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Written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | Create an image from this poem

You Men

(Español)
Hombres necios que acusáis
a la mujer sin razón,
sin ver que sois la ocasión
de lo mismo que culpáis:

si con ansia sin igual
solicitáis su desdén,
¿por qué quereis que obren bien
si las incitáis al mal?

Combatís su resistencia
y luego, con gravedad,
decís que fue liviandad
lo que hizo la diligencia.

Parecer quiere el denuedo
de vuestro parecer loco,
al niño que pone el coco
y luego le tiene miedo.

Queréis, con presunción necia,
hallar a la que buscáis,
para pretendida, Thais,
y en la posesión, Lucrecia

¿Qué humor puede ser más raro
que el que, falto de consejo,
el mismo empaña el espejo
y siente que no esté claro?

Con el favor y el desdén
tenéis condición igual,
quejándoos, si os tratan mal,
burlándoos, si os quieren bien.

Opinión, ninguna gana:
pues la que más se recata,
si no os admite, es ingrata,
y si os admite, es liviana

Siempre tan necios andáis
que, con desigual nivel,
a una culpáis por crüel
y a otra por fácil culpáis.

¿Pues cómo ha de estar templada
la que vuestro amor pretende,
si la que es ingrata, ofende,
y la que es fácil, enfada?

Mas, entre el enfado y pena
que vuestro gusto refiere,
bien haya la que no os quiere
y quejaos en hora buena.

Dan vuestras amantes penas
a sus libertades alas,
y después de hacerlas malas
las queréis hallar muy buenas.

¿Cuál mayor culpa ha tenido
en una pasión errada:
la que cae de rogada
o el que ruega de caído?

¿O cuál es más de culpar,
aunque cualquiera mal haga:
la que peca por la paga
o el que paga por pecar?

Pues ¿para quée os espantáis
de la culpa que tenéis?
Queredlas cual las hacéis
o hacedlas cual las buscáis.

Dejad de solicitar,
y después, con más razón,
acusaréis la afición
de la que os fuere a rogar.

Bien con muchas armas fundo
que lidia vuestra arrogancia,
pues en promesa e instancia
juntáis diablo, carne y mundo.

(English)
Silly, you men-so very adept
at wrongly faulting womankind,
not seeing you're alone to blame
for faults you plant in woman's mind.

After you've won by urgent plea
the right to tarnish her good name,
you still expect her to behave--
you, that coaxed her into shame.

You batter her resistance down
and then, all righteousness, proclaim
that feminine frivolity,
not your persistence, is to blame.

When it comes to bravely posturing,
your witlessness must take the prize:
you're the child that makes a bogeyman,
and then recoils in fear and cries.

Presumptuous beyond belief,
you'd have the woman you pursue
be Thais when you're courting her,
Lucretia once she falls to you.

For plain default of common sense,
could any action be so *****
as oneself to cloud the mirror,
then complain that it's not clear?

Whether you're favored or disdained,
nothing can leave you satisfied.
You whimper if you're turned away,
you sneer if you've been gratified.

With you, no woman can hope to score;
whichever way, she's bound to lose;
spurning you, she's ungrateful--
succumbing, you call her lewd.

Your folly is always the same:
you apply a single rule
to the one you accuse of looseness
and the one you brand as cruel.

What happy mean could there be
for the woman who catches your eye,
if, unresponsive, she offends,
yet whose complaisance you decry?

Still, whether it's torment or anger--
and both ways you've yourselves to blame--
God bless the woman who won't have you,
no matter how loud you complain.

It's your persistent entreaties
that change her from timid to bold.
Having made her thereby naughty,
you would have her good as gold.

So where does the greater guilt lie
for a passion that should not be:
with the man who pleads out of baseness
or the woman debased by his plea?

Or which is more to be blamed--
though both will have cause for chagrin:
the woman who sins for money
or the man who pays money to sin?

So why are you men all so stunned
at the thought you're all guilty alike?
Either like them for what you've made them
or make of them what you can like.

If you'd give up pursuing them,
you'd discover, without a doubt,
you've a stronger case to make
against those who seek you out.

I well know what powerful arms
you wield in pressing for evil:
your arrogance is allied
with the world, the flesh, and the devil! 


