Though You’re Descended from the Goths of Old

This poem was written in Spanish by Bartolome de Argensola (1562-1631). It was translated into English by Alan Steinle.

Aunque de godos ínclitos desciendasThough You’re Descended from the Goths of Old
Aunque de godos ínclitos desciendas,Though you’re descended from the Goths of old,
y cuelgues de pirámides gitanasAnd hang upon the pyramids of stone
tus armas, con las águilas romanas,Your coat of arms with Roman eagles sewn,
y despojos de bárbaras contiendas;And from the wars you plunder wealth untold;
aunque a Jove le des ricas ofrendas,Although you offer Jove your gifts of gold,
olores de Asia, plumas mejicanas,Your plumes and incense—things he’s never known,
y arrastres las banderas africanas,And leave the nations’ kingdoms overthrown,
y tu nombre de polo a polo extiendas;And spread your fame so everyone is told;
aunque ciña laurel y oro tus sienes,Although your power governs Fortune’s wheel,
y gobiernes la rueda de Fortuna,And laurels hang upon your head at noon,
y pongas con tu gusto al mundo leyes;And at your will, the world obeys your laws;
aunque pises la frente de la luna,Although you tread the forehead of the moon,
y huelles la corona de los reyes,And trample down the crowns of wealthy shahs,
si la virtud te falta nada tienes.If you lack virtue, you have nothing real.

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