Yo vi unos bellos ojos, que hirieron

Here is a poem from Fernando de Herrera, writing in the 16th century at the height of the Spanish Golden Age of culture and economic ascendancy, but he is somewhat less well known than such as Fray Luis, Gongora or Quevedo. This poem is a sonnet describing the effect of the poet’s lover’s eyes on him. The intent is to display poetic technique and mastery of imagery, rhythm and rhyme rather than to evoke real emotion or depth of feeling. But Shakespeare also wrote like this sometimes, so why not?

Yo vi unos bellos ojos, que hirieron…

Fernando de Herrera

Yo vi unos bellos ojos, que hirieron
con dulce flecha un corazón cuitado,
y que para encender nuevo cuidado
su fuerza toda contra mí pusieron.

Yo vi que muchas veces prometieron
remedio al mal, que sufro no cansado,
y que cuando esperé vello acabado,
poco mis esperanzas me valieron.

Yo veo que se esconden ya mis ojos
y crece mi dolor y llevo ausente
en el rendido pecho el golpe fiero.

Yo veo ya perderse los despojos
y la membrana de mi bien presente
y en ciego engaño de esperanza muero.

From <http://www.ciudadseva.com/textos/poesia/esp/herrera/yo_vi_unos_bellos_ojos.htm&gt;

The poet is wounded by the beautiful eyes of his lover, as if they were arrows piercing his heart, rendering his hopes for recovery useless. And as his hopes fade, there is nothing left but death, which of course is here equivalent to remaining in love. This is a curious analogy perhaps, as most would consider being in love a desirable state, but it also implies complete loss of control of one’s destiny. A sweet death, perhaps.

The Poetry Dude


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