THE MYSTICAL POEMS OF ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS

St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church

A painting attributed to Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664)

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

 

The Dark Night

Songs of the soul, which rejoices at having reached that lofty state of perfection: union with God by way of spiritual negation

Note: St. John of the Cross wrote two book-length commentaries to explain the meaning of this poem stanza by stanza. These are The Dark Night of the Soul and The Ascent of Mount Carmel. Both books were left unfinished, but are considered among the masterpieces of Catholic mystical theology.  A copyrighted but free pdf of the books are available for download from Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Links: Dark Night  and Ascent.

Noche Oscura

 

En una noche oscura,
con ansias, en amores inflamada,
¡oh dichosa ventura!,
salí sin ser notada
estando ya mi casa sosegada.

A oscuras y segura,
por la secreta escala, disfrazada,
¡oh dichosa ventura!,
a oscuras y en celada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada.

En la noche dichosa,
en secreto, que nadie me veía,
ni yo miraba cosa,
sin otra luz y guía
sino la que en el corazón ardía.

Aquésta me guiaba
más cierto que la luz de mediodía,
adonde me esperaba
quien yo bien me sabía,
en parte donde nadie parecía.

¡Oh noche que guiaste!
¡oh noche amable más que el alborada!
¡oh noche que juntaste
Amado con amada,
amada en el Amado transformada!

En mi pecho florido,
que entero para él solo se guardaba,
allí quedó dormido,
y yo le regalaba,
y el ventalle de cedros aire daba.

El aire de la almena,
cuando yo sus cabellos esparcía,
con su mano serena
en mi cuello hería
y todos mis sentidos suspendía.

Quedéme y olvidéme,
el rostro recliné sobre el Amado,
cesó todo y dejéme,
dejando mi cuidado
entre las azucenas olvidado.

Source: Clerus.org

The Dark Night

 

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings
--oh, happy chance!--
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised
--oh, happy chance!--
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.

In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide,
save that which burned in my heart.

This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he
(well I knew who!) was awaiting me
-- A place where none appeared.

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined
Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping,
and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand
He wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.

I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.

Source:  Dark Night of the Soul, pp. 13-14.

Translated by E. Allison Peers. Free pdf download from carmelitemonks.org. Text reformatted to match Spanish original on the left.

 

Spiritual Canticle

Songs between the soul and the Bridegroom

Cantico Espiritual B (Segunda Redaccion)

I

ESPOSA


¿Adónde te escondiste,
Amado, y me dejaste con gemido?
Como el ciervo huiste,
habiéndome herido;
salí tras ti clamando, y eras ido.

II

Pastores, los que fuerdes
allá por las majadas al otero,
si por ventura vierdes
aquel que yo más quiero,
decidle que adolezco, peno y muero.
III
Buscando mis amores,
iré por esos montes y riberas;
ni cogeré las flores,
ni temeré las fieras,
y pasaré los fuertes y fronteras.
IV
¡Oh bosques y espesuras,
plantadas por la mano del Amado!
¡Oh prado de verduras,
de flores esmaltado!
Decid si por vosotros ha pasado.

 

 

V
Mil gracias derramando
pasó por estos sotos con presura,
y, yéndolos mirando, con sola su figura
vestidos los dejó de hermosura.


VI

ESPOSA

 

¡Ay, quién podrá sanarme!
Acaba de entregarte ya de vero;
no quieras enviarme
de hoy más ya mensajero,
que no saben decirme lo que quiero.
VII
Y todos cuantos vagan
de ti me van mil gracias refiriendo,
y todos más me llagan,
y déjame muriendo
un no sé qué que quedan balbuciendo.
VIII
Mas ¿cómo perseveras, ¡oh vida!,
no viviendo donde vives,
y haciendo porque mueras
las flechas que recibes
de lo que del Amado en ti concibes?
IX
¿Por qué, pues has llagado
aqueste corazón, no le sanaste?
Y, pues me le has robado,
¿por qué así le dejaste,
y no tomas el robo que robaste?
X
Apaga mis enojos,
pues que ninguno basta a deshacellos,
y véante mis ojos,
pues eres lumbre dellos,
y sólo para ti quiero tenellos.
XI
Descubre tu presencia,
y máteme tu vista y hermosura;
mira que la dolencia de amor,
que no se cura
sino con la presencia y la figura.
XII
¡Oh cristalina fuente,
si en esos tus semblantes plateados
formases de repente
los ojos deseados
que tengo en mis entrañas dibujados!

XIII
¡Apártalos, Amado,

que voy de vuelo!.

ESPOSO


Vuélvete, paloma,
que el ciervo vulnerado
por el otero asoma
al aire de tu vuelo, y fresco toma.
XIV
ESPOSA


Mi Amado, las montañas,
los valles solitarios nemorosos,
las ínsulas extrañas,
los ríos sonorosos,
el silbo de los aires amorosos,
XV
La noche sosegada
en par de los levantes del aurora,
la música callada,
la soledad sonora,
la cena que recrea y enamora.
XVI
Cazadnos las raposas,
que está ya florecida nuestra viña,
en tanto que de rosas
hacemos una piña,
y no parezca nadie en la montiña.
XVII
Detente, cierzo muerto;
ven, austro, que recuerdas los amores,
aspira por mi huerto,
y corran sus olores
y pacerá el Amado entre las flores.
XVIII
¡Oh ninfas de Judea!,
en tanto que en las flores y rosales
el ámbar perfumea,
morá en los arrabales,
y no queráis tocar nuestros umbrales.
XIX
Escóndete, Carillo,
y mira con tu haz a las montañas,
y no quieras decillo;
mas mira las compañas
de la que va por ínsulas extrañas.
XX
ESPOSO


A las aves ligeras,
leones, ciervos, gamos saltadores,
montes, valles, riberas,
aguas, aires, ardores
y miedos de las noches veladores.

XXI

Por las amenas liras
y canto de sirenas os conjuro
que cesen vuestras iras,
y no toquéis al muro,
porque la Esposa duerma más seguro.
XXII
Entrado se ha la Esposa
en el ameno huerto deseado,
y a su sabor reposa
el cuello reclinado
sobre los dulces brazos del Amado.
XXIII
Debajo del manzano,
allí conmigo fuiste desposada,
allí te di la mano,
y fuiste reparada
donde tu madre fuera violada.
XXIV
ESPOSA


Nuestro lecho florido,
de cuevas de leones enlazado
EN púrpura tendido,
de paz edificado,
de mil escudos de oro coronado.
XXV
A zaga de tu huella
las jóvenes discurren al camino,
al toque de centella,
al adobado vino,
emisiones de bálsamo divino.
XXVI
En la interior bodega
de mi Amado bebí,
y cuando salía por toda aquesta vega,
ya cosa no sabía;
y el ganado perdí que antes seguía.
XXVII
Allí me dio su pecho,
allí me enseñó ciencia muy sabrosa,
y yo le di de hecho
a mí sin dejar cosa;
allí le prometí de ser su Esposa.
XXVIII
Mi alma se ha empleado,
y todo mi caudal, en su servicio;
ya no guardo ganado,
ni ya tengo otro oficio,
que ya sólo en amar es mi ejercicio.
XXIX
Pues ya si en el ejido
de hoy más no fuere vista ni hallada,
diréis que me he perdido;
que, andando enamorada,
me hice perdidiza, y fui ganada.
XXX
De flores y esmeraldas,
en las frescas mañanas escogidas,
haremos las guinaldas
en tu amor florecidas
y en un cabello mío entretejidas.
XXXI
En solo aquel cabello
que en mi cuello volar consideraste,
mirástele en mi cuello,
y en él preso quedaste,
y en uno de mis ojos te llagaste.
XXXII
Cuando tú me mirabas,
su gracia en mí tus ojos imprimían;
por eso me adamabas,
y en eso me decían
los míos adorar lo que en ti vían.
XXXIII
No quieras despreciarme
que, si color moreno en mí hallaste,
ya bien puedes mirarme
después que me miraste, que
gracia y hermosura en mí dejaste.
XXXIV
ESPOSO


La blanca palomica
al arca con el ramo se ha tornado;
y ya la tortolica
al socio deseado
en las riberas verdes ha hallado.
XXXV
En soledad vivía,
y en soledad ha puesto ya su nido;
y en soledad la guía
a solas su querido,
también en soledad de amor herido.
XXXVI
ESPOSA


Gocémonos, Amado,
y vámonos a ver en tu hermosura
al monte y al collado,
do mana el agua pura;
entremos más adentro en la espesura.
XXXVII
Y luego a las subidas
cavernas de la piedra nos iremos,
que están bien escondidas,
y allí nos entraremos,
y el mosto de granadas gustaremos.
XXXVIII
Allí me mostrarías
aquello que mi alma pretendía,
y luego me darías
allí, tú, vida mía,
aquello que me diste el otro día:
XXXIX
El aspirar del aire,
el canto de la dulce filomena,
el soto y su donaire,
en la noche serena,
con llama que consume y no da pena
XL
Que nadie lo miraba,
Aminadab tampoco parecía,
y el cerco sosegaba,
y la caballería
a vista de las aguas descendía.

Source: Clerus.org

Note: Numbering changed to Roman Numerals to match the English translation.

 

Spiritual Canticle B (Second Redaction)

I

THE BRIDE

 

Where have You hidden Yourself,

And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved?

You have fled like the hart,

Having wounded me.

I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.

II

O shepherds, you who go

Through the sheepcots up the hill,

If you shall see Him

Whom I love the most,

Tell Him I languish, suffer, and die.

III

In search of my Love

I will go over mountains and strands;

I will gather no flowers,

I will fear no wild beasts;

And pass by the mighty and the frontiers.

IV

O groves and thickets

Planted by the hand of the Beloved;

O verdant meads

Enameled with flowers,

Tell me, has He passed by you?

V

ANSWER OF THE CREATURES

 

A thousand graces diffusing

He passed through the groves in haste,

And merely regarding them

As He passed

Clothed them with His beauty.

VI

THE BRIDE

 

Oh! who can heal me?

Give me at once Yourself,

Send me no more

A messenger

Who cannot tell me what I wish.

VII

All they who serve are telling me

Of Your unnumbered graces;

And all wound me more and more,

And something leaves me dying,

I know not what, of which they are darkly speaking.

VIII

But how you persevere, O life,

Not living where you live;

The arrows bring death

Which you receive

From your conceptions of the Beloved.

IX

Why, after wounding

This heart, have You not healed it?

And why, after stealing it,

Have You thus abandoned it,

And not carried away the stolen prey?

X

Quench my troubles,

For no one else can soothe them;

And let my eyes behold You,

For You are their light,

And I will keep them for You alone.

XI

Reveal Your presence,

And let the vision and Your beauty kill me,

Behold the malady

Of love is incurable

Except in Your presence and before Your face.

XII

O crystal well!

Oh that on Your silvered surface

You would mirror forth at once

Those eyes desired

Which are outlined in my heart!

XIII

Turn them away, O my Beloved!

I am on the wing:

THE BRIDEGROOM

Return, My Dove!

The wounded hart

Looms on the hill

In the air of your flight and is refreshed.

XIV

BRIDE

My Beloved is the mountains,

The solitary wooded valleys,

The strange islands,

The roaring torrents,

The whisper of the amorous gales;

XV

The tranquil night

At the approaches of the dawn,

The silent music,

The murmuring solitude,

The supper which revives, and enkindles love.

XVI

Catch us the foxes,

For our vineyard has flourished;

While of roses

We make a nosegay,

And let no one appear on the hill.

XVII

O killing north wind, cease!

Come, south wind, that awakens love!

Blow through my garden,

And let its odors flow,

And the Beloved shall feed among the flowers.

XVIII

O nymphs of Judea!

While amid the flowers and the rose-trees

The amber sends forth its perfume,

Tarry in the suburbs,

And touch not our thresholds.

XIX

Hide yourself, O my Beloved!

Turn Your face to the mountains,

Do not speak,

But regard the companions

Of her who is traveling amidst strange islands.

XX

THE BRIDEGROOM

Light-winged birds,

Lions, fawns, bounding does,

Mountains, valleys, strands,

Waters, winds, heat,

And the terrors that keep watch by night;

XXI

By the soft lyres

And the siren strains, I adjure you,

Let your fury cease,

And touch not the wall,

That the bride may sleep in greater security.

XXII

The bride has entered

The pleasant and desirable garden,

And there reposes to her heart’s content;

Her neck reclining

On the sweet arms of the Beloved.

XXIII

Beneath the apple-tree

There were you betrothed;

There I gave you My hand,

And you were redeemed

Where your mother was corrupted.

