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Drowned Lover

Dearest enemy, so often unkind,

my life was in your hands, until that wave

of the sea deprived you of an earthly grave,

depriving me, as well, of peace of mind.

The selfish drowning waters keep us apart,

enjoying your lovely beauty within the vast

cold sea, but as long as my broken life will last,

you’ll always be alive within my heart.

And if my ragged poems can last for long

enough, your love, so spotless, will persist

forever and ever, as I, on your behalf,

will praise you always with my singing song;

as long as human memories exist,

my poems will be your missing epitaph.

—Luís de Camões (1524/25-1580)

Translated from the Portuguese by William Baer

Image by Wallpaper Flare licensed via Creative Commons. Image cropped.