Wednesday, 23 December 2015

I approach, and I withdraw - Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

I approach, and I withdraw:
who but I could find
absence in the eyes,
presence in what's far?

From the scorn of Phyllis,
now, alas, I must depart.
One is indeed unhappy
who misses even scorn!

So caring is my love
that my present distress
minds hard-heartedness less
than the thought of its loss.

Leaving, I lose more
than what is merely mine:
in Phyllis, never mine,
I lose what can't be lost.

Oh, pity the poor person
who aroused such kind disdain
that to avoid giving pain,
it would grant no favour!

For, seeing in my future
obligatory exile,
she disdained me the more,
that the loss might be less.

Oh, where did you discover
so neat a tactic, Phyllis:
denying to disdain
the garb of affection?

To live unobserved
by your eyes, I now go
where never pain of mine
need flatter your disdain.

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651 – 1695) Mexico
A portrait of Juana at age 15 in 1666

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