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Selected Poems of Garcilaso de la Vega

A Bilingual Edition

Edited and Translated by John Dent-Young

Garcilaso de la Vega (ca. 1501–36), a Castilian nobleman and soldier at the court of Charles V, lived a short but glamorous life. As the first poet to make the Italian Renaissance lyric style at home in Spanish, he is credited with beginning the golden age of Spanish poetry. Known for his sonnets and pastorals, gracefully depicting beauty and love while soberly accepting their passing, he is shown here also as a calm student of love’s psychology and a critic of the savagery of war.

This bilingual volume is the first in nearly two hundred years to fully represent Garcilaso for an Anglophone readership. In facing-page translations that capture the music and skill of Garcilaso’s verse, John-Dent Young presents the sonnets, songs, elegies, and eclogues that came to influence generations of poets, including San Juan de la Cruz, Luis de Leon, Cervantes, and Góngora. The Selected Poems of Garcilaso de la Vega will help to explain to the English-speaking public this poet’s preeminence in the pantheon of Spanish letters.

248 pages | 5 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2009

Literature and Literary Criticism: Romance Languages



“John Dent-Young has done something that I did not think possible: he has successfully rendered Garcilaso’s verse in English in ways that capture its rhythm and grace, while at the same time conveying its sense with all the directness and elusiveness of the original. This edition stands to become the point of entry into the work of this classic Spanish poet for readers of English.”

Ricardo Padrón, University of Virginia

“Dent-Young reveals Garcilaso’s lyrics as an imaginative meeting-place, where the poet’s intensity of sentiment encounters the sweep of his philosophy and his erudition. English-speaking readers can here immerse themselves in the mind of one of Spain’s outstanding poetic talents. These accomplished translations make Garcilaso’s Renaissance literary art shine.”

Josiah Blackmore, University of Toronto

“Dent-Young captures clearly and precisely the difficult simplicity of this most foundational of Spanish poets. His authoritative translation renders Garcilaso’s changing moods and contrasting images in all their delicate gravity. This volume provides long overdue access to a marvelously supple, skeptical, resolute poet.”

William J. Kennedy, Cornell University

Table of Contents





I                       Cuando me paro a contemplar mi estado::

When I stop to view my situation . . .

V                     Escrito está en mi alma vuestro gesto::

                        Your countenance is written in my soul . . .

X                     ¡Oh dulces prendas, por mi mal halladas::

O sweet mementoes, unfortunately found . . .

XI                    Hermosas ninfas, que en el río metidas::

Slender nymphs who dwell within the river . . .

XIII                  A Dafne ya los brazos le crecían::

Daphne’s arms were growing . . .

XVII                Pensando que el camino iba derecho::

                        Thinking that the road I took was straight . . .

XXIII               En tanto que de rosa y azucena::

While colors of the lily and the rose . . .

XXV                ¡Oh hado esecutivo en mis dolores::

O fate, so active to promote my troubles . . .

XXX                Sospechas, que en mi triste fantasía::

Suspicion, how you occupy my sad . . .

XXXII             Estoy contino en lágrimas bañado::

                        I am continually half drowned in tears . . .

XXXIII            Mario, el ingrato amor, como testigo::

Mario, Love the ingrate having observed . . .

XXXV             Boscán, las armas y el furor de Marte::

Arms, Boscán, and the fury of rampant Mars . . .

XXXVII           Mi lengua va por do el dolor la guía::

                        My tongue simply follows where pain leads . . .



III                    Con un manso ruido::

With the gentle lapping . . .

V                     Si de mi baja lira::

If the sound of my simple . . .



I                       Aunque este grave caso haya tocado::

Although this dread event has touched my soul . . .

II                      Aquí, Boscán, donde del buen troyano::

Here, Boscán, where the great Mantuan locates . . .

Epistle              Señor Boscán, quien tanto gusto tiene::

Señor Boscán, for one who takes such pleasure . . .



I                       El dulce lamenter de dos pastores::

Of two shepherds’ melodious laments . . .

from II             En medio del invierno está templada::

Even in the depths of winter, the water . . .

III                    Aquella voluntad honesta y pura::

That pure and honorable sense of duty . . .

Appendix A: Two Coplas

Appendix B: Letter (as a prologue to Boscán’s translation of Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier)


Selected Bibliography

Index of Titles and First Lines


American Literary Translators Association: National Translation Award

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