F. García Lorca (1898-1936): Epitaph for Isaac Albéniz

Translated by Timothy Adès

Epitafio a Isaac Albéniz

“Esta piedra que vemos levantada
sobre hierbas de muerte y barro oscuro
guarda lira de sombra, sol maduro,
urna de canto sola y derramada.

Desde la sal de Cádiz a Granada,
que erige en agua su perpetuo muro,
en caballo andaluz de acento duro
tu sombra gime por la luz dorada.

¡Oh dulce muerto de pequeña mano!
¡Oh música y bondad entretejida!
¡Oh pupila de azor, corazón sano!

Duerme cielo sin fin, nieve tendida.
Sueña invierno de lumbre, gris verano.
¡Duerme en olvido de tu vieja vida!”

This stone we witness standing tall
on grass of death and dismal clay
guards shadow-lyre and mellow sun,
the spilled and lonely urn of song.

By streams Granada rears her wall;
your shadow moans through gold of day.
From salt Cadiz your hoofbeats run,
Andalucían, pounding strong.

Sweet one, small-handed one, who died!
Music and goodness intertwined!
The great of heart, the goshawk-eyed!

Sleep, skein of snow, sky unconfined,
dream, winter-light, dream, summer-grey,
sleep as your old life slips away!

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

Lorca recited his poem at the dedication of a statue of Albéniz in the cemetery of Montjuic, Barcelona, on December 14th, 1935.

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