Love is a fire that burns unseen,
a wound that aches yet isn’t felt,
an always discontent contentment,
a pain that rages without hurting,
a longing for nothing but to long,
a loneliness in the midst of people,
a never feeling pleased when pleased,
a passion that gains when lost in thought.
It’s being enslaved of your own free will;
it’s counting your defeat a victory;
it’s staying loyal to your killer.
But if it’s so self-contradictory,
how can Love, when Love chooses,
bring human hearts into sympathy?
© 1598, Luís Vaz de Camões
Publisher: Almedina, Coímbra, 1994
© Translation: 2006, Richard Zenith
Luís Vaz de Camões; sometimes rendered in English as Camoens; (c. 1524 – June 10, 1580) is considered Portugal’s, and the Portuguese language’s greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, Virgil, and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry (in Portuguese and in Spanish) and drama but is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads). His recollection of poetry The Parnasum of Luís de Camões was lost in his lifetime.