More than Muses

To an Accident That a Lady Had

A translation into English of A un accidente que le dio a una señora, a décima by María Egual. Translation by Austin Turgoose.

Translator's note: This poem presents some unique difficulties for the translator, one of the most prominent being the treatment of Filis’s suitors in the poem. The original Spanish manages to subtly tie the men to verbs and adjectives rather than move them to the narrative foreground. English is not nearly as capable of such ambiguity, and it was necessary to bring the men to the forefront by writing them more explicitly into the poem. All the while efforts were made to preserve the poem’s natural rhyme and meter in English, for which some creative license was taken in order to serve the poem’s intended meaning while maintaining the poetic form.


Affliction, insolent and coarse,

decided to so bravely dare

to make the fair Filis despair

from pain intense without remorse.

And it struck her with such a force,

the maiden could not leave unsaid

a gasp of pain and forthwith shed

a pair of precious pearly tears,

her linen making all men near

covet to wipe her tears instead.