The OF Blog: Luís Vaz de Camões

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Luís Vaz de Camões

Mudam-se os tempos, mudam-se as vontades

Mudam-se os tempos, mudam-se as vontades,
Muda-se o ser, muda-se a confiança;
Todo o mundo é composto de mudança,
Tomando sempre novas qualidades.

Continuamente vemos novidades,
Diferentes em tudo da esperança;
Do mal ficam as mágoas na lembrança,
E do bem, se algum houve, as saudades.

O tempo cobre o chão de verde manto,
Que já coberto foi de neve fria,
E em mim converte em choro o doce canto.

E, afora este mudar-se cada dia,
Outra mudança faz de mor espanto:
Que não se muda já como soía.

(Time changes, and our desires change. What we
believe - even what we are - is ever-
changing. The world is change, which forever
takes on new qualities. And constantly,
we see the new and the novel overturning
the past, unexpectedly, while we retain
from evil, nothing but its terrible pain,
from good (if there's been any), only the yearning.
Time covers the ground with her cloak of grren
where, once, there was freezing snow - and rearranges
my sweetest songs to sad laments. Yet even more
astonishing is yet another unseen
change within all these endless changes:
that for me, nothing ever changes anymore.)

A week or so ago, I was browsing through Amazon and wanting a poetry fix (still do, actually), decided to purchase two books by 16th century Portuguese writer/poet, Luís Vaz de Camões. The first was an epic poem freshly translated into English, The Lusíads, the second being a bilingual Portuguese-English collection of some of Camões' poetry. The quotation above is from that second book, Luís de Camões: Selected Sonnets. I just found "Os Tempos," or "Time," to be an interesting sonnet and thought I'd share it here, since I'm going to be busy for part of the weekend.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful (or, as we would say in Portuguese: Lindíssimo!!)

Camões is alwayd a good reading. Hope you can someday learn Portuguese (You know Spanish, but it is not the same thing, as I´m sure you know that) so you can read him in the original, and other poets as well (Antero de Quental, for instance, or the playwright Gil Vicente).

Lsrry said...

Thankfully, the sonnets were in alternating Portuguese/English segments, as while the translated poetry read well, it just wasn't Camões' poetry. And I understood about 75-80% of what I was reading, perhaps due in part to having two Portuguese students in my ESOL social studies class back in 2002-2003 when I taught in Florida. Will keep the others in mind, since I'm a sucka for poets and playwrights.

Anonymous said...

I was searching for a good poem by Camões, and this is great--I've sent for the book!

I love sonnet form, especially this 4-4-3-3 form that I even find in pop hits by Caetano Veloso.

I like translations that are close to the meaning even if they don't rhyme. I tried translating it first, and this is more graceful and retains similar words.

k.d. jospe said...

Hello! I just returned from a trip to Portugal with a book (Portuguese-French) of "Poets of Lisbon. I was working with the Camōes poem this morning, which reminded me of Charles D'Orléans rondeau where "le temps a laissé son manteau..." where "le temps" can mean time, or conditions of weather. (seems to be a popular image, cf 1st tercet below.) I am delighted with your translation! As a bilingual (French/English) poet, I thought it might be fun to use the same sonnet form, respecting the end-rhyme. Here is my attempt.

Times change—and so too our desires;
change is part of being and belief;
the whole world is change, change its motif,
and what transforming requires.

Continually, we see the new, discerning
all differently from all we hope;
from evil, scars of pain deep in scope,
and from good (if it exists) regret, yearning.

Time covers the ground with a green cloak
that icy snow once covered
changes my sweet song under lament's yoke.

Time then surprises with this unseen change:
with all its changes, I have discovered
no matter when, time ceases to change.

With all good wishes,
Kitty Jospé.

Add to Technorati Favorites