Written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | Create an image from this poem

My Lady

My Lady (Español)

    Perdite, señora, quiero
de mi silencio perdón,
si lo que ha sido atención
le hace parecer grosero.

    Y no me podrás culpar
si hasta aquí mi proceder,
por ocuparse en querer,
se ha olvidado de explicar.

    Que en mi amorosa pasión
no fue desuido, ni mengua,
quitar el uso a la lengua
por dárselo al corazón.

    Ni de explicarme dejaba:
que, como la pasión mía
acá en el alma te vía,
acá en el alma te hablaba.

    Y en esta idea notable
dichosamenta vivía,
porque en mi mano tenia
el fingirte favorable.

    Con traza tan peregrina
vivió mi esperanza vana,
pues te pudo hacer humana
concibiéndote divina.

    ¡Oh, cuán loca llegué a verme
en tus dichosos amores,
que, aun fingidos, tus favroes
pudieron enloquecerme!

    ¡Oh, cómo, en tu sol hermoso
mi ardiente afecto encendido,
por cebarse en lo lucido,
olvidó lo peligroso!

    Perdona, si atrevimiento
fue atreverme a tu ardor puro;
que no hay sagrado seguro
de culpas de pensamiento.

    De esta manera engañaba
la loca esperanza mía,
y dentro de mí tenía
todo el bien que deseaba.

    Mas ya tu precepto grave
rompe mi silencio mudo;
que él solamente ser pudo
de mi respeto la llave.

    Y aunque el amar tu belleza
es delito sin disculpa
castígueseme la culpa
primero que la tibieza.

    No quieras, pues, rigurosa,
que, estando ya declarada,
sea de veras desdichada
quien fue de burlas dichosa.

    Si culpas mi desacato,
culpa también tu licencia;
que si es mala mi obediencia,
no fue justo tu mandato

    Y si es culpable mi intento,
será mi afecto precito,
porque es amarte un delito
de que nunca me arrepiento.

    Esto en mis afectos hallo,
y más, que explicar no sé;
mas tú, de lo que callé,
inferirás lo que callo.

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My Lady (English)

    My lady, I must implore
forgiveness for keeping still,
if what I meant as tribute
ran contrary to your will.

    Please do not reproach me
if the course I have maintained
in the eagerness of my love
left my silence unexplained.

    I love you with so much passion,
neither rudeness nor neglect
can explain why I tied my tongue,
yet left my heart unchecked.

    The matter to me was simple:
love for you was so strong,
I could see you in my soul
and talk to you all day long.

    With this idea in mind,
I lived in utter delight,
pretending my subterfuge
found favor in your sight.

    In this strange, ingenious fashion,
I allowed the hope to be mine
that I still might see as human
what I really conceived as divine.

    Oh, how mad I became
in my blissful love of you,
for even though feigned, your favor
made all my madness seem true!

    How unwisely my ardent love,
which your glorious sun inflamed,
sought to feed upon your brightness,
though the risk of your fire was plain!

    Forgive me if, thus emboldened,
I made bold with that sacred fire:
there's no sanctuary secure
when thought's transgressions conspire.

    Thus it was I kept indulging
these foolhardy hopes of mine,
enjoying within myself
a happiness sublime.

    But now, at your solemn bidding,
this silence I herewith suspend,
for your summons unlocks in me
a respect no time can end.

    And, although loving your beauty
is a crime beyond repair,
rather the crime be chastised
than my fervor cease to dare.

    With this confession in hand,
I pray, be less stern with me.
Do not condemn to distress
one who fancied bliss so free.

    If you blame me for disrespect,
remember, you gave me leave;
thus, if obedience was wrong,
your commanding must be my reprieve.

    Let my love be ever doomed
if guilty in its intent,
for loving you is a crime
of which I will never repent.

    This much I descry in my feelings--
and more that I cannot explain;
but you, from what I've not said,
may infer what words won't contain.
Written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | Create an image from this poem

Disillusionment

Disillusionment (Español)

    Ya, desengaño mío,
llegasteis al extremo
que pudo en vuestro ser
verificar el serlo.

