I’m nervous if a post of mine runs longer than a couple of scrolls, so I’m parceling the translation now into one stanza at a time until the end. I realize that I run the risk of confining myself to a vanishingly small audience if the requirement is that visitors must know or care about Spanish. I console myself, however, by reflecting that my including the source text (a common practice) means a passerby may at the very least taste a morsel of good English verse if nothing else. My sense of Yeats’s poem is that each stanza holds up well as a complete idea, so can repay a moment’s attention.
“A Prayer for My Daughter” by W. B. Yeats
(Spanish translation by James Mansfield Nichols)
A Prayer for My Daughter (3)
May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.
Una Oración para mi Hija (3)
Que se le conceda belleza, pero no
La belleza que a un desconocido le perturbe el ojo,
Ni a ella tampoco ante un espejo; porque tales,
Habiendo sido embellecidas sobremanera,
Estiman que la belleza basta en sí,
Pierden la bondad natural, y tal vez
Esa intimidad reveladora del corazón
Que escoge bien, y nunca hallan amigo.
[Copyright (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.]