Drowned Lover

Young men dream in the garden of the dead, with flowers growing from their heads, photo by Duane Michals


Cara minha inimiga, em cuja mão
pôs meus contentamentos a ventura,
faltou-te a ti na terra sepultura,
porque me falte a mim consolação.
Eternamente as águas lograrão
a tua peregrina fermosura;
mas, enquanto me a mim a vida dura,
sempre viva em minh’alma te acharão.
E se meus rudos versos podem tanto
que possam prometer-te longa história
daquele amor tão puro e verdadeiro,
celebrada serás sempre em meu canto;
porque enquanto no mundo houver memória,
será minha escritura teu letreiro.

Luís Vaz de Camões




Dearest enemy, so often unkind,
my life was in your hands, until that wave
of the sea deprived you of an earthly grave,
depriving me, as well, of peace of mind.
The selfish drowning waters keep us apart,
enjoying your lovely beauty within the vast
cold sea, but as long as my broken life will last,
you’ll always be alive within my heart.
And if my ragged poems can last for long
enough, your love, so spotless, will persist
forever and ever, as I, on your behalf,
will praise you always with my singing song;
as long as human memories exist,
my poems will be your missing epitaph.

Translation by Richard Zenith

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