Archive for June 10th, 2019

Monday, 10 June 2019

To Her Portrait by Juana Inés de la Cruz

This coloured counterfeit that thou beholdest,
vainglorious with the excellencies of art,
is, in fallacious syllogisms of colour,
nought but a cunning dupery of sense;

this in which flattery has undertaken
to extenuate the hideousness of years,
and, vanquishing the outrages of time,
to triumph o’er oblivion and old age,

is an empty artifice of care,
is a fragile flower in the wind,
is a paltry sanctuary from fate,

is a foolish sorry labour lost,
is conquest doomed to perish and, well taken,
is corpse and dust, shadow and nothingness.


Date: c1685 (original in Spanish); 1965 (translation in English)

By: Juana Inés de la Cruz (1652-1695)

Translated by: Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)