Salvador Díaz Mirón (1853-1928): Setting a Jewel

Translated by Timothy Adès

Engarce

El misterio nocturno era divino.
Eudora estaba como nunca bella,
y tenía en los ojos la centella,
la luz de un gozo conquistado al vino.
De alto balcón apostrofóme a tino;
y rostro al cielo departí con ella
tierno y audaz, como con una estrella…
¡Oh qué timbre de voz trémulo y fino!
¡Y aquel fruto vedado e indiscreto
se puso el manto, se quitó el decoro,
y fue conmigo a responder a un reto!
¡Aventura feliz! – La rememoro
con inútil afán; y en un soneto
monto un suspiro como perla de oro.
The evening was mysterious, divine;
Eudora, yet more lovely than before:
and in her eyes there was a spark of fire,
a fierce exultant joy, achieved by wine.
From the high tier, the name she called was mine!
Thanking my stars, I left the place with her,
gentle and bold, as one who leads a star.
Oh, but her voice was tremulous and fine.
And that forbidden fruit unprincipled
wrapped herself in her mantle, and, forgetting
decorum, coaxed me to the field of honour!
A fine adventure, lovingly recalled.
Rather than dream, I write a sonnet on her,
to catch my sigh, a pearl in a golden setting.

Díaz Mirón, a Mexican, is buried in the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres. His life ‘abounded with revolutionary plots, political quarrels, duels and vigorous journalistic debates.’ In 1892 he killed a man in self-defence; in 1910 he was imprisoned for trying to kill a fellow-Deputy, but the Revolution freed him.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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