Amor é um fogo

Luís Vaz de Camões
(1524 - 1580)

Amor é um fogo que arde sem se ver,
é ferida que doi, e não se sente;
é um contentamento descontente,
é dor que desatina sem doer.

É um não querer mais que bem querer;
é um andar solitário entre a gente;
é nunca contentar-se de contente;
é um cuidar que ganha em se perder.

É querer estar preso por vontade;
é servir a quem vence, o vencedor;
é ter com quem nos mata, lealdade.

Mas como causar pode seu favor
nos corações humanos amizade,
se tão contrário a si é o mesmo Amor?

Love is a flame that invisibly burns,
A painful wound devoid of feeling;
A comforting bliss discontent concealing,
A madding hurt that soothing turns.

Love is desire that desire yearns;
A walk in the crowd your heart not revealing;
Mid joy dark thoughts all pleasure stealing;
A loss of oneself that high profit earns.

It’s getting imprisoned of your own will;
Serving the conqueror, while being a victor;
Staying loyal to the one, who will kill

But how with its contrarian specter
Can love deliver an enchanting thrill
To the heart of every human actor?


When the eminent hispanist Pablo (Pavel) Grushko mentioned Quevedo in one of his talks, I decided to learn more about the Spanish classic. By accident, I found a sonnet by Quevedo in a small book of Piropos, artful Argentinian amorous pick up lines and poems, which I bought in Buenos Aires. Several years after I translated it, I also translated this sonnet by Camões. I had a vague feeling that it sounded familiar. I put the two sonnets together and found that many lines matched, subject to the difference between Spanish and Portuguese. The difference in time between the two pieces was at least 60 years. I could not find any references to what happened here. Only when I read both of them at a foreign poetry event at Leslie University, I was told by philology experts that this is a well known at some point practice of “homage” of a younger master to an older one, in this case interlingual.