by: Cristóbal de Castillejo (1491-1556)
- OW dreary
and how lone
- The world would appear
- If women were none!
- 'Twould be like a fair,
- With neither fun nor business there.
- Without their smile
- Life would be tasteless, vain, and vile;
- A chaos of perplexity,
- A body without soul 'twould be;
- A roving spirit borne
- Upon the winds forlorn;
- A tree without or flowers or fruit,
- A reason with no resting place,
- A castle with no governor to it,
- A house without a base.
- What are we? What our race?
- How good for nothing and base
- Without fair woman to aid us
- What could we do? Where should we go?
- How should we wander in night and woe,
- But for woman to lead us?
- How could we love if woman were not?
- Love--the brightest part of our lot;
- Love--the only charm of living;
- Love--the only gift worth giving?
- Who would take charge of your house, say who?
- Kitchen, and dairy, and money-chest?
- Who but the women, who guard them best;
- Guard and adorn them too?
- Who like them has a constant smile,
- Full of peace, as meekness full,
- When life's edge is blunt and dull,
- And sorrow, and sin, in frowning file,
- Stand by the path in which we go
- Down to the grave through wasting woe?
- All that is good is theirs, is theirs
- All we give and all we get;
- And if a beam of glory yet
- Over the gloomy earth appears,
- O, 'tis theirs! O, 'tis theirs,--
- They are the guard, -- the soul, -- the seal
- Of human hope and human weal;
- They, -- they, -- none but they!
- Woman, -- sweet woman, -- let none say nay!
--Translated by John Bowring
MORE POEMS BY CRISTÓBAL DE CASTILLEJO
"Women" 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.