Golden Age Spanish Sonnets

About the Poems

My selection of poems is a personal one. While I have tried to include many of the best known sonnets of these poets, I'm sure there are many that do not appear. I have also tried to include some sonnets that are not as well known, particularly satirical sonnets. I hope to be able to keep adding poems to this site --again, as time permits.

The translations:

Any translation involves problems, and the translation of poetry, especially metrical poetry from an era long past, requires that many arbitrary decisions be made. I hope that these translations will be readable as poems in English, and that they will give the reader as accurate a sense as possible of both the content and poetic structure of the originals.

Meter:I have chosen to translate each sonnet into iambic pentameter, because this is the closest one can come in English to the Spanish endecasílabo, and because this was the preferred metrical form for the sonnet in English during the same period.

Rhyme:I have chosen not to retain the rigorous rhyme scheme of the Golden Age sonnet, but rather to use rhyme wherever possible and appropriate -- and always give priority to the content of the original. I also make use of assonance (rima asonante) as well as the more familiar English rhyme (rima consonante).

Language and syntax:Spanish Golden Age sonnets seem more contemporary in their use of language than English sonnets of the same period, though some Golden Age poets seem more "old" than others. I have attempted to retain the flavor of the originals, and have avoided presenting these works as literary "antiquities." I have, however, tried to reproduce some of the extravagant syntactical flourishes that characterize the original sonnets, and hope that where these occur the translations will sound pretty much as "strange" as the originals.

As far as I am concerned, none of the translations is a "final" version, and revisions will continue to be made. Readers are invited to address their comments to me, and any revisions I make based on readers' suggestions will be appropriately (and immediately) documented. I would also welcome comments and suggestions regarding the overall look and scope of this site. All translations are ©Alix Ingber, 1995, except where otherwise indicated.

E-mail submissions, questions, comments and suggestions to:

Alix Ingber
Professor Emerita of Spanish
Sweet Briar College

This site was last updated on January 25, 2012.