from El Vergonzoso en Palacio

We present this work in honor of the 375th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Tirso de Molina
1579 – 1648


Have you told your lady of your love? – I have not dared to. – So she has never found out? – I don’t doubt that she’s seen the flame of love in my infatuated eyes, which cry out in silence. – The tongue should perform that task; otherwise it may as well be a foreign jargon. Has she not given you occasion to declare yourself? – So much so, that my shyness amazes me. – Speak, then. Any delay can only hurt your love. – I’m afraid to lose by speaking what I enjoy by keeping quiet. – That’s just foolish. A wise man once compared a mute lover to a Flemish painting that’s always kept rolled up. The painter won’t get very far unless he shows his paintings to the public, so they can admire and buy them. The court is no place for reticence. Unroll your painting so it may be sold. No one can cure you if you won’t tell them what’s wrong. – Yes, my lady. But the inequality between us holds me back. – Isn’t love a god? – Yes, my lady. – Well then, speak, for the laws of the god are absolute, toppling the mightiest monarchs and leveling crowns and clogs. Tell me who you love, and I’ll be your go-between. – I don’t dare. – Why not? Am I not fit to be your messenger? – No, but I’m afraid… Oh, god! – What if I say her name? Would you tell me if she is, by any chance… me? – My lady, yes. – Let me finish! And you are jealous of the Count of Vasconcelos, right? – It’s hopeless. He is your equal, my lady, and the heir of Braganza. – Equality and likeness don’t come down to whether a lover is noble, humble or poor, but to an affinity of soul and will. Make yourself clear from now on, don Dionís, I urge you. When it comes to games of love, it’s better to go over than to undershoot the mark. For a long time now I’ve preferred you to the Count of Vasconcelos.

Translation by Ben Sachs-Hamilton

The Collar

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 390th birthday.

George Herbert
1593 – 1633



I struck the board, and cry’d, No more,
I will abroad.
What? Shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the rode,
Loose as the winde, as large as store.
Shall I be still in fruit?
Have I no harvest but a thorn
To let me bloud, and not restore
What I have lost with cordiall fruit?
Sure there was wine
Before my sighs did drie it: there was corn
Before my tears did drown it.
Is the yeare onely lost to me?
Have I no bayes to crown it?
No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?
All wasted?
Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,
And thou hast hands.
Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit, and not forsake thy cage,
Thy rope of sands,
Which pettie thoughts have made, and made to thee
Good cable, to enforce and draw,
And by thy law,
While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
Away; take heed:
I will abroad.
Call in thy deaths head there: tie up thy fears.
He that forbears
To suit and serve his need,
Deserves his load.
But as I rav’d and grevv more fierce and wilde
At every word,
Me thoughts I heard one calling, Childe:
And I reply’d , My Lord.

The Haste of Love

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 425th birthday.

Martin Opitz
1597 – 1639


Ah, sweetheart, let us hurry
We still have time.
Delaying thus, we bury
Our mutual prime.

Beauty’s bright gift shall perish
As leaves grow sere;
All that we have and cherish
Shall disappear.

The cheek of roses fadeth
Gray grows the head;
And fire the eyes evadeth
And passion’s dead.

The mouth, love’s honeyed winner
Is formless, cold;
The hand, like snow, gets thinner
And thou art old!

So let us taste the pleasure
That youth endears,
Ere we are called to measure
The flying years.

Give, as thou lov’st and livest
Thy love to me,
Even though, in what thou givest
My loss should be!

Translation by Bayard Taylor

To the Admirable Transubstantiation of the Roses Into the Marvelous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe… the Roses Vanquish the Phoenix

We present this work in honor of the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Luis de Sandoval y Zapata
d. 1671


The Luminary of the Birds expires,
of the wind that winged eternity,
and midst the vapors of the monument
burns a sweet-smelling victim of the pyre.

And now in mighty metamorphosis
behold a shroud, with every flower more bright;
in the Cerecloth, reasonable essence,
the vegetable amber dwells and breathes.

The colours of Our Lady they portray;
and from these shades the day in envy flies
when the sun upon them shines his light.

You die more fortunate than the Phoenix, flowers;
for he, feathered to rise, in ashes dies;
but you, Our Blessed Lady to become.

Translation by Samuel Beckett

Mount of Olives

Henry Vaughan
1621 – 1695


Sweet, sacred hill! on whose fair brow
My Saviour sate, shall I allow
Language to love,
And idolize some shade, or grove,
Neglecting thee? such ill-plac’d wit,
Conceit, or call it what you please,
Is the brain’s fit,
And mere disease.

