by: Rubén Darío
- HE princess mourns -- Why is the
- Why from her lips are song and laughter dying?
- Why does she droop upon her chair of gold?
- Hushed is the music of her royal bower;
- Beside her in a vase; a single flower
- Swoons and forgets its petals to unfold.
- The fool in scarlet pirouettes and flatters,
- Within the hall the silly dueña chatters;
- Without, the peacock's regal plumage gleams.
- The Princess heeds them not; her thoughts are veering
- Out through the gates of Dawn, past sight and hearing,
- Where she pursues the phantoms of her dreams.
- Is it a dream of China that allures her,
- Or far Galconda's ruler who conjures her
- But to unveil the laughter of her eyes?--
- He of the island realms of fragrant roses,
- Whose treasure flashing diamond hoards discloses,
- And pearls of Ormuz, rich beyond surmise?
- Alas! The Princess longs to be a swallow,
- To be a butterfly, to soar, to follow
- The ray of light that climbs into the sun;
- To greet the lilies, lost in Springtime wonder,
- To ride upon the wind, to hear the thunder
- Of ocean waves where monstrous billows run.
- Her silver distaff fallen in disfavor,
- Her magic globe shorn of its magic savor,
- The swans that drift like snow across the lake,
- The lotus in the garden pool -- are mourning;
- The dahlias and the jasmin flowers adorning
- The palace gardens, sorrow for her sake.
- Poor little captive of the blue-eyed glances!
- A hundred negroes with a hundred lances,
- A hound, a sleepless dragon, guard her gates.
- There in the marble of her palace prison
- The little Princess of the roving vision,
- Caught in her gold and gauzes, dreams and waits.
- "Oh" (sighs the Princess), "Oh, to leave behind
- My marble cage, the golden chains that bind me,
- The empty chrysalis the moth forsakes!
- To fly to where a fairy Prince is dwelling--
- O radiant vision past all mortal telling,
- Brighter than April, or the day that breaks!"
- "Hush, little Princess," whispers the good fairy,
- "With sword and goshawk; on his charger airy,
- The Prince draws near -- the lover without blame.
- Upon his wingéd steed the Prince is fleeting,
- The conqueror of Death, to bring you greeting,
- And with his kiss to touch your lips to flame!"
--Translated by John Pierrepont Rice
POEMS BY RUBÉN DARÍO
"Sonatina" 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.