    Todo los habéis perdido;
mas no todo, pues creo
que aun a costa es de todo
barato el escarmiento.

    No envidiaréis de amor
los gustos lisonjeros:
que está un escarmentado
muy remoto del riesgro.

    El no esperar alguno
me sirve de consuelo;
que también es alivio
el no buscar remedio.

    En la pérdida misma
los alivios encuentro:
pues si perdi el tesoro,
también se perdió el miedo.

    No tener qué perder
me sirve de sosiego;
que no teme ladrones,
desnudo, el pasajero.

    Ni aun la libertad misma
tenerla por bien quiero:
que luego será daño
si por tal la poseo.

    No quiero más cuidados
de bienes tan inciertos,
sino tener el alma
como que no la tengo.

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Disillusionment (English)

    Disillusionment,
this is the bitter end,
this proves you're rightly called
the end of illusion.

   You've made me lose all,
yet no, losing all
is not paying too dear
for being undeceived.

   No more will you envy
the allurements of love,
for one undeceived
has no risk left to run.

   It's some consolation
to be expecting none:
there's relief to be found
in seeking no cure.

   In loss itself
I find assuagement:
having lost the treasure,
I've nothing to fear.

   Having nothing to lose
brings peace of mind:
one traveling without funds
need not fear thieves.

   Liberty itself
for me is no boon:
if I hold it such,
it will soon be my bane.

   No more worries for me
over boons so uncertain:
I will own my very soul
as if it were not mine.
Written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | Create an image from this poem

Arraignment Of The Men

Males perverse, schooled to condemn
Women by your witless laws,
Though forsooth you are prime cause
Of that which you blame in them:

If with unexampled care
You solicit their disdain,
Will your fair words ease their pain,
When you ruthless set the snare?

Their resistance you impugn,
Then maintain with gravity
That it was mere levity
Made you dare to importune.

What more elevating sight
Than of man with logic crass,
Who with hot breath fogs the glass,
Then laments it is not bright!

Scorn and favor, favor, scorn,
What you will, result the same,
Treat you ill, and earn your blame,
Love you well, be left forlorn.

Scant regard will she possess
Who with caution wends her way,—
Is held thankless for her “nay,”
And as wanton for her “yes.”

What must be the rare caprice
Of the quarry you engage:
If she flees, she wakes your rage,
If she yields, her charms surcease.

Who shall bear the heavier blame,
When remorse the twain enthralls,
She, who for the asking, falls,
He who, asking, brings to shame?

Whose the guilt, where to begin,
Though both yield to passion's sway,
She who weakly sins for pay,
He who, strong, yet pays for Sin?

Then why stare ye, if we prove
That the guilt lies at your gate?
Either love those you create,
Or create those you can love.

To solicitation truce,—
Then, sire, with some show of right
You may mock the hapless plight
Or the creatures of your use! 
Written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | Create an image from this poem

On the death of that most excellent lady, the Marquise de Mancera

On the death of that most excellent lady,
the Marquise de Mancera (Español)

    Mueran contigo, Laura, pues moriste,
los afectos que en vano te desean,
los ojos a quien privas de que vean
hermosa luz que a un tiempo concediste.

    Muera mi lira infausta en que influiste
ecos, que lamentables te vocean,
y hasta estos rasgos mal formados sean
lágrimas negras de mi pluma triste.

    Muévase a compasión la misma muerte
que, precisa, no pudo perdonarte;
y lamente el amor su amarga suerte,

    pues si antes, ambicioso de gozarte,
deseó tener ojos para verte,
ya le sirvieran sólo de llorarte.

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On the death of that most excellent lady,
the Marquise de Mancera (English)

    Let them die with you, Laura, now you are dead,
these longings that go out to you in vain,
these eyes on whom you once bestowed
a lovely light never to gleam again.

    Let this unfortunate lyre that echoes still
to sounds you woke, perish calling your name,
and may these clumsy scribblings represent
black tears my pen has shed to ease its pain.

    Let Death himself feel pity, and regret
that, bound by his own law, he could not spare you,
and Love lament the bitter circumstance

    that if once, in his desire for pleasure,
he wished for eyes that they might feast on you,
now weeping is all those eyes could ever do.
Written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | Create an image from this poem

My Divine Lysis

My Divine Lysis

    Divina Lysi mía:
perdona si me atrevo
a llamarte así, cuando
aun de ser tuya el nombre no merezco.

