Friday, 21 September 2018

Fickle - Jan Andrzej Morsztyn

Sooner will a man the winds ensnare, and sooner still
With tiny bits of sunny rays his pocket fill;
Sooner will he, with a threat, the stormy oceans calm,
Or grasp the world immense and keep it in his palm;
Sooner will he, hurting not himself, a bonfire slap,
Or all the clouds upon the sky with a net entrap;.
Sooner will in bitter tears the Mount of Etna drown,
And sooner will a deaf-mute sing, a downright clown
Utter something wise; and sooner will the wayward fate
Be fixed, and death and laugh be one another’s mate;
Sooner will a dream be true and poets cease to lie;
Of no avail will sooner be an angel’s cry;
Sooner will the sun at dusk into a cavern sail,
Or there’ll be people in the wild, or peace in jail;
Sooner will our minds be gone and words will cease to flow
Than constancy may any woman ever know.

Jan Andrzej Morsztyn (1621–1693) Poland
Translated by Jarek Zawadzki
Source: Selected Masterpieces of Polish Poetry, selected by Jarek Zawadzki, BookSurge Publishing, 2007

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