.
When I would cry, I do not cry. . .
and at times I cry without wanting to. . .

Plural has been the celestial
history of the heart beneath:
undefiled as a girl is in our bestial
world of travail and of grief.

She looked to me as the dawn dresses
itself, and smiling as a flower.
Her hair was sombre; from those tresses
night and hardship forged their power.

Timid I was as a child,
and she, naturally, was
to my love's ermine more the wild
Salomé and Herodias.

Youth's heavenly treasure, from on high,
now you leave, nor come anew.
When I would cry, I do not cry. . .
and at times I cry without wanting to. . .

More consoling, the other was
more expressive and discrete;
but also flattering because
a one I never hoped to meet.

Nonetheless, such tenderness
came with passion to unite
beneath an unconcealing dress
Bacchante's posture and delight.

My dream she took, sung to, willed
to sleep, a baby, warm and safe.
That small, unhappy thing she killed
for want of daylight, want of faith. . .

Youth's heavenly treasure, from on high,
now you leave, nor come anew.
When I would cry, I do not cry. . .
and at times I cry without wanting to. . .

My lips for another were a jewel case,
to her belonged such a little part:
she would kiss me and embrace,
her mad teeth to chew my heart.

Was it not excessive, this
pageantry of passion with
eternity its synthesis:
redoubled fierceness in belief?

Love is frail as is the body,
there are no Edens to befriend,
and folly to think for anybody
that flesh and springtime have no end.

Youth's heavenly treasure, from on high,
now you leave, nor come anew.
When I would cry, I do not cry. . .
and at times I cry without wanting to. . .

So many others, many climates,
countries phantomed with my thought.
What are they, rhymes, but connivants
for loveliness to keep her court?

How hard I sought! In vain the princess
waited and was sad for me.
Life is heavy and a bitterness:
what we sing of cannot be.

Though time is obstinate as stone,
still endlessly for love I thirst,
grey-haired, by the roses grown
as beautiful as were the first.

Youth's heavenly treasure, from on high,
now you leave, nor come anew.
When I would cry, I do not cry. . .
and at times I cry without wanting to. . .

Yet more to me dawn's aureate sky!

 

From Cantos de vida y esperanza (1905) by Rubén Darío

 

Now collected in a free ebook published by Ocaso Press.