Love Is a Fire That Burns Unseen

Flaming June, Frederic Leighton, 1895. Ponce Museum of Art (Puerto Rico).
It is thought that the woman portrayed alludes to the figures of sleeping nymphs and naiads the Greeks often sculpted. The (toxic) Oleander branch in the top right, symbolizes the fragile link between sleep and death


“Amor he hum fogo que arde sem se ver;
He ferida que doe e não se sente;
He hum contentamento descontente;
He dor que desatina sem doer;

He hum não querer mais que bem querer;
He solitario andar por entre a gente;
He hum não contentar-se de contente;
He cuidar que se ganha em se perder;

He hum estar-se preso por vontade;
He servir a quem vence o vencedor;
He hum ter com quem nos mata lealdade.

Mas como causar póde o seu favor
Nos mortaes corações conformidade,
Sendo a si tão contrário o mesmo Amor?




“Love is a fire that burns unseen,
A wound that aches yet isn’t felt,
An always discontent contentment,
A pain that rages without hurting,
A longing for nothing but to long,
A loneliness in the midst of people,
A never feeling pleased when pleased,
A passion that gains when lost in thought.

It’s being enslaved of your own free will;
It’s counting your defeat a victory;
It’s staying loyal to your killer.

But if it’s so self-contradictory,
How can Love, when Love chooses,
Bring human hearts into sympathy?”

Luís Vaz de Camões

Rimas (translated by Richard Zenith)

One thought on “Love Is a Fire That Burns Unseen

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