by: José de Espronceda (1808-1842)

      HE world is mine; I am free as air;
      Let others work that I may eat;
      All shall melt at my piteous prayer:--
      "An alms, for God's sake, I entreat."
      The cabin, the palace,
      Are my resort;
      If the threat of the thunder
      Shall break from the mountain,
      Or the torrent's quick fountain
      Shall drive me under,
      Within their shelter
      The shepherds make place,
      Lovingly asking me
      Food to grace;
      Or by the rich hearthstone
      I take my ease
      Fanned by the odors
      Of burning trees;
      With the luscious banquet
      And cushioned store,
      Upon the couch
      Of some proud señor.
      And I say to myself:--
      "Let the breezes blow
      And the tempest rage
      In the world without:
      Let the branches crack
      Where the high winds go,
      As I slumber with nothing to trouble about.
      The world is mine; I am free as air!"
      All are my patrons,
      And for all I ask
      My God as I daily pray;
      From peasant and noble
      I get my pay,
      And I take their favors
      Both great and small.
      I never ask them
      Who they be,
      Nor stop to task them
      With thanks for fee.
      If they desire
      To give me alms,
      'Tis but their duty
      To tip my palms.
      Their wealth is sinful
      They must see;
      And a holy state
      Is my poverty,
      And he is a miser
      Who would deny
      An alms, and a beggar
      Blest am I.
      For I am poor and they grieve to note
      How I groan beneath my pain;
      They never see that their wealth is a mine
      Where I my treasures gain.
      The world is mine; I am free as air!
      A rebel and a discontent
      Amid my rags am I;
      To satirise their ease I'm sent
      And with a sour-set eye
      I boldly stare at the potentate
      Who dares to pass me in his state.
      The lovely maid
      Of a thousand scents
      In her joy arrayed
      With her love-locks blent--
      'Tis she I follow
      Till she turns around,
      And my evil smells
      Her sense astound.
      At the feasts and spreads
      My voice is heard
      And they bow their heads
      At my merest word.
      Their joy and revel
      I come to stay,
      At the sight of my rags
      And my voice's brags
      Their music dies away.
      Showing how near
      Dwell pain and joy;
      No joy without tear
      No pain sans glad alloy.
      The world is mine; I am free as air!
      For me no morrow
      Nor yesterday;
      I forget the sorrow
      And the welladay.
      There's nought to trouble
      Or weary me here,--
      It's a palace tomorrow
      Or a hospital's cheer.
      I live a stranger
      To thoughts of care;
      Let others seek glory
      Or riches rare!
      My one concern
      Is to pass today;
      Let the laws prevail
      Where the monarchs sway!
      For I am a beggar
      And a poor man proud;
      'Tis through fear of me
      There are alms allowed.
      A soft asylum
      Where'er it be,
      And a hospital bed
      Will be ready for me;
      And a cosy ditch
      Where my bones shall lie
      Will cover me over
      When I die.
      The world is mine; I am free as air;
      Let others work that I may eat!
      All hearts must melt at my piteous prayer:--
      An alms, for God's sake, I entreat!"

--Translated by Thomas Walsh

"The Beggar" 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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