FROM 'LIFE IS A DREAM'
by: Pedro Calderón
de la Barca (1600-1681)
- E live,
while we see the sun,
- Where life and dreams are as one;
- And living has taught me this,
- Man dreams the life that is his,
- Until his living is done.
- The king dreams he is king, and he lives
- In the deceit of a king,
- Commanding and governing;
- And all the praise he receives
- Is written in wind, and leaves
- A little dust on the way
- When death ends all with a breath.
- Where then is the gain of the throne,
- That shall perish and not be known
- In the other dream that is death?
- Dreams the rich man of riches and fears,
- The fears that his riches breed;
- The poor man dreams of his need,
- And all his sorrows and tears;
- Dreams he that prospers with years,
- Dreams he that feigns and foregoes,
- Dreams he that rails on his foes;
- And in all the world, I see,
- Man dreams whatever he be,
- And his own dream no man knows.
- And I too dream and behold,
- I dream I am bound with chains,
- And I dreamed that these present pains
- Were fortunate ways of old.
- What is life? a tale that is told;
- What is life? a frenzy extreme,
- A shadow of things that seem;
- And the greatest good is but small,
- That all life is a dream to all,
- And that dreams themselves are a dream.
MORE POEMS BY CALDERÓN
This English translation by Arthur
Symons of Calderón's "From 'Life is a Dream'"
is reprinted from Hispanic Anthology: Poems Translated from
the Spanish by English and North American Poets. Ed. Thomas
Walsh. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1920.