from the Spanish of Don Francisco de Quevedo
I saw the ramparts of my native land,
One time so strong, now dropping in decay,
Their strength destroyed by this new age's way
That has worn out and rotted what was grand.
I went into the fields: there I could see
The sun drink up the waters newly thawed,
And on the hills the moaning cattle pawed;
Their miseries robbed the day of light for me.
I went into my house: I saw how spotted,
Decaying things made that old home their prize.
My withered walking-staff had come to bend;
I felt the age had won; my sword was rotted,
And there was nothing on which I set my eyes
That was not a reminder of the end.
Source: The Collected Poems of John Masefield