Translation: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Sonnet 186

In my last two years of undergraduate study I had a particular focus on the works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The following is a translation of her Sonnet 186.

Recovering from a grave illness, she tries to be witty with the Vicereine, Marchioness of Mancera, by attributing her recovery from death to Laura’s great love.

In the life that was forever yours,
divine Laura, and which will always be,
Fierce Death, in pursuing me tried
to secure herself a victory over mortal end.

  I admired her audacity:
That in her empire below
she has power, but cannot use it
since you liberate me from her.

  I saw the fatal scissors open
to cut the thread they did not spin.
Ay! Fierce Death! I said:

  careful, only Laura commands here.
Hurriedly, she turned back,
and left me to die only for you.

Convaleciente de una enfermedad grave, discretea con la señora virreina, marquesa de Mancera, atribuyendo a su mucho amor aun su mejoría en morir.

En la vida que siempre tuya fue,
Laura divina, y siempre lo será,
la Parca fiera, que en seguirme da,
quiso asentar por triunfo el mortal pie.

  Yo de su atrevimiento me admiré:
que si debajo de su imperio está,
tener poder no puede en ella ya,
pues del suyo contigo me libré.

  Para cortar el hilo que no hiló,
la tijera mortal abierta vi.
Ay, Parca fiera!, dije entonces yo:

  mira que sola Laura manda aquí
Ella, corrida, al punto se apartó,
y dejóme morir sólo por ti.
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