young William Carlos Williams


Translations from the Spanish, “El Romancero”
by William Carlos Williams
[from The Tempers (1913)]


                            I

Although you do your best to regard me
With an air seeming offended,
Never can you deny, when all’s ended,
Calm eyes, that you did regard me.

However much you’re at pains to
Offend me, by which I may suffer,
What offence is there can make up for
The great good he finds who attains you?
For though with mortal fear you reward me,
Until my sorry sense is plenished,
Never can you deny, when all’s ended,
Calm eyes, that you did regard me.

Thinking thus to dismay me
You beheld me with disdain,
But instead of destroying the gain,
In fact with doubled good you paid me.
For though you show them how hardly
They keep off from leniency bended,
Never can you deny, when all’s ended,
Calm eyes, that you did regard me.


                            II

Ah, little green eyes
Ah, little eyes of mine,
Ah, Heaven be willing
That you think of me somewise.

The day of departure
You cam full of grieving
And to see I was leaving
The tears ‘gan to start sure
With the heavy torture
Of sorrows unbrightened
When you lie down at night and
When there to you dreams rise,
Ah, Heaven be willing
That you think of me somewise.

Deep is my assurance
Of you, little green eyes,
That in truth you realize
Something of my durance
Eyes of hope’s fair assurance
And good premonition
By virtue of whose condition
All green colors I prize.
Ah, Heaven be willing
That you think of me somewise.

Would God I might know you
To which quarter bended
And why comprehended
When sighings overflow you,
And if you must go through
Some certain despair,
For that you lose his care
Who was faithful always.
Ah, Heaven be willing
That you think of me these days.

Though never a moment
I’ve known how to live lest
All my thoughts but as one pressed
You-ward for their concernment.
May God send chastisement
If in this I belie me
And if it truth be
My own little green eyes.
Ah, Heaven be willing
That you think of me somewise.


                            III

Poplars of the meadow,
Fountains of Madrid,
Now I am absent from you
All are slandering me.

Each of you is telling
How evil my chance is
The wind among the branches,
The fountains in their welling
To every one telling
You were happy to see.
Now I am absent from you
All are slandering me.

With good right I may wonder
For that at my last leaving
The plants with sighs heaving
And the waters in tears were.
That you played double, never
Thought I this could be,
Now I am absent from you
All are slandering me.

There full in your presence
Music you sought to waken,
Later I’m forsaken
Since you are ware of my absence.
God, wilt Thou give me patience
Here while suffer I ye,
Now I am absent from you
All are slandering me.


                            IV

The day draweth nearer,
And morrow ends our meeting,
Ere they take thee sleeping
Be up–away, my treasure!

Soft, leave her breasts all unheeded,
Far hence though the master still remaineth!
For soon uptil our earth regaineth
The sun all embraces dividing.
N’er grew pleasure all unimpeded,
N’er was delight lest passion won,
And to the wise man the fit occasion
Has not yet refused a full measure:
Be up–away my treasure!

If that my love thy bosom inflameth
With honest purpose and just intention,
To free me from my soul’s contention
Give over joys the day shameth;
Who thee lameth he also me lameth,
And my good grace builds all in thy good grace;
Be up–away!  Fear leaveth place,
That thou art here, no more unto pleasure,
Be up–away, my treasure!

Although thou with a sleep art wresting,
‘Tis rightful thou bringst it close,
That of the favor one meeting shows
An hundred may hence be attesting.
‘Tis fitting too thou shouldst be mindful
That the ease which we lose now, in kind, full
Many a promise holds for our leisure;
Ere they take thee sleeping;
Be up–away, my treasure!



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