Antonio Machado

A Young Spain

It was a time of lies, of vileness.
They dressed all Spain, wounded Spain, poor
and squalid and drunken, in Carnival dress
so our hand would not find her wound.

It was yesterday; we were still youths:
an evil time, heavy with sad portents
when we wanted to ride a chimera's mane
while the sea slept, glutted with shipwrecks.

We left the sordid galley in port
and chose to set sail in a ship of gold
toward the high sea, without guarding the shore,
launching sails and anchor and helm to the sea.

Even then in the depth of our dream - the heritage
of a century that withdrew defeated, disgraced -
a dawn was trying to enter: the light
of divine ideas struggled with our confusion.

But each of us followed the course of his madness:
limbered his arm, boasted his courage,
set aside his armor like a burnished mirror,
and said, "Today is evil, but tomorrow... is mine!"

And today is that tomorrow. And all Spain,
dressed in her Carnival tinsels, is still ours:
poor and squalid and drunken, but today
with an evil wine: the blood from her wound.

You younger youth: if desire comes to you
from a higher peak, go to your fortune
awake and open to the divine fire:

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