Lope de Vega: O Navis

POOR bark of Life, upon the billows hoarse
Assailed by storms of envy and deceit,
Across what cruel seas in passage fleet
My pen and sword alone direct thy course!

My pen is dull; my sword of little force;
Thy side lies open to the wild waves’ beat
As out from Favor’s harbors we retreat,
Pursued by hopes deceived and vain remorse.

Let heaven by star to guide thee! here below
How vain the joys that foolish hearts desire!
Here friendship dies and enmity keeps true;

Here happy days have left thee long ago!
But seek not port, brave thou the tempest’s ire;
Until the end thy fated course pursue!


Translation by Roderick Gill.

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