The Poems

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Harvill Press, 2000 - Poetry - 119 pages
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The 16th century Spanish Carmelite monk, St. John of the Cross, is not only one of the greatest of all Christian mystics. He is also considered by many to be Spain's finest religious poets His intense and profound poetry, marked by an extraordinary lyrical fervour, reflects his own mystical experiences and his aim to renounce all and surrender himself totally to the love of God. Only then, he believed, could the soul, purified of the taint of the material world, reach a state of grace. The finest English translation of the poems, a work of poetic art in its own right, was made by the South African Roy Campbell (1901 - 1957) who succeeded in recreating the extraordinarily subtle music of the original verse and echoing their remarkable blend of sensuality and spirituality. In this bilingual edition the original Spanish poems are published, accompanied by Campbell's translation on facing pages.

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Introduction page
Songs of the soul in rapture
Songs between the soul and the Bridegroom

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About the author (2000)

St John of the Cross was a 16th-century Spanish mystic, Catholic saint and a Carmelite monk, friar and priest. He was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation and is considered one of the foremost poets in the Spanish language.

Roy Campbell, born Ignatius Royston Dunnachie Campbell was born in Durban, Colony of Natal (now in South Africa) 1901. He lived in South Africa, Britain (where he fell in and out with the Bloomsbury Group), Spain and finally Portugal, where he died in 1957. The Flaming Terrapin established his reputation in verse and he was hailed by contemporaries T.S.Eliot and Dylan Thomas as one of the great inter-war poets. In 1952 he was awarded the Foyle Prize for his verse translation of St John of the Cross.

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