Sonnet XII

Garcilaso de la Vega
1501 – 1536


If trying to hold back this crazy, vain,
impossible and frightening desire,
and if to hide from danger so intense,
convincing myself of what I can’t see,

it does not help to see me as I am,
sometimes courageous, sometimes racked with fear,
in such confusion that I never dare
to guard against the evil deep in me,

how could it help to see the painting of
the famous youth who with his melted wings
in falling, to a sea his name bestowed,

and one of him, whose own madness and fire
he must lament beneath those fabled trees,
and even in the water won’t grow cold.

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