Saturday, May 31, 2014

La Vida es Sueño: "Life A Dream At Best, And Even Dreams Themselves Are Dreams"

Segismundo's Soliloquy
La Vida es SueñoLife Is A Dream
Pedro Calderón de la Barca, 1635
(close of Act II)
The king dreams he is a king,
And in this delusive way
Lives and rules with sovereign sway;
All the cheers that round him ring,
Born of air, on air take wing.
And in ashes (mournful fate!)
Death dissolves his pride and state:
Who would wish a crown to take,
Seeing that he must awake
In the dream beyond death's gate?


'Tis a dream that I in sadness
Here am bound, the scorn of fate;
'Twas a dream that once a state
I enjoyed of light and gladness.
What is life? 'Tis but a madness.
What is life? A thing that seems,
A mirage that falsely gleams,
Phantom joy, delusive rest,
Since is life a dream at best,
And even dreams themselves are dreams.

Life Is A Dream

Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño - a name usually shortened to Pedro Calderón de la Barca
It is seldom noted that Calderón spent the last 30 years of his life as a Catholic priest.

Excerpt:  Calderón's themes tended to be complex and philosophical, and express complicated states of mind in a manner that few playwrights have been able to manage. Like Baltasar Gracián, Calderón favoured only the deepest human feelings and dilemmas.

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