by: Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681)

      DREAM it was in which I found myself.
      And you that hail me now, then hailed me king,
      In a brave palace that was all my own,
      Within, and all without it, mine; until,
      Drunk with excess of majesty and pride,
      Methought I towered so big and swelled so wide
      That of myself I burst the glittering bubble
      Which my ambition had about me blown
      And all again was darkness. Such a dream
      As this, in which I may be walking now,
      Dispensing solemn justice to you shadows,
      Who make believe to listen; but anon
      Kings, princes, captains, warriors, plume and steel,
      Ay, even with all your airy theatre,
      May flit into the air you seem to rend
      With acclamations, leaving me to wake
      In the dark tower; or dreaming that I wake
      From this that waking is; or this and that,
      Both waking and both dreaming; such a doubt
      Confounds and clouds our mortal life about.
      But whether wake or dreaming, this I know
      How dreamwise human glories come and go;
      Whose momentary tenure not to break,
      Walking as one who knows he soon may wake,
      So fairly carry the full cup, so well
      Disordered insolence and passion quell,
      That there be nothing after to upbraid
      Dreamer or doer in the part he played;
      Whether tomorrow's dawn shall break the spell,
      Or the last trumpet of the Eternal Day,
      When dreaming, with the night, shall pass away.

This English translation by Edward Fitzgerald of Calderón's "The Dream Called Life" 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.




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