Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV. 1876–79.

Portugal: Coimbra


By Luís de Camões (c. 1524–1580)

Translated by Mrs. Cockle

SOFT from its crystal bed of rest

Mondego’s tranquil waters glide;

Nor stop, till lost on ocean’s breast,

They, swelling, mingle with the tide,

Increasing still, as still they flow,—

Ah! there commenced my endless woe.

There Beauty showed, with angel mien,

Whate’er is Beauty’s loveliest mould,—

The enchanting smile, the brow serene,

And ivory forehead wreathed with gold;

A countenance which Love’s soft art

Has graven forever on my heart.

Content and glorious with the pain

That shot from Beauty’s radiant eyes,

From day to day I hugged my chain,

And played with life amidst my sighs,

E’en with my fervent war at peace,

Nor bade the dear illusions cease.

Though still those beaming orbs unclose,

For me their fires no longer shine;

Can those avail to soothe my woes,

If these bright beams no more are mine?

For radiant howsoe’er they be,—

Alas! they are not bright for me.

Ah! who might guess of love so deep

I ere the unfathomed end should see,

Or dare to tell that aught would keep

My separated soul from thee?

That lost to hope, alone survives

The cherished joy remembrance gives.

Ah! who might say the glorious thought

Should, in a moment, cease to heave

This breast, with fond endearment fraught;

And hope itself no more deceive?

Yet memory still recalls thy power,

And shall till life’s receding hour.

Yet softly steals to soothe my grief

The thought that cheats me into bliss,

And gives me yet a faint relief

Midst all my bosom’s wretchedness,

That in our happier hours you proved

You ne’er could love as I have loved!

Thus shall the pangs of absence steal

O’er thee, with half thy torturing woe;

But shouldst thou guess the pangs I feel,

Or should thy tear of anguish flow,

That tear would but my woes increase;

In death alone I seek for peace.

Yet whispered to the murmuring stream

That winds these flowery meads among,

I give affection’s cheating dream,

And pour in weeping truth my song

That each recounted woe may prove

A lasting monument of love.