Sonnet XXVI

I climb collapsing under such great weight
this lofty, steep, and craggy mountainside,
that I scarce reach the summit when I step
on air, and, tumbling, to the base I slide.
All battered by the blows and by the load,
I barely rise, and to my old travails
I must return; but to what end? The ground
itself on my accustomed journey fails.
But, though the danger causes me to swoon,
I don't give up my quest; rather, again
my wearying exertions I repeat.
Fear grows, and in persistence so do I;
and without pause, as wheels must ever turn,
so I once more plunge down to my defeat.

Fernando de Herrera 1534 - 1597
(© Alix Ingber, 1995)

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2012 Selected Poetry
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