Cotswold and Cooper’s both have met
With learnèd swains, and echo yet
Their pipes and wit;
But thou sleep’st in a deep neglect,
Untouch’d by any; and what need
The sheep bleat thee a silly lay,
That heard’st both reed
And sheepward play?

Yet if poets mind thee well,
They shall find thou art their hill,
And fountain too.
Their Lord with thee had most to do;
He wept once, walk’d whole nights on thee:
And from thence—His suff’rings ended—
Unto glory
Was attended.

Being there, this spacious ball
Is but His narrow footstool all;
And what we think
Unsearchable, now with one wink
He doth comprise; but in this air
When He did stay to bear our ill
And sin, this hill
Was then His Chair.

Where the Creature Is

We present this work in honor of Vikram Samvat New Year.

Akha Bhagat
c. 1615 – c. 1674


Where the creature is
there is the Creator,
but you wander elsewhere,
search in faraway places.

The first false step, says Akha,
was that you forgot
to look within.

So you forgot.
Go then, study
with a saint. What’s gained
by shows of piety:
one day all whiskers and beard,
the next day tonsured, sheared?

I Did Not Come on This Earth as a Seed

We present this work in honor of Diwali.

Rupa Bhawani
c. 1621 – c. 1721


I did not come on this earth as a seed,
To fall in the circle of births,
I am not the elements
Earth, water, fire, air and ether
I am beyond the primordial universal self and the individual self,
I am the Supreme Consciousness.

Translation by Jankinath Kaul Kamal

Plucking Mulberries

We present this work in honor of the 375th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Xia Wanchun
1631 – 1647


Willow catkins are swept up by wind and rain
Down on the ground, they roll like blobs of cotton
Down on the ground, they roll like blobs of cotton,
Revealing the spring breeze’s weakness at the pavilion.
Privately I relate my painful memory of a lost country
To the Yangtze River that flows to the east
Its whole length being filled with my grief.

Translation by Yuan Singpei

A Young Girl’s Complaint About Her Sweetheart

Elen Gwdman
c. 1616


Every young woman in the world,
In pure mind and heart;
Be wary, watch that you be wicked
To a lad, O be faithful.

I know from my own wound
And I confess to you:
The spear of sadness is in my breast
Because of loving faithfully.

A fine, noble graceful man,
In the lusty age of youth,
As he passed by the place where I lived,
I often enjoyed his company.

His virtues and his speech in my presence
His appearing sudden like the snow
And his sobriety were causes
To make me think he liked me.

Cupid knew in a short time
That I liked his ways,
And he struck a heavy blow,
Yes, an arrow of lead to my heart.

Then we both became sick
But neither confessed his thoughts;
Each knew only his own wound
Even though both were in pain.

Being of frail confidence, he did not
Presume to ask
Mercy at my hand,
But suffered there like a little lamb.

And I too was shy or dumb,
Not daring to tell him
Nor giving any sign anywhere
Of my wound, that he might suspect.

I imagined that he was just
Feigning a fancy
And he thought it was not fit
To try to salve my bruise.

Thus we were not counting the stars
And lacking a go-between;
When fortune brought, Christ knows,
To me sad news.

I heard that his friends had
Bound him tightly to another
He had to suffer swiftly
Either the yoke or the axe.

Meeting each other after this
And starting to enquire in amazement;
Blame fell on Destiny
That our friends knew not our troubles.

Since he is saying goodbye,
I will further confess:
From now on, for his sake,
I will live a madi all my life.

Friends and kinfolk, foolish and wise,
I say farewell to you;
I’ll go to Rome, with God’s strength,
To live all my life in a nunnery.

Singing and dancing, processions, gossip
I renounce your company;
Gravity, fasting, and prayer,
For these I have a welcome.

A girl sang this, who has set her heart
On giving up the world;
And in praise to pure Jesus
I will not seek to sing anything but this.

By Night When Others Soundly Slept

We present this work in honor of the 350th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Anne Bradstreet
1612 – 1672



By night when others soundly slept
And hath at once both ease and Rest,
My waking eyes were open kept
And so to lie I found it best.


I sought him whom my Soul did Love,
With tears I sought him earnestly.
He bow’d his ear down from Above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.


My hungry Soul he fill’d with Good;
He in his Bottle put my tears,
My smarting wounds washt in his blood,
And banisht thence my Doubts and fears.


What to my Saviour shall I give
Who freely hath done this for me?
I’ll serve him here whilst I shall live
And Loue him to Eternity.