    A esto, no osadía
es llamarte así, puesto
que a ti te sobran rayos,
si en mí pudiera haber atrevimientos.

    Error es de la lengua,
que lo que dice imperio
del dueño, en el dominio,
parezcan posesiones en el siervo.

    Mi rey, dice el vasallo;
mi cárcel, dice el preso;
y el más humilde esclavo,
sin agraviarlo, llama suyo al dueño.

    Así, cuando yo mía
te llamo, no pretendo
que juzguen que eres mía,
sino sólo que yo ser tuya quiero.

    Yo te vi; pero basta:
que a publicar incendios
basta apuntar la causa,
sin añadir la culpa del efecto.

    Que mirarte tan alta,
no impide a mi denuedo;
que no hay deidad segura
al altivo volar del pensamiento.

    Y aunque otras más merezcan,
en distancia del cielo
lo mismo dista el valle
más humilde que el monte más soberbio,

    En fin, yo de adorarte
el delito confieso;
si quieres castigarme,
este mismo castigo será premio.

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My Divine Lysis (English)

    My divine Lysis:
do forgive my daring,
if so I address you,
unworthy though I am to be known as yours.

   I cannot think it bold
to call you so, well knowing
you've ample thunderbolts
to shatter any overweening of mine.

   It's the tongue that misspeaks
when what is called dominion--
I mean, the master's rule--
is made to seem possession by the slave.

   The vassal says: my king;
my prison, the convict says;
and any humble slave
will call the master his without offense.

   Thus, when I call you mine,
it's not that I expect
you'll be considered such--
only that I hope I may be yours.

   I saw you-need more be said?
To broadcast a fire,
telling the cause suffices--
no need to apportion blame for the effect.

   Seeing you so exalted
does not prevent my daring;
no god is ever secure
against the lofty flight of human thought.

    There are women more deserving,
yet in distance from heaven
the humblest of valleys
seems no farther than the highest peak.

   In sum, I must admit
to the crime of adoring you;
should you wish to punish me,
the very punishment will be reward.
Written by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | Create an image from this poem

I Approach and I Withdraw

I Approach and I Withdraw (Español)

    Me acerco y me retiro:
¿quién sino yo hallar puedo
a la ausencia en los ojos
la presencia en lo lejos?

    Del desprecio de Filis,
infelice, me ausento.
¡Ay de aquel en quien es
aun pérdida el desprecio!

    Tan atento la adoro
que, en el mal que padezco,
no siento sus rigores
tanto como el perderlos.

    No pierdo, al partir, sólo
los bienes que poseo,
si en Filis, que no es mía,
pierdo lo que no pierdo.

    ¡Ay de quien un desdén
lograba tan atento,
que por no ser dolor
no se atrevió a ser premio!

    Pues viendo, en mi destino,
preciso mi destierro,
me desdeñaba más
porque perdiera menos.

    ¡Ay! ¿Quién te enseño, Filis,
tan primoroso medio:
vedar a los desdenes
el traje del afecto?

    A vivir ignorado
de tus luces, me ausento
donde ni aun mi mal sirva
a tu desdén de obsequio.

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I Approach and I Withdraw (English)

    I approach, and I withdraw:
who but I could find
absence in the eyes,
presence in what's far?

    From the scorn of Phyllis,
now, alas, I must depart.
One is indeed unhappy
who misses even scorn!

    So caring is my love
that my present distress
minds hard-heartedness less
than the thought of its loss.

    Leaving, I lose more
than what is merely mine:
in Phyllis, never mine,
I lose what can't be lost.

    Oh, pity the poor person
who aroused such kind disdain
that to avoid giving pain,
it would grant no favor!

    For, seeing in my future
obligatory exile,
she disdained me the more,
that the loss might be less.

    Oh, where did you discover
so neat a tactic, Phyllis:
denying to disdain
the garb of affection?

    To live unobserved
by your eyes, I now go
where never pain of mine
need flatter your disdain.