by: Pedro Requena Legarreta (1893-1918)

      HE opal-breasted morning of the spring
      Scarce o'er the meads her luminous urn can swing.
      When from the nests the tremulous light flute
      Of songs comes thawing, and the echoes mute
      Awake and mingle with the distant brawl
      Of lowing cattle and the shepherds' call:
      'Twould seem that, falling from the morning's urn,
      Each ray of light would into singing turn.--
      Alone amid the pasture's splendid breast
      There stands a tree, a shadowy poem blest.
      Among its prescient leaves there lurks a trace
      Of old-world sadness and of pastoral grace;
      And bending o'er the field, the green gargoyle
      Of one long branch from out the trunk would coil.
      A-straddle on the branch a maiden rides,
      As though a nymph some haughty centaur guides;
      Blonde is the maid, and naked, tall and fair,
      With glow transparent as the morning air.
      A sudden breath along the meadow grass
      Stirs with a kiss the branch ere it would pass.
      And she, whom hasty breaths of fever seize,
      Grips the bough tighter with her snowy knees.
      The while the icy jewels of the dew
      Send a sharp chill her silken body through.
      Her locks float back in airy coronal
      Above her shoulders, as the dawn rain's fall;
      And green and rose the shifting boughs appear
      Like some great butterfly her lips a-near.
      She sways a moment, then, as some divine
      Young nymph that Jove enamored would entwine,
      Her scarlet kisses all the green bough cover,--
      And the tree trembles,--as it were her lover--

--Translated by Garret Strange

"Idyl" 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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