Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
La Vida es Sueno
By Lope de Vega (1562–1635)
Translated by Charles Tomlinson

IF we’re conceived in sin and born in pain;
  If life ’s a battle, and death ends the fray,
  And man becomes a clod, to worms a prey,
  After the worms but dust and air remain;
If nothing ’s left, and nothing ’s all his gain,        5
  Beauty a flower, ambition tyrant’s sway,
  Glory and fame but empty thoughts alway,
  And every thought of intellect but vain;—
If but to drown why travel on this sea?
  Why should we pass our lives in endless strife?        10
  Why think of aught but how we may be free?
What use is honour or distinguished life,
  Or fame, when to Oblivion we must flee?
  Why build when Fate stands by with cruel knife?

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