The Brief Year Of Mortal Life


Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas

The brief year of mortal life

takes everything with it, mocking the dash,

the brave steel, the cold marble

which pits its hardness against time.

Before the foot learns to walk, it travels

the road of death, upon which I am sending

my obscure life: a poor and muddy river

that the black sea swallows with its high waves.

Every short moment is a long step

which I take, to my regret, on this journey,

since, standing or sleeping I always spur on.

Brief breath, and final, and bitter,

is death, unavoidable heritage;

but if it is the law and not punishment, why do I complain?

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