Rosa divina, que en gentil cultura

Returning to spring-like themes, here is a nice sonnet from Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz on the majestic, but fleeting, beauty of a rose and the lessons we should learn from its glorious flowering and subsequent demise.

A una Rosa

Rosa divina, que en gentil cultura
Eres con tu fragante sutileza
Magisterio purpúreo en la belleza,
Enseñanza nevada a la hermosura.

Amago de la humana arquitectura,
Ejemplo de la vana gentileza,
En cuyo ser unió naturaleza
La cuna alegre y triste sepultura.

¡Cuán altiva en tu pompa, presumida
soberbia, el riesgo de morir desdeñas,
y luego desmayada y encogida.

De tu caduco ser das mustias señas!
Con que con docta muerte y necia vida,
Viviendo engañas y muriendo enseñas.

From <http://www.los-poetas.com/l/sor3.htm&gt;

In the first four lines the rose is resplendent, with its glorious colours and subtle fragrance, an epitome of all things beautiful. The warning comes in the second four lines where we learn that it is rather like human vanity, all-conquering one day but dead and buried the next. In its glorious flowering the rose is majestic, haughty, proud, scornful of any possibility of death, but then, too soon, it has died and lies dried out and decaying. The poet’s intent is for this to be a lesson in humility for all her human readers. But I just like the description of the beauty of the rose.

The Poetry Dude

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