Álvares de Azevedo’s “Love” | Luiz Guerra (Trans.)

Luiz Guerra is a Brazilian historian, researcher of medievalisms, and free-lance translator. His previous works include the first Portuguese edition of The Inheritance of Rome, by Chris Wickham. One of Luiz’s current freelance translation projects is translating the works of the Brazilian Romantic poet and writer Álvares de Azevedo into English exclusively for Reynolds’s News and MiscellanyÁzevedo’s works have never been translated into English before but will be of interest to all Romantic literature scholars and those interested in poetry more generally.

Leandro Machado’s translations of Azevedo’s poems can also be found on this website: ‘Memory of Dying’ [Lembrança de Morrer] and ‘Epitaph‘ [Epitafio].

Manuel Antônio Álvares de Azevedo (1831–52), referred to usually as Álvares de Azevedo, was Brazil’s most famous Romantic poet. Yet because his works have never been translated into English, Azevedo remains largely unknown to most British and American scholars.

Modern edition of Azevedo’s Lira Dos Vinte Anos

The son of Manuel de Azevedo and Maria Luísa Azevedo, a wealthy couple living in São Paulo in 1831 and who moved to Rio de Janeiro two years later, in 1844 Álvares began attending the Colégio Pedro II. It was here that Álvares learned to read EnglishFrench, and German, became acquainted with the works of European Romantic poets and novelists. He was particularly drawn to the works of Lord Byron, Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Chateaubriand, Percy Shelley, Goethe, and Thomas Chatterton.

Luiz Guerra’s translation of the following poem, titled ‘Love’ (Amor), is the first time that it has been professionally translated into the English language.

Álvares de Azevedo (Public Domain)

Love [Amor]

When death is so beautiful,

It is sweet to die.

V. HUGO[1]

Let’s love! I want of love

To live in your heart!

Suffer and love this pain

That faints with passion!

In th’soul, in thy charms

And in thy pallor

And in thy burning tears

Sigh with languor![2]

I want on thy lips to drink

Thy loves from heaven!

I want in thy bosom to die

In the rapture of thy bosom!

I want to live in hope!

I want to shiver and feel!

In thy fragrant braid

I want to dream and sleep![3]

Come, angel, my maiden,

My soul, my heart…

What a night! what beautiful night!

How sweet is the breeze!

And between the sighs of the wind,

From the night to the soft freshness,

I want to live one moment,

To die with you of love![4]


[1] Quand la mort est si belle, Il est doux de mourir.

[2] Amemos! quero de amor
Viver no teu coração!
Sofrer e amar essa dor
Que desmaia de paixão!
Na tu’alma, em teus encantos
E na tua palidez
E nos teus ardentes prantos
Suspirar de languidez!

[3] Quero em teus lábios beber

Os teus amores do céu!

Quero em teu seio morrer

No enlevo do seio teu!

Quero viver d’esperança!

Quero tremer e sentir!

Na tua cheirosa trança

Quero sonhar e dormir!

[4] Vem, anjo, minha donzela,

Minh’alma, meu coração…

Que noite! que noite bela!

Como é doce a viração!

E entre os suspiros do vento,

Da noite ao mole frescor,

Quero viver um momento,

Morrer contigo de amor!