XXIV

THE BRIDE

Our bed is of flowers

By dens of lions encompassed,

Hung with purple,

Made in peace,

And crowned with a thousand shields of gold.

XXV

In Your footsteps

The young ones run Your way;

At the touch of the fire

And by the spiced wine,

The divine balsam flows.

XXVI

In the inner cellar

Of my Beloved have I drunk; and when I went forth

Over all the plain

I knew nothing,

And lost the flock I followed before.

XXVII

There He gave me His breasts,

There He taught me the science full of sweetness.

And there I gave to Him

Myself without reserve;

There I promised to be His bride.

XXVIII

My soul is occupied,

And all my substance in His service;

Now I guard no flock,

Nor have I any other employment:

My sole occupation is love.

XXIX

If, then, on the common land

I am no longer seen or found,

You will say that I am lost;

That, being enamored,

I lost myself; and yet was found.

XXX

Of emeralds, and of flowers

In the early morning gathered,

We will make the garlands,

Flowering in Your love,

And bound together with one hair of my head.

XXXI

By that one hair

You have observed fluttering on my neck,

And on my neck regarded,

You were captivated;

And wounded by one of my eyes.

XXXII

When You regarded me,

Your eyes imprinted in me Your grace:

For this You loved me again,

And thereby my eyes merited

To adore what in You they saw

XXXIII

Despise me not,

For if I was swarthy once

You can regard me now;

Since You have regarded me,

Grace and beauty have You given me.

XXXIV

THE BRIDEGROOM

The little white dove

Has returned to the ark with the bough;

And now the turtle-dove

Its desired mate

On the green banks has found.

XXXV

In solitude she lived,

And in solitude built her nest;

And in solitude, alone

Has the Beloved guided her,

In solitude also wounded with love.

XXXVI

THE BRIDE

Let us rejoice, O my Beloved!

Let us go forth to see ourselves in Your beauty,

To the mountain and the hill,

Where the pure water flows:

Let us enter into the heart of the thicket.

XXXVII

We shall go at once

To the deep caverns of the rock

Which are all secret,

There we shall enter in

And taste of the new wine of the pomegranate.

XXXVIII

There you will show me

That which my soul desired;

And there You will give at once,

O You, my life!

That which You gave me the other day.

XXXIX

The breathing of the air,

The song of the sweet nightingale,

The grove and its beauty

In the serene night,

With the flame that consumes, and gives no pains.

XL

None saw it;

Neither did Aminadab appear

The siege was intermitted,

And the cavalry dismounted

At the sight of the waters.

Source: Spiritual Canticle

Original translation by David Lewis, with corrections by Benedict Zimmerman, OCD (dated 1909), and modernization of English by Harry Platinga (1995).  The electronic text is placed in the public domain by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. 

 

The Living Flame of Love

Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God.

Llama de amor viva B

 

¡Oh llama de amor viva,
que tiernamente hieres
de mi alma en el más profundo centro!
Pues ya no eres esquiva,
acaba ya, si quieres;
¡rompe la tela de este dulce encuentro!

¡Oh cauterio suave!
¡Oh regalada llaga!
¡Oh mano blanda! ¡Oh toque delicado,
que a vida eterna sabe,
y toda deuda paga!
Matando, muerte en vida la has trocado.

¡Oh lámparas de fuego,
en cuyos resplandores
las profundas cavernas del sentido,
que estaba oscuro y ciego,
con extraños primores
calor y luz dan junto a su querido!

¡Cuán manso y amoroso
recuerdas en mi seno,
donde secretamente solo moras,
y en tu aspirar sabroso,
de bien y gloria lleno,
cuán delicadamente me enamoras!

Source: Clerus.org

The Living Flame of Love B (Second Redaction)

 

O Living Flame of Love,

That woundest tenderly

My soul in its inmost depth!

As thou art no longer grievous,

Perfect thy work, if it be thy will,

Break the web of this sweet encounter.

 

O sweet burn!

O delicious wound!

O tender hand! O gentle touch!

Savouring of everlasting life,

And paying the whole debt,

By slaying Thou hast changed death into life.

