Hear, O Spain, the voice of a son
Who speaks in a tongue that is not of Castile;
I speak in the tongue a stark land
Has given me:
This tongue only a few have used to thee;
The other, too many.
Too much they have spoken to thee of the heroes of Saguntum
And those who died for their country.
Thy glories and thy memories
Are memories and glories only of death:
Thy life has been sad.
I would speak to thee far otherwise.
Why spill blood to no purpose?
Within the veins blood is life,
Life for the living and for those hereafter:
Spilt, it is dead.
Thou thought too much about thine honour,
Too little about thy life:
Thou led thy children to tragedy and to death,
Thou delighted in the panoply of death;
Thy festivals were funerals,
O sombre Spain!
I have seen the ships depart laden
With thy sons, taken to their death:
Smiling they went into the unknown,
And thou sang there by the sea
Like a crazed woman.
Where are the ships? Where are thy sons?
Ask the dying West and the wild waves:
Thou hast lost all, now thou hast nothing.
Spain, Spain, return to thyself,
Break into tears like a mother!
Save thyself, O save thyself, from all this bane;
Let tears bring thee increase, joy and life;
Think of the life that surges round thee:
Lift thy brow,
Smile up at the seven colours glowing in the clouds.
Where art thou, Spain? Nowhere I see thee.
Hearest thou not my voice of thunder?
Art thou stranger to this tongue that speaks to you amid peril?
Canst thou no longer understand thy children?
Then farewell, O Spain!
Translated by J. M. Batista i Roca
MARAGALL, Joan. “Ode to Spain” (Oda a Espanya). Reproduït d’un recull de poesies preparat a Cambridge per J. M. Batista i Roca. Pont Blau. [Mèxic D. F.], núm. 72 (octubre 1958).
ODE TO SPAIN
Listen, Spain, to the voice of a son
who speaks to you, not in Castilian,
but in the language given him
by a harsh land:
in this language too few have talked to you;
in the other too many.
They have made too much of Saguntum
and of dying for the homeland:
of your glories, and your memories,
memories and glories only of the dead:
you have lived a sad life.
I want to speak to you—in a different way.
To what end useless bloodshed?
Coursing through the veins—blood equals life.
Life for the living and for those yet to live.
Once spilt, it is death.
You dwelt too long on honor
And too little on life:
Tragic, you led your children to the grave,
sated on deadly honors,
your feasts were funerals,
oh, unhappy Spain!
I have seen the laden ships depart
bearing the sons you swept to their death:
smiling, they parted toward their fate;
as you sang – by the shore
like a madwoman.
Where are your ships now? Where are your sons?
Ask the West Wind and the brave wave:
You lost everything – you have no one.
Spain, Espanya, come to your senses,
release your motherly sob!
Save yourself, be saved, from so much pain;
tears can make you lively, lush, and joyful;
think of all the life that still surrounds you:
lift up your head,
and smile at the seven colors of the clouds.
Where are you, Spain? I search for you in vain.
Can you not hear my deafening voice resound?
Can you not grasp this tongue that speaks to you midst danger?
Have you unlearned the language of your brood?