THE DREAM CALLED LIFE
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.
MORE POEMS BY CALDERÓN
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.