Ovillejos

By: Miguel de Cervantes
Translated by: Samuel Lopez

Who undermines my actions?
Rejection!
And who augments my pains?
Jealousy!
And who tests my patience?
Loneliness!

Thus in my condition
no remedy is enough,
I am being killed by hope,
rejection, jealousy, and loneliness.

Who causes me this pain?
Love!
And who does my glory disgust?
Fortune!
And who allows my pain?
The Heavens!

In this way I doubt
that I am dying in this strange way,
They unite in my suffering
love, fortune, and the Heavens.

Who will improve my luck?
Death?
Who returns my love? Who has it?
Change!
And his ills? Who will cure them?
Madness!

That way lies madness,
to want to cure my passion,
when the remedies
are death, change, and madness.

 

About the Author:

Miguel de Cervantes was a playwright, poet. and author from the mid 16th to early 17th century in Spain.  At a young age, he became a soldier and lost the use of his left hand after being shot multiple times.  He was taken as a Prisoner of War by the Ottomans and held in Algiers, but five years later his family paid ransom for his return.  Later, he was incarcerated by the Spanish Inquisition, and he wrote his most famous work, Don Quijote, in jail.  The turmoil he suffered during his life due to his status as a POW and his stay in jail appears in much of his work, including the poem “Ovillejos.”  The helplessness demonstrated in this poem by his inability to improve his situation without death, change, and madness is a reflection of his difficult circumstances.

About the Translator:

Samuel Lopez is a sophomore at the University of Michigan majoring in Aerospace Engineering.  Some changes he made to the poem which deviate from a strict translation are the usage of Rejection, Loneliness, and Change int he place of Slights, Absence, and Moving for the purpose of communicating the nature of Cervantes’ life through the poem.

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