Voyage of Love or Death

Ausiàs March
Spanish
1400 – 1459

 

The power of sails and winds shall work my wish,
Setting a chancy course across the sea.
Ponente and Mistral rise to resist.
Levante and Sirocco fight for me
Backed by their allies Midi and Gregal
Beseeching the North Mountain Wind to turn
Its storms aside in their support, so all
Five winds may blow the way of my return.

The sea shall seethe like boiling casserole,
Change colors, taking on unnatural form,
Showing its ill will at full blast to all
That stray on it one second in that storm.
The fish will panic all throughout the sea
And seek out secret shelter in the deep,
Till from the sea that gave them life they flee
To their deaths on dry land with desperate leap.

The pilgrim passengers aboard my ship
Will call on God, pledge votive gifts in tears,
And fear force every secret from their lips
That never fell on a confessor’s ears.
Through those dangers, you will not leave my mind.
Before the God that joined us two I swear
Nothing shall weaken this resolve of mine,
And you’ll be with me always, everywhere.

I fear death – lest it break my heart from yours,
For death can cancel love out with its still,
Not that I think even death’s severing force
Could overcome my strength of loving will.
I wish I could believe your love for me
Would not leave me forgotten when I die,
And though while we two live this could not be
One thought makes all life’s pleasure out a lie:

That on the day I died, your love as well
Would die, and be transformed to hate that night.
While I, cast from this world, would feel full Hell
Never again to hold you in my sight.
Oh God, if only there were bounds to love
So I at love’s extreme might stand apart!
I’d face the future without fear or hope
Knowing the cutoff limit of your heart.

I am the most extreme of all in love
Save those who’ve breathed in love their life’s last breath.
The anguish of my heart I cannot prove
Without the good faith agony of death.
For good or ill at love’s command I wait
Though Fortune still withholds my fate from me.
She’ll find the gates unbarred, and me awake,
Prepared to humbly follow her decree.

Getting what I so wish may cost me dear
Yet this alone consoles the soul in strife:
If it turns out my fate is what I fear
I only ask that God not spare my life.
For then people will see the outward fact
Of love at work within, needing no faith.
Capacity will be revealed in act,
And my words’ credit backed by deed of death.

Envoi:
Love! I who feel you don’t know you at all,
And so can only win the loser’s prize.
No one who knows you is within your thrall.
Your simile: addictive game of dice.

2 thoughts on “Voyage of Love or Death

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