translated by Roderick Gill

This that you see, the false presentment planned
   With finest art and all the colored shows
   And reasoning of shade, doth but disclose
The poor deceits by earthly senses fanned!
Here where in constant flattery expand
   Excuses for the stains that old age knows,
   Pretexts again the years’ advancing snows,
The footprints of old seasons to withstand;

’Tis but vain artifact of scheming minds;
’Tis but a flower fading on the winds;
   ’Tis but a useless protest against Fate;
’Tis but stupidity without a thought,
   A lifeless shadow, if we meditate;
’Tis dead, ’tis dust, ’tis shadow, yea, ’tis nought

From Hispanic Anthology: Poems Translated from the Spanish by English and North American Poets (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1920) by Thomas Walsh. This poem is in the public domain.