Juan Ruiz de Alarcón (?1581-1639): Friendship

Translated by Timothy Adès

AMISTAD

Aumento de la próspera fortuna
y alivio en la infeliz; maestra llave
que con un natural secreto sabe
dos voluntades encerrar en una;

del humano gobierno la coluna;
ancla segura de la incierta nave
de la vita mortal: fuero suave
que en paz mantiene cuanto ve la luna

es la santa amistad, virtud divina
que no dilata el premio de tenella,
pues ella misma es de si misma el fruto;

a quien naturaleza tanto inclina
que al hombre que vivir sabe sin ella
sabe avisar el animal más bruto.

Makes good times better; remedy
When times are hard; a master-key
That works the trick, knows how it’s done,
Clasps two strong wills and makes them one;

Backbone of human conduct; sure
Anchor of this life’s insecure
Ship; the mild law that keeps the peace
For everything the bright moon sees:

Friendship, pure goodness, heaven-sent:
To have it is an instant gain,
Because it is its own self’s fruit;

It’s Mother Nature’s natural bent;
And those without it can obtain
Advice from some four-footed brute.

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

This entry was posted in Poems and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.