Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

(1651 - 1695 / San Miguel Nepantla / Mexico)

On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady, - Poem by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

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(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.




(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.


Comments about On The Death Of That Most Excellent Lady, by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

  • (2/1/2017 4:29:00 PM)

    Please excuse errors
    I am sorry for the terrible typos in my comment! These poems were written in 17th C. *New Spain(now Mexico) .
    Other typos are more obvious, and due to tiny keys/spell checker errors.
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  • (2/1/2017 4:05:00 PM)


    After watching a Spanish language series on Sister Juana Inez de La Cruz, I *had* to look up her poetry! This one is so beautiful to me since losing someone very close! I'm not fluent in Spanish, but grew up in New Mexico, traveled in Spain, and studied languages/diction for singing at the New England Conservatory. Poor speaker that I am, the English translations bother even me. This one seems as good as can be, but poetry (like opera lyrics translations) so often: choose inferior words, force words to another line, and even stray from actual meaning- all in an effort to rhyme! The original rhythm and rhyme can never be duplicated in such different languages as English or German (though this one's admirable at conveying meaning) . I simply wish for a literal word for word translation. Does anyone know where one can find that? These poems were written in 17th C. Spain, and words often aquire new meanings over four or five centuries! Recently, I saw one if this poet's titkes changed ti Love's Rip-cord(sp?) (as pulled on a parachute, & cute but not the Spanish swords at all) . All the translations make me wonder if that's one reason people say this poet was a lesbian, because people of both sexes often expressed great love for others (of their gender) w/o physical context in previous times? It isn't done much today, as it would immediately be misunderstood... (Report) Reply

  • Souren Mondal (11/17/2015 11:44:00 PM)


    A wonderful poem depicting the death of someone in a very poignant manner.. However, I wonder how many of us can actually LIVE in such a way that when we die DEATH has to shed tears for us.. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (11/17/2015 10:50:00 PM)


    Very serene and poignant poem. Death takes away all the mortal remains which once were the cynosure of the loved ones. You have beautifully portrayed the scene. Thanks.
    now weeping is all those eyes could ever do.
    (Report) Reply

  • (11/17/2015 11:27:00 AM)


    Absolutely amazing I heart the poem! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • (11/17/2015 9:53:00 AM)


    This is wonderful! I can't wait to read more of your poems! (Report) Reply

    Kim Barney Kim Barney (11/17/2015 8:32:00 PM)

    You are talking to someone who died in 1695!

  • (11/17/2015 3:04:00 AM)


    Glowing tribute to the memory of the most excellent Lady paid by the poetess. Enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing.8 points. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (11/17/2015 12:15:00 AM)


    It just didn't resonate with me- I reread several times but it still didn't get into my heart. Hopefully it is just a matter of the impact getting lost in translation. (Report) Reply

  • (10/3/2015 9:20:00 AM)


    .........beautiful tribute and very nicely penned ★ (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: pain, death, light



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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