To die to sleep… to sleep… perchance to dream.
(Hamlet, act iii, scene iv)
You are the dream of a God; when you awake
will you return to the womb where you were born?
Will you then be what you were before?
Will your death be a new birth?
Is this dream absent during wakefulness?
Luckily here the mystery assists us;
as a remedy of our sad life
our fate remains an inviolable secret.
Let your future remain hidden under the fog
and walk calmly as you take your last step;
the less light there is, the more certain you can be.
Is our sunset the dawn of another world?
Dream on, my soul, in your obscure path:
” To die to sleep… to sleep… perchance to dream.”
The Immortality of the Crab (Inmortalidad del Cangrejo)*
The deepest problem:
of the immortality of the crab,
is that a soul it has,
a little soul in fact…
That if the crab dies
entirely in its totality
with it we all die
for all of eternity
* The title of the poem is based on the Spanish phrase pensar en la inmortalidad del gangrejo (thinking about the immortality of the crab), which means that someone is daydreaming, is lost in thought, is pondering. There’s a similar phrase in Portuguese: pensar na morte da bezerra.
To Destiny (Al Destino)
When I struggle, calmness overwhelms me
hiding your secrets from me, Destiny;
don’t let me falter in my path, because
without questioning I obey you blindly.
Don’t give me time to complain or beg;
spur me on without stopping,
and, like a sleepless pilgrim, let me
carry with me the fire from my hearth.
I want to win my peace through war;
I want to conquer the impossible dream;
don’t let me rest from trying to shed light
on the enigma within your heart,
and when I return to the bosom of the earth
let me deserve an ever-lasting peace.
Miguel De Unamuno is probably the most important Spanish philosopher, novelist and poet of the 20th century. His most famous works are: The Tragic Sense of Life (1912), Poesias (Poems – 1907), Our Lord Don Quixote (1914), Saint Emmanuel the Good, Martyr (1930), Aunt Tula (1921), Cancionero (Songbook – 1953, published after his death). He was born in Bilbao (1864) and died in Salamanca (1936).