Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This review is taken from PN Review 194, Volume 36 Number 6, July - August 2010.

NOW THE PEN AND NOW THE SWORD GARCILASO DE LA VEGA, Selected Poems, a bilingual edition edited and translated by John Dent-Young (University of Chicago Press) £27

Called the Prince of Poets by the leading lights of Spain’s Golden Age – his great admirers included Miguel de Cervantes and the playwright Lope de Vega – Garcilaso de La Vega’s (c. 1501–36) fifty or so poems, twenty of which are translated here in this well-presented and thoughtful edition by John Dent-Young, sing of his passions in clear, fluent and musical forms that five hundred years on still express a freshness and a delight in accomplishment: Si de mi baja lira//tanto pudiese el son, que un momento//aplacase la ira (‘If the sound of my simple//lyre had such power that in one moment//it could calm the anger’).

Garcilaso’s passions are those of the Renaissance courtier; he was instrumental in having Baldassare Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier translated into Spanish. He had a passion for women, of course, Tu dulce habla ¿en cúya oreja suena?//Tus claros ojos ¿a quién los volviste? (‘Your sweet voice now, in whose ears does it sound?//Your bright eyes, on whom now do you turn them?’); a passion for friendship, Entre muy grandes bienes que consigo//el amistad perfecta nos concede,//es aqueste descuido suelto y puro//lejos de la curiosa pesadumbre (‘Not least among the benefits that perfect//friendship confers on us is this relaxed//and unpretentious carelessness, so far//removed from anything contrived or pompous’); for the pastoral, its flowing waters, Y en medio aquesta fuente clara y pura,//que como de cristal resplandecía,//mostrando abiertamente su hondura (‘and in the middle of it all this spring,//so clear and pure, ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image