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

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

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

French writers on war and peace

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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.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ed
    January 31, 2020 at 3:11 am

    This is not Jose-Maria. This is Severiano de Heredia.

    Jose Maria Heredia y Heredia
    Jose-Maria Heredia Girard
    Severiano de Heredia
    Nicolas Heredia Mota

    All are related. Nicolas was my grandfather’s uncle. The rest are cousins.

    • richardrozoff
      January 31, 2020 at 8:01 am

      My apologies. I’ll remove the photograph, and thank you for the correction.
      What an illustrious family you have. Two great poets in two different languages among them.

      • Ed Peguero
        November 23, 2021 at 10:31 pm

        There were more writers that went unpublished, my great grandfather, Jose Ignacio Heredia Mota, for example. His brother Nicolas was a good writer as well. Girar’s daughter, Maria de Heredia Regnier was a novelist in her own right. Severiano wrote right after he graduated but decided to go into business and politics despite praises from Victor Hugo.
        The rest of my family was most military or political. For example, the Mota brothers’ maternal grandfather was President Manuel de Regla Mota, of Dominican Republic 1856.

        Thank you for your kind words.

      • November 24, 2021 at 11:04 am

        And thank you in return for your graciousness and for the information concerning your great grandfather. Both the José-Maria de Heredias, he who lived most of his life in Mexico and he who lived in France, were poets of the first order; it’s a tragedy they are not known to the world. What relation was your great grandfather to the two José-Marias? Was Maria de Heredia Regnier any relation to the French writer Henri Regnier? If you are interested, in recent weeks I’ve posted poems by Román Mayorga Rivas (Central America), Luis Gonzaga Urbina (Mexico) and Gabriela Mistral (Chile) on Facebook. The last two are posted in English and Spanish. My Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/rick.rozoff

      • November 24, 2021 at 7:19 pm

        Hello Rick,

        Regarding their relationship, my great-great grandfather was 1st cousin to both Jose Maria’s and Severiano. Cousin Maria married Henri Regnier. You can find a 2019 French production movie made about her called, “Curiosa”. I saw it earlier this year and can be found on Google TV.
        I’ll pay a visit to your Facebook page.

        – Edgar L. Peguero y Heredia

      • November 25, 2021 at 10:32 am

        Pierre Louÿs was an interesting but hardly a healthy writer. 19th French literature has been my prime area of interest (in addition to several others). The trailer makes the film look like pornography. That seems unfortunate to me.

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