Antonio de Castro Alves

(14 March 1847 – 6 July 1871 / Curralinho)

O Navio Negreiro Part 1. (With English Translation) - Poem by Antonio de Castro Alves

‘Stamos em pleno mar… Doudo no espaço
Brinca o luar — dourada borboleta;
E as vagas após ele correm… cansam
Como turba de infantes inquieta.

'Stamos em pleno mar… Do firmamento
Os astros saltam como espumas de ouro…
O mar em troca acende as ardentias,
— Constelações do liquido tesouro…

'Stamos em pleno mar… Dois infinitos
Ali se estreitam num abraço insano,
Azuis, dourados, placidos, sublimes…
Qual dos dous é o céu? qual o oceano?…

‘Stamos em pleno mar. . . Abrindo as velas
Ao quente arfar das virações marinhas,
Veleiro brigue corre à flor dos mares,
Como roçam na vaga as andorinhas…

Donde vem? onde vai? Das naus errantes
Quem sabe o rumo se é tao grande o espaço?
Neste saara os corcéis o pó levantam,
Galopam, voam, mas nao deixam traço.

Bem feliz quem ali pode nest'hora
Sentir deste painel a majestade!
Embaixo — o mar em cima — o firmamento…
E no mar e no céu — a imensidade!

Oh! que doce harmonia traz-me a brisa!
Que música suave ao longe soa!
Meu Deus! como é sublime um canto ardente
Pelas vagas sem fim boiando à toa!

Homens do mar! ó rudes marinheiros,
Tostados pelo sol dos quatro mundos!
Crianças que a procela acalentara
No berço destes pélagos profundos!

Esperai! esperai! deixai que eu beba
Esta selvagem, livre poesia,
Orquestra — é o mar, que ruge pela proa,
E o vento, que nas cordas assobia…

Por que foges assim, barco ligeiro?
Por que foges do pavido poeta?
Oh! quem me dera acompanhar-te a esteira
Que semelha no mar — doudo cometa!

Albatroz! Albatroz! aguia do oceano,
Tu que dormes das nuvens entre as gazas,
Sacode as penas, Leviathan do espaço,
Albatroz! Albatroz! da-me estas asas.


English Translation

We are on the high sea… Mad in space
The moonlight plays — golden butterfly;
And the waves run after it. . . tiring
As a band of frenzied infants.

We are on the high sea… From the firmament
The stars jump like foam of gold. . .
The sea in exchange lights phosphorescence,
— Constellations of liquid treasure…

We are on the high sea… Two infinites
There narrowed in an insane embrace,
Blue, golden, placid, sublime..
Which of the two is ocean? Which sky?…

We are on the high sea.. . Opening the sails,
To the warm breath of the maritime winds,
Sail-boat brig runs to the flower of the seas
Like the swallows brush in the wave…

From where do you come? Where do you go? Of the wandering ships
Who knows the course if the space is so immense?
On this Sahara wild horses the dust raise,
Gallop, soar, but leave no trace.

Happy the one who can there, at that hour,
Feel from this panel the majesty!
Below — the sea, above — the firmament!…
And in the sea and in the sky — the immensity!

Oh! what sweet harmony the breeze brings to me!
What soft music from distance sounds!
My God! how sublime an ardent song is
Through the endless waves drifting without destiny !

Men of the sea! Oh rude sailors,
Toasted by the sun of the four worlds!
Children who the storms lull to sleep
In the cradle of these deep abysses!

Wait! wait! let me drink
This wild, free poetry,
Orchestra — is the sea, that roars by the prow
And the wind, that whistles in the ropes.

Why do you retreat so, sprightly boat?
Why do you evade the diffident poet?
Oh! if I only could follow your course
That reflects on the sea— mad comet!

Albatross! Albatross! Eagle of the ocean,
You who sleep in the mist of the clouds,
Shake your feathers, leviathan of space
Albatross! Albatross! give me those wings.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 3, 2010

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 13, 2012


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