 

O lamps of fire,

In the splendours of which

The deep caverns of sense,

Dim and dark,

With unwonted brightness

Give light and warmth together to their Beloved 

 

How gently and how lovingly

Thou wakest in my bosom,

Where alone Thou secretly dwellest ;

And in Thy sweet breathing

Full of grace and glory,

How tenderly Thou fillest me with Thy love.

Source: The book, The Living Flame of Love, pp. 3-4. Translated by David Lewis, dated 1912. Free download from Archive.org.

 

Ecstasy of High Contemplation

Verses about the ecstasy experienced in high contemplation.

Éxtasis de Alta Contemplación

 

Entréme donde no supe,
y quédeme no sabiendo,
toda sciencia trascendiendo.

 

Yo no supe donde entraba,
pero, cuando allí me vi,
sin saber donde me estaba,
grandes cosas entendí;
no diré lo que sentí
que me quede no sabiendo,
toda sciencia trascendiendo.


De paz y de piedad
era la sciencia perfecta,
en profunda soledad,
entendida vía recta;
era cosa tan secreta,
que me quedé balbuciendo,
toda sciencia trascendiendo.


Estaba tan embebido,
tan absorto y ajenado
que se quedó mi sentido
de todo sentir privado;
y el espíritu dotado
de un entender no entendiendo.
toda sciencia trascendiendo.


El que allí llega de vero,
de sí mismo desfallesce;
cuanto sabía primero
mucho bajo le paresce;
y su sciencia tanto cresce,
que se quede no sabiendo,
y toda sciencia trascendiendo.


Cuanto más alto se sube,
tanto menos entendía
que es la tenebrosa nube
que a la noche esclarecía;
por eso quien la sabía
queda siempre no sabiendo,
toda sciencia trascendiendo.


Este saber no sabiendo
es de tan alto poder,
que los sabios arguyendo
jamás le pueden vencer:
que no llega su saber
a no entender entendiendo,
toda sciencia trascendiendo.


Y es de tan alta excelencia
aqueste sumo saber,
que no hay facultad ni sciencia
que le puedan emprender;
quien se supiere vencer
con un no saber sabiendo,
irá siempre trascendiendo.


Y, si lo queréis oír,
consiste esta suma sciencia
en un subido sentir
de la divinal Esencia:
es obra de su clemencia
hacer quedar no entendiendo,
toda sciencia trascendiendo.

Source: Torre de Babel Ediciones

Ecstasy of High Contemplation

I entered, but I knew not where,

And there I stood knowing nothing,

Transcending all knowledge.

I

I knew not where I entered,

For, when I stood within,

Not knowing where I was,

I heard great things.

What I heard I will not tell:

I was there as one who knew not,

Transcending all knowledge.

II

Of peace and devotion

The knowledge was perfect,

In solitude profound;

The right way was clear,

But so secret was it,

That I stood babbling,

Transcending all knowledge.

III

I stood enraptured

In ecstasy, beside myself,

And in my every sense

No sense remained.

My spirit was endowed

With understanding, understanding nothing,

Transcending all knowledge.

V

He who really ascends so high

Annihilates himself,

And all his previous knowledge

Seems ever less and less;

His knowledge so increases

That he knows nothing,

Transcending all knowledge.

IV

The higher I ascended

The less I understood.

It is the dark cloud

Illumining the night.

Therefore, he who understands,

Knows nothing ever

Transcending all knowledge.

VI

This knowing that knows nothing

Is so potent in its might

That the prudent in their reasoning

Never can defeat it;

For their wisdom never reaches

To the understanding that understands nothing,

Transcending all knowledge.

VII

This sovereign wisdom

Is of an excellence so high

That no faculty nor science

Can ever unto it attain.

He who shall overcome himself

By the knowledge which knows nothing,

Will always be transcending all knowledge.

VIII

And if you would listen;

This sovereign wisdom does consist

In a sense profound

Of the essence of God:

It is an act of His compassion,

To leave us, understanding nothing,

Transcending all knowledge.

Source:  The book, The Living Flame of Love, in the Chapter on "Poems", pp. 267-268, entitled "Ecstasy of Contemplation." Translated by David Lewis, dated 1912. Free download from Archive.org.

 

Note: Since this translation is now in the public domain, the following changes have been made:

1. Italics were added to match the Spanish version on the left.

2. Paragraph V is placed ahead of paragraph IV to match the Spanish version on the left.

3. The phrase "All science transcending" is changed to "transcending all knowledge" for clarity.

4. Other minor changes to modernize the English and improve clarity have been made. These include using "nothing" for "nought," "understands" for "understandeth", etc.

