More than Muses

Tell me, Life, what are you good for?

A translation into English of Vida, ¿para qué eres buena?, a quintillas by Leonor de la Cueva y Silva. Translation by Valerie Hegstrom.


Tell me, Life, what are you good for?

Wrapped up in so many evils,

you increase my pain the more

with all the mortal upheavals

that for me fortune has in store.


Life bitter and notorious

and dressed as struggle and strife,

you strike me as so tedious

that I do wish to leave you, Life,

for another more glorious.


Life, by one and all are you loved,

and with a love that’s so profound,

you are so dear and well thought of

that in this world’s temple you’re found

to be the goddess most beloved.


Life, who sad misery supplies,

whose very name stands for caprice

for you possess no stable guise,

at the height of fair weather’s peace,

you deal out clouds and stormy skies.


Life, where contentment is obscure,

in you there’s no hour of pleasure

that’s not full of bad luck, therefore,

I don’t know, with such displeasure,

Tell me, Life, what are you good for?