Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645): A una Nariz

Translated by Timothy Adès

To A Nose

Érase un hombre a una nariz pegado,
érase una nariz superlativa,
érase una nariz sayón y escriba,
érase un peje espada muy barbado,

Era un reloj de sol mal encarado,
érase una alquitara pensativa,
érase un elefante boca arriba,
era Ovidio Nasón más narizado,

Érase un espolón de una galera,
érase una pirámide de Egito:
los doce tribus de narices era,

Érase un naricísimo infinito,
muchísimo nariz, nariz tan fiera,
que en la cara de Anás fuera delito.

There was a nose, which had a man appended.
It was a nose superb, superlative,
it was a nose, a hangman and a scribe,
it was a swordfish, sharp and hairy-ended.

It was a solar clock in discomposure,
a pronged alembic, querulous and nervy,
it was an elephant turned topsy-turvy,
it was Ovidius Naso, only nosier,

it was the Pyramid of Oxyrhynchus,
it was a figurehead for seaborne warriors,
it was a whole twelve tribes of errant honkers,

it was infinity of nasal noseness,
a nose too total and a nose too glorious,
a crime that would besmirch the face of Annas.

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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