01 September 2008

Ode to Aubergine

To celebrate the imminent harvest of my first eggplant (and Garden Bloggers' Muse Day), here is a translation of a 400-year-old Spanish poem in praise of the fruit.

My Three Loves
by Baltasar del Alcázar

Only three things hold my heart
love-captive in a prison vault:
gorgeous Betty, Spanish ham,
and eggplant roasted au gratin.

Betty, guys, knew what to do
to rob me of the slightest clue.
I held as hateful and as petty
everything that wasn't Betty.

I spent a year without a hunch
until one day she served me lunch
consisting of some Spanish ham
and eggplant roasted au gratin.

Betty was the first to score,
but I'm not certain any more
which of them happens to control
the battlefield that is my soul.

In taste, in measure, and in weight
I think the three of them are great!
Now I want Betty, now it's ham,
now it's eggplant au gratin.

Betty's beauty can't be beat,
but Aracena's ham is sweet;
and ancient chronicles attest
that Spaniards loved their eggplant best.

And, so in balance are the three
that, judging quite impartially,
all are equal: Betty, ham,
and eggplant roasted au gratin.

At very least, my new-found squeezes
(ham, and eggplant drenched in cheeses)
may induce my Bettykins
to charge less money for our sins.

For she will find as counterweight,
if she fails to negotiate,
a generous slice of Spanish ham
and eggplant roasted au gratin.

(translated by Peter H. Desmond)

The poem in its original Spanish (and this translation) are available from the 'Après moi, le déluge' blog. Baltasar del Alcázar lived in Seville, Spain, between 1530 and 1606.

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