poem 174

[Although in vain, she wishes to convert the sufferings of a jealous man
to a rational process.]

What’s this, Alcino? How could your good sense
allow its own defeat by jealousy,
and show the world, in wild extremes of rage,
this spectacle of one gone mad or worse?
Now how has Celia hurt you, if she grieves?
Again, why do you blame Love of deceit
if he has never promised, for all his power,
lasting possession of such loveliness?
Our possession of temporal things
is temporal, my friend; it is abuse
to wish to guard them always as they were.
Your ignorance or your error I accuse,
because both Fate and Love, of things like these,
have given us not ownership, but use.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

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poem 151

She distrusts, as disguised cruelty,
the solace offered by hope

Oh, malady of Hope, your persistence
sustains the passing of my weary years,
while measuring my wishes and my fears
your balances maintain equivalence;
deceitfully, and with what indolence,
the pans begin to tip, but as change nears
invariably your parity adheres:
despair is counterpoised by confidence.
Still, Murderess is how you must be known,
for Murderess you are, when it is owned
how between a fate of happiness or strife
my soul has hung suspended far too long;
you do not act thus to prolong my life
but, rather, that in life death be prolonged.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

poem 145

[She endeavors to expose the praises recorded in a portrait
of the Poetess by truth, which she calls passion.]

This object which you see — a painted snare
exhibiting the subtleties of art
with clever arguments of tone and hue —
is but a cunning trap to snare your sense;
this object, in which flattery has tried
to overlook the horrors of the years
and, conquering the ravages of time,
to overcome oblivion and age:
this is an empty artifice of care,
a flower, fragile, set out in the wind,
a letter of safe-conduct sent to Fate;
it is a foolish, erring diligence,
a palsied will to please which, clearly seen,
is a corpse, is dust, is shadow, and is gone.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz