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Lament For Ignacio Sanchez Mejias

Written by: Federico García Lorca | Biography
 | Quotes (3) |
 1. Cogida and death 

At five in the afternoon. 
It was exactly five in the afternoon. 
A boy brought the white sheet 
at five in the afternoon. 
A frail of lime ready prepared 
at five in the afternoon. 
The rest was death, and death alone. 

The wind carried away the cottonwool 
at five in the afternoon. 
And the oxide scattered crystal and nickel 
at five in the afternoon. 
Now the dove and the leopard wrestle 
at five in the afternoon. 
And a thigh with a desolated horn 
at five in the afternoon. 
The bass-string struck up 
at five in the afternoon. 
Arsenic bells and smoke 
at five in the afternoon. 
Groups of silence in the corners 
at five in the afternoon. 
And the bull alone with a high heart! 
At five in the afternoon. 
When the sweat of snow was coming 
at five in the afternoon, 
when the bull ring was covered with iodine 
at five in the afternoon. 
Death laid eggs in the wound 
at five in the afternoon. 
At five in the afternoon. 
At five o'clock in the afternoon. 

A coffin on wheels is his bed 
at five in the afternoon. 
Bones and flutes resound in his ears 
at five in the afternoon. 
Now the bull was bellowing through his forehead 
at five in the afternoon. 
The room was iridiscent with agony 
at five in the afternoon. 
In the distance the gangrene now comes 
at five in the afternoon. 
Horn of the lily through green groins 
at five in the afternoon. 
The wounds were burning like suns 
at five in the afternoon. 
At five in the afternoon. 
Ah, that fatal five in the afternoon! 
It was five by all the clocks! 
It was five in the shade of the afternoon! 



2. The Spilled Blood 

I will not see it! 

Tell the moon to come, 
for I do not want to see the blood 
of Ignacio on the sand. 

I will not see it! 

The moon wide open. 
Horse of still clouds, 
and the grey bull ring of dreams 
with willows in the barreras. 

I will not see it! 

Let my memory kindle! 
Warm the jasmines 
of such minute whiteness! 

I will not see it! 

The cow of the ancient world 
passed har sad tongue 
over a snout of blood 
spilled on the sand, 
and the bulls of Guisando, 
partly death and partly stone, 
bellowed like two centuries 
sated with threading the earth. 
No. 
I will not see it! 

Ignacio goes up the tiers 
with all his death on his shoulders. 
He sought for the dawn 
but the dawn was no more. 
He seeks for his confident profile 
and the dream bewilders him 
He sought for his beautiful body 
and encountered his opened blood 
Do not ask me to see it! 
I do not want to hear it spurt 
each time with less strength: 
that spurt that illuminates 
the tiers of seats, and spills 
over the cordury and the leather 
of a thirsty multiude. 
Who shouts that I should come near! 
Do not ask me to see it! 

His eyes did not close 
when he saw the horns near, 
but the terrible mothers 
lifted their heads. 
And across the ranches, 
an air of secret voices rose, 
shouting to celestial bulls, 
herdsmen of pale mist. 
There was no prince in Sevilla 
who could compare to him, 
nor sword like his sword 
nor heart so true. 
Like a river of lions 
was his marvellous strength, 
and like a marble toroso 
his firm drawn moderation. 
The air of Andalusian Rome 
gilded his head 
where his smile was a spikenard 
of wit and intelligence. 
What a great torero in the ring! 
What a good peasant in the sierra! 
How gentle with the sheaves! 
How hard with the spurs! 
How tender with the dew! 
How dazzling the fiesta! 
How tremendous with the final 
banderillas of darkness! 

But now he sleeps without end. 
Now the moss and the grass 
open with sure fingers 
the flower of his skull. 
And now his blood comes out singing; 
singing along marshes and meadows, 
sliden on frozen horns, 
faltering soulles in the mist 
stoumbling over a thousand hoofs 
like a long, dark, sad tongue, 
to form a pool of agony 
close to the starry Guadalquivir. 
Oh, white wall of Spain! 
Oh, black bull of sorrow! 
Oh, hard blood of Ignacio! 
Oh, nightingale of his veins! 
No. 
I will not see it! 
No chalice can contain it, 
no swallows can drink it, 
no frost of light can cool it, 
nor song nor deluge og white lilies, 
no glass can cover mit with silver. 
No. 
I will not see it! 



3. The Laid Out Body 

Stone is a forehead where dreames grieve 
without curving waters and frozen cypresses. 
Stone is a shoulder on which to bear Time 
with trees formed of tears and ribbons and planets. 

I have seen grey showers move towards the waves 
raising their tender riddle arms, 
to avoid being caught by lying stone 
which loosens their limbs without soaking their blood. 

For stone gathers seed and clouds, 
skeleton larks and wolves of penumbra: 
but yields not sounds nor crystals nor fire, 
only bull rings and bull rings and more bull rings without walls. 

Now, Ignacio the well born lies on the stone. 
All is finished. What is happening! Contemplate his face: 
death has covered him with pale sulphur 
and has place on him the head of dark minotaur. 

All is finished. The rain penetrates his mouth. 
The air, as if mad, leaves his sunken chest, 
and Love, soaked through with tears of snow, 
warms itself on the peak of the herd. 

What is they saying? A stenching silence settles down. 
We are here with a body laid out which fades away, 
with a pure shape which had nightingales 
and we see it being filled with depthless holes. 

Who creases the shroud? What he says is not true! 
Nobody sings here, nobody weeps in the corner, 
nobody pricks the spurs, nor terrifies the serpent. 
Here I want nothing else but the round eyes 
to see his body without a chance of rest. 

Here I want to see those men of hard voice. 
Those that break horses and dominate rivers; 
those men of sonorous skeleton who sing 
with a mouth full of sun and flint. 

Here I want to see them. Before the stone. 
Before this body with broken reins. 
I want to know from them the way out 
for this captain stripped down by death. 

I want them to show me a lament like a river 
wich will have sweet mists and deep shores, 
to take the body of Ignacio where it looses itself 
without hearing the double planting of the bulls. 

Loses itself in the round bull ring of the moon 
which feigns in its youth a sad quiet bull, 
loses itself in the night without song of fishes 
and in the white thicket of frozen smoke. 

I don't want to cover his face with handkerchiefs 
that he may get used to the death he carries. 
Go, Ignacio, feel not the hot bellowing 
Sleep, fly, rest: even the sea dies! 



4. Absent Soul 

The bull does not know you, nor the fig tree, 
nor the horses, nor the ants in your own house. 
The child and the afternoon do not know you 
because you have dead forever. 

The shoulder of the stone does not know you 
nor the black silk, where you are shuttered. 
Your silent memory does not know you 
because you have died forever 

The autumn will come with small white snails, 
misty grapes and clustered hills, 
but no one will look into your eyes 
because you have died forever. 

Because you have died for ever, 
like all the dead of the earth, 
like all the dead who are forgotten 
in a heap of lifeless dogs. 

Nobady knows you. No. But I sing of you. 
For posterity I sing of your profile and grace. 
Of the signal maturity of your understanding. 
Of your appetite for death and the taste of its mouth. 
Of the sadness of your once valiant gaiety. 

It will be a long time, if ever, before there is born 
an Andalusian so true, so rich in adventure. 
I sing of his elegance with words that groan, 
and I remember a sad breeze through the olive trees.



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