Home > Uncategorized > José-Maria de Heredia: Drunk with dreams that brutal conquests bring

José-Maria de Heredia: Drunk with dreams that brutal conquests bring

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

José-Maria de Heredia
From The Trophies (1893)
Translated by John Myers O’Hara and John Hervey

The Conquistadores

As from their native eyries hawks take wing,
Spurred by the miseries they proudly share,
Bravos and chiefs from Palos de Moguer
Sail drunk with dreams that brutal conquests bring.
They seek the treasures fabulous to wring
From the far mines Cipango’s mountains bear,
The trade winds fill their sails and waft them where
Mysterious western shores lie beckoning.
Each evening for an epic dawn they yearn,
The phosphorescent seas that round them burn
Enchant their restless sleep with phantom gold;
And as from white-winged caravels they lean,
In unknown skies their wondering eyes behold
Strange stars ascend from Ocean’s depths unseen.

*****

To a Cuban Fountain

Beside the fountain, at the close of day,
I love to lie, by its sweet coolness wooed,
And from my heart rise in that solitude
Thoughts like the drops that wreathe its urn with spray.
Oft the white splendors of the moonlight play
Upon its sculptured shape and half delude;
Living it seems – fond error of my mood,
Its form endowed with charms that melt away.
O my fair Indian, the sun’s own love,
From maiden dreams awakened by the dove
That lulls thee with her vague and tender song;
Cuba, my land, beneath thy palms so fair,
Whose sweet-voiced streams murmur of passion where
Through radiant nights their music they prolong.

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