In honor of Chilean Independence Day, we present this work by one of Chile’s greatest poets.
Blest were he, O Bio-Bio!
Who could dwell forevermore
In a deep grove, cool and shady,
Upon thine enchanted shore!
Just a lowly thatched-roofed cottage
Where thy limpid waters are seen
Pouring their calm flood in silence
Amid foliage fresh and green;
Where, instead of shifting changes
In the fickle things of state,
Wind-stirred oaks and maitens murmur,
And the forest peace is great;
Where the bird amid the branches,
In the early dawning gray,
Sings its untaught, artless music,
Greeting thus the new-born day.
In that humble thatched-roof cottage,
Oh, how happy were my lot,
In the peace that nothing troubles,
Envied not and envying not!
This to me in truth were sweeter
Than the Babel wild and loud
Where in chase of a chimera
All are rushing in a crowd;
Where dark treachery and falsehood
Near the quaking altar stay
That the people’s favor raises
To the idols of a day.
Sweet repose, most blissful quiet,
Earthly paradise divine!
Has the palm of war or wisdom
Worth which can outrival thine?
Truth I love, not adulation—
Truth all unadorned and plain,
Not the clamorous applauses
That are raised in Fortune’s train.
Growing old, for that false treasure
I would cease my soul to fret—
Say ‘Farewell to disappointments!
The forgetful I forget.
‘Others call excitement pleasure,
Madly seeking fame or pelf;
I in earth’s most hidden corner
Wish to live now for myself.’