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 Miscellany. Ázevedo’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.
Manuel Antônio Álvares de Azevedo (1831–52), referred to usually as Álvares de Azevedo, was Brazil’s most famous Romantic poets. Yet because his works have never been translated into English, Azevedo remains largely unknown to most British and American scholars.
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 English, French, 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 ‘Oh, Jesus!’ (Ai Jesus!), is the first time that it has been professionally translated into the English language.
Oh, Jesus! [Ai Jesus!]
Oh, Jesus! canst thou not see that I groan, That I swoon of passion For your blue eyes? That I pale, that I tremble, That my heart expires? Oh, Jesus!
That for one look, maiden, Could I die For the light from your eyes? What death! what a beautiful death! Rather it would be living! Oh Jesus!
That for a lost kiss I would of pleasure die In your snowy naked breasts? That in the ocean of a groan M’soul would drown? Oh Jesus!