Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer’s “Seeing the hours of my fever”

This is a sad poem by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870), written when he was sick and dying, wondering if any woman would love him as he slips further into sickness and if anyone would remember him after he dies. He fell into his final sleep after only 34 years on earth, impoverished and diseased.


My Translation

Rhyme 61

Seeing the hours of my fever
and the slow sleepless passing,
on the side of my bed,
Who will be seated?

When the trembling hand
hangs out soon to wither,
looking for a female hand,
Who will take it?

When death glazes
in my glassy eyes,
my eyelids open still,
Who will close them?

When the bell sounds
(if sounds it at my funeral)
her prayer to hear,
Who will whisper it?

When my pale remains
press the earth already
at the forgotten grave,
Who will come to cry?

Who, in short, on another day,
when the sun comes shining,
and I’ve passed through the world,
who will remember it?

Original Spanish

Rima LXI

Al ver mis horas de fiebre
e insomnio lentas pasar,
a la orilla de mi lecho,
¿quién se sentará?

Cuando la trémula mano
tienda próximo a expirar,
buscando una mano amiga,
¿quién la estrechará?

Cuando la muerte vidríe
de mis ojos el cristal,
mis párpados aún abiertos,
¿quién los cerrará?

Cuando la campana suene
(si suena en mi funeral),
una oración al oírla,
¿quién murmurará?

Cuando mis pálidos restos
oprima la tierra ya,
sobre la olvidada fosa
¿quién vendrá a llorar?

¿Quién, en fin, al otro día,
cuando el sol vuelva a brillar,
de que pasé por el mundo,
quién se acordará?

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