 

Longing to See God

Verses of the soul that longs to see God.

Coplas del Alma que Pena por Ver a Dios

Vivo sin vivir en mi,
y de tal manera espero,
que muero porque no muero.

 

En mí yo no vivo ya,
y sin Dios vivir no puedo;
pues sin él y sin mí quedo,
este vivir, ¿qué será?
Mil muertes se me hará,
pues mi misma vida espero,
muriendo porque no muero.


Esta vida que yo vivo
es privación de vivir;
y así, es continuo morir
hasta que viva contigo;
oye, mi Dios, lo que digo
que esta vida no la quiero;
que muero porque no muero.


Estando absente de ti,
¿Qué vida puedo tener,
sino muerte padescer,
la mayor nunca vi?
Lastima tengo de mí,
pues de suerte persevero,
que muero porque no muero.


El pez que del agua sale,
aun de alivio no caresce,
que en la muerte que padesce,
al fin la muerte le vale;
¿qué muerte habrá que se iguale
a mi vivir lastimero,
pues sin más vivo más muero?


Cuando me pienso aliviar
de verte en el Sacramento,
háceme más sentimiento
el no te poder gozar;
todo es para más penar,
por no verte como quiero,
y muero porque no muero.


Y si me gozo, Señor,
con esperanza de verte,
en ver que puedo perderte
se me dobla mi dolor:
viviendo en tanto pavor,
y esperando como espero,
muérome porque no muero.


Sácame de aquesta muerte,
mi Dios y dame la vida;
no me tengas impedida
en este lazo tan fuerte;
mira que peno por verte,
y mi mal es tan entero,
que muero porque no muero.

 

Lloraré mi muerte ya
y lamentaré mi vida,
en tanto que detenida 
por mis pecados está.
¡Oh, mi Dios!, ¿cuándo será
cuando yo diga de vero:
vivo ya porque no muero?

Source: Torre de Babel Ediciones

Ecstasy of High Contemplation

I live, and yet not I,

In a manner hoping

That I am dying because I do not die.

I

I am not now living in myself,

And without God I cannot live;

For without Him, I am also without myself.

This life of mine, what is it?

A thousand deaths to me;

For I am waiting for my very life,

Dying because I do not die.

II

This life that I am living

Is a lifeless life.

And so a death continuing,

Until I come to live with Thee.

God, hear Thou my cry!

This life of mine I will it not;

1 die because I do not die.

III

When I am away from Thee,

What is my life to me?

The agony of death.

None greater have I ever seen.

O, wretched that I am!

For while I am living on

I die because I do not die.

IV

The fish that from the water leaps

Is not without relief;

The death that it endures

Does end in death at last.

What death can ever equal

My misery of life?

For I, the more I live, the more I die.

V

When I see Thee in the Sacrament

And begin to be relieved,

The absence of fruition

Creates a deeper pang;

All brings greater pain,

And the pain is so bitter

That I am dying because I do not die.

VI

And if, O Lord, I have a joy

In the hope of seeing Thee;

My sorrow is increased,

Because I fear to lose Thee.

Living in dread so great

And hoping as I hope,

I die, because I do not die.

VII

From this death deliver me,

O God, and give me life,

Nor let these fetters hold me;

They are so strong:

Behold, I die to see Thee,

And in a manner hoping

That I am dying, because I do not die.

VIII

My death I will bewail then,

And lament my life

By reason of my sins

Still here prolonged.

my God, when shall I be there

Where I may truly say,

1 live at last because I do not die?

Source:  The book, The Living Flame of Love, in the Chapter on "Poems", pp. 264-266, entitled "A Soul Longing for a Vision of God." Translated by David Lewis, dated 1912. Free download from Archive.org.

 

Note: Since this translation is now in the public domain, the following changes have been made:

1. Italics were added to match the Spanish version on the left.

2. The phrase "I am not dead" is changed to "I do not die" to be consistent with the present tense of the Spanish original. E. Allison Peers and Kieran Kavanaugh have done the same in their translations.

3. For clarity the word "leapeth" in stanza IV is changed to "leaps."

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