Friday, May 22, 2009

"To Roosevelt" from Rubén Darío (English Translation)

This is a prose from Nicaraguan poet and writer Rubén Darío directed to Teddy Roosevelt, written not long after the end of the Spanish-American war. If you want to read as it is written in Spanish, log onto El Blog de Gunter .

"To Roosevelt"

"It is with the voice of the Bible, or the verse of Walt Whitman, that would have to come to you, O Hunter!

"Primitive and modern, simple and complicated, with a little something from Washington and four from Nemrod!

"You are the United States,
You are the future invader of the ingenuous America that has Indian blood, that still prays to Jesus Christ and that still speaks Spanish.

"You are a sovereign and a strong example of your race;
you are cultured, you are skillful; you oppose Tolstoy.
And with riding horses or killing tigers, you are an
Alexander-Nebuchadnezzer. (You are a professor of Energy,
so as the nuts of today say.)

"You believe life is a fire (conflagration),
that progress is an eruption;
that where you put your bullet,
is where you hold the future.


"The United States is big and powerful.
When they tremble, there is a deep quake that passes by
the enormous vertebrae of the Andes.
"If you clamor, one can hear the roar of the lion.
"Hugo already told this to Grant: 'The stars are yours.'
"(Hardly shining, rising in revolt, the Argentine sun and
the Chilean star rising up...)
"You are rich.
"You are next to the worship of Hercules, the worship of
Mammon; and enlightening the road of an easy conquest.
"Liberty lifts up her torch in New York.

"But our America, that has poets from the ancient times of
Netzahualcoyotl, that had kept the footprints of the Great
"In one time she learned the panic alphabet,
she consulted the stars, she knew Atlantis,
whose name resounding in Plato came to us, that
since the remote moments of her life live from light,
from fire, from perfume, from love, the America of the
Great Montezuma, the Great Inca, the fragrant America
of Christopher Columbus, Catholic America, Spanish America,
the America in what the noble Cuautémoc said: 'I am not in
a bed of roses'; this America that trembles from hurricanes
and that live from love; of men with eyes of Saxons and
with a barbarous soul lives. A
"And dreams. And loves, and vibrates; and is the child of the
"You be careful. Love live Spanish America! There are a thousand
loose cubs from the Spanish Lion. Roosevelt would need to be by the
very same God; the terrible Rifleman and the strong Hunter,
so he can have us in your iron claws.

"And so, you counted all in all, lacking one thing:

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