Translation by Martin Hill Ortiz 

Farewell to the Royal Gardens at Aranjuez

by María Rosa Gálvez de Cabrera of Spain (1768-1806)

Aranjuez: forest, rich with flowers,
Through which the tangled Tajo glides,
Within your thousand brilliant colors
A meadow where my heart resides.
And how your songbirds flattered me!
I’d swear they’d sung for me alone.
I offer them this melody:
A poem, my own peculiar tone.

Within the pleasance of your trees
I came upon my earthy voice,
Abandoning the rasp and wheeze
Of once cruel luck. My heart rejoiced
In your allure and through your charms,
I found my sorrows turned to sighs.
In solace, in your cradling arms:
The fire of love I’d once despised.

Your placidness restored my soul—
You, too, possessed a lonely weight.
Our spirits joined, our spirits whole,
Rose up to conquer cursèd fate.
You are this verse’s tender meter,
The tingle in my clever brain.
I owe you all, no joy is sweeter
Than that I knew in your domain.

The Lord sustains your pleasant fields,
Your thickets, gardens and cascades.
With bracing breaths your mercy yields
Release. I found within your glades
A calmness. Peace, your priceless treasure,
Persists beyond our coupled hours.
Your bosom holds a thousand pleasures,
And amorous, seducing powers.

The Lord has placed a grotto where
The Tajo and Jarama meet.
Your verdant groves have deigned to spare
The stolid sun from ardent heat.
The silent river currents nourish
The meadowlands where grasses sway.
The plains where painted flowers flourish
Suffuse the winds with their bouquets.

Aranjuez, there, my praise remains,
Though echoes of my song shall dwindle
Without my voice to sing refrains.
Such gratitude have you enkindled:
You quelled the causes of my wailing,
The wrath-filled torments I once knew.
I triumphed, and, in so prevailing,
I joyously remember you.

 

Original.

Despedida al Real Sitio de Aranjuez: octavas.

Fértiles bosques de Aranjuez florido,
por donde se desliza el Tajo undoso;
prado de mil colores guarnecido,
do siempre halló mi corazón reposo;
felices avecillas, que a mi oído
halagabais con canto melodioso,
voy a dejaros ya; pero mi acento
antes os mostrará mi sentimiento.

En vuestras agradables espesuras
a mi voz inspiró naturaleza;
en ellas olvidé las amarguras
de mi suerte cruel; vuestra belleza,
mi corazón llenando de dulzuras,
ha cambiado en placeres mi tristeza;
y en vuestro mudo y plácido sosiego
desprecié altiva el amoroso fuego.

Esta tranquilidad, que ha recobrado
en vuestra soledad el alma mía;
la razón, que mi espíritu ha elevado,
para lograr vencer la suerte impía;
y en fin, el tierno metro que ha inspirado
a mi genio la dulce poesía;
a ti lo debo, sitio delicioso,
donde mi corazón fue venturoso.

A Dios quedad, llanuras agradables,
montes, jardines, selvas y cascadas;
mientras respire, me seréis amables,
pues me dieron alivio estas moradas:
el sosiego y la paz, inestimables
tesoros de las horas ya pasadas,
vivan siempre y habiten vuestro seno,
de mil placeres y hermosura lleno.

Quédate a Dios, oh gruta deliciosa,
donde su curso unió Tajo y Jarama;
nunca el verdor de tu arboleda hermosa
destruya el sol con ardorosa llama:
vuestra corriente bañe silenciosa
del verde prado la naciente grama;
y en su llanura las pintadas flores
den al suelo esplendor y al viento olores.

En tu elogio, Aranjuez, se oirán en tanto
los olvidados ecos de mi lira,
sin que la vanidad mueva mi canto,
pues es la gratitud la que me inspira:
aquí cesó la causa de mi llanto;
de mi persecución calmó la ira;
y pues del hado aquí logré victoria,
siempre me será grata tu memoria.

 

Martin Hill Ortiz is a researcher and professor at the Ponce University of Health Sciences in Ponce, PR where he lives with his wife and son. He has three novels published by small presses: A Predatory Mind (Loose Leaves Publishing, 2013),  Never Kill A Friend, (Ransom Note Press, 2015), and A Predator’s Game (Rook’s Page, 2016). 


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7 Responses

  1. J. Simon Harris

    This is a fantastic translation. It’s very difficult to translate a poem like this while maintaining the rhyme and meter. I see that your rhyme scheme is actually different than the original, but it is no less of a challenge. This is a beautiful little poem, and I probably never would have read it had I not seen it here. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. C.B. Anderson

    Very nicely turned, indeed. It’s never a bad thing to behold the fabric and feeling of another place and time in a mood that is original and ostensibly faithful to the original at the same time. There are days when I wish I were fluent in all languages, and this is one of them.

    Reply
  3. Jan Darling

    Thank you Martin. This is indeed evocative – a delight to read made more engrossing by having the source alongside. Aranjuez is a lovely place, a place to dream as the Tajo gently laps at the memory. I shall now play Rodrigo’s ‘Concierto..’ and imagine myself in a carriage clip-clopping down the avenue. With maybe a short pause at the corner for helado con fresas.

    Reply
  4. Martin Hill Ortiz

    Thank you for the kind comments.

    María Rosa Gálvez was a fascinating woman and I believe her writing is underappreciated.

    There is a sensual undercurrent in this poem. I believe she wrote it saying goodbye to her affair with the Manuel Godoy, the prime minister of Spain.
    You may note such lines as

    “I found my sorrows turned to sighs.
    In solace, in your cradling arms:
    The fire of love I’d once despised.”

    where she is talking about giving in to passionate love. Or:

    Peace, your priceless treasure,
    Persists beyond our coupled hours.
    Your bosom holds a thousand pleasures,
    And amorous, seducing powers.

    Other lines refer to the torment of her marriage (her husband was a compulsive gambler and this poem suggests something worse):

    You quelled the causes of my wailing,
    The wrath-filled torments I once knew.

    and:

    Our spirits joined, our spirits whole,
    Rose up to conquer cursèd fate.

    mho

    Reply
    • Jan Darling

      Wonderful! Thank you Martin – now I get it! I discovered La Maria Rosa some years ago and had heard of the liaison with Sr Godoy but have never made this precise connection. Now I shall search shelves for more of her – can you recommend a collection? Your adaptation is exquisite.

      Reply
      • Martin Hill Ortiz

        By collection, if you mean in English, it doesn’t exist. The original books are available online through Cervantes.org (which is the Spanish version of Gutenberg. Otherwise you can get a recent copy of the originals the way that you can get public domain books re-packaged.

      • Jan Darling

        Excellent. Thank you again. I shall be happy with the Spanish until you publish your adaptations!

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