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martes, 18 de diciembre de 2012


Emma Lazarus (22 de julio de 1849 – 19 de noviembre de 1887) fue una poetisa estadounidense nacida en la ciudad de Nueva York.
Escribió, entre otras cosas, "The New Colossus", un soneto escrito en 1883, actualmente grabado en una placa de bronce de una pared de la base de la Estatua de la Libertad. El soneto fue solicitado por William Maxwell Evarts como una donación a una subasta realizada por la «Recaudación de Fondos para Exposiciones de Arte en Ayuda del Pedestal Bartholdi para la Estatua de la Libertad».

Lazarus fue la cuarta de siete hijos de Moses Lazarus y Esther Cardozo, familias de judíos sefardíes portugueses3 cuyos miembros están muy asentados en Nueva York, y se relacionan, a través de su madre, a Benjamin N. Cardozo. Desde temprana edad estudió literatura americana y europea, así como varios idiomas, incluyendo alemán, francés e italiano. Sus escritos atrajeron la atención de Ralph Waldo Emerson, quien mantendría intercambio de correspondencia con ella hasta su deceso.
Lazarus fue enterrada en el cementerio Beth-Olom en Brooklyn.

Carrera literaria

Lazarus editó poemas originales con numerosas adaptaciones en alemán e italiano, sobre todo las de Johann Wolfgang von Goethe y Heinrich Heine. También escribió una novela y dos obras de teatro.
Lazarus mantenía un latente judaísmo que despertó aun más después de leer la novela de George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, y que se incrementó por los pogromos de Rusia en los años 1880. Estos acontecimientos llevaron a Lazarus a escribir artículos sobre el tema y comenzar la traducción de obras de poetas judíos en idioma inglés. Los infortunios, las persecuciones, los pogromos que sufrieron los judíos Askenazí en Europa Oriental, despertaron en Emma una profunda emoción que la llevó a sugerir y ejecutar acciones de beneficencia para aquellos que, miserables, hambrientos y enfermos, llegaron en masa en el invierno de 1882 a las orillas americanas. Lazarus misma participó activamente en la prestación de educación cultural y técnica para hacer de ellos autosuficientes.

Viajó dos veces a Europa, la primera vez en mayo de 1885 después de la muerte de su padre en marzo y nuevamente en septiembre de 1887. Regresó a la ciudad de Nueva York gravemente enferma después de su segundo viaje y falleció dos meses después, el 19 de noviembre de 1887, probablemente por la enfermedad de Hodgkin.
Es conocida como una importante precursora del movimiento sionista. De hecho, argumentó la creación de una patria judía trece años antes que Theodor Herzl comenzara a utilizar el término sionismo.


Eiselein, Gregory. Emma Lazarus: Selected Poems and Other Writings. USA: Broadview Press, 2002. ISBN 1-55111-285-X.
Jacob, Heinrich Eduard The World of Emma Lazarus. New York: Schocken, 1949; New York: Kessing Publishers, 2007, ISBN 1-4325-1416-4.
Lazarus, Emma. Emma Lazarus: Selected Poems. USA: Library of America, 2005. ISBN 1-931082-77-4.
Moore, H. S. Liberty's Poet: Emma Lazarus. USA: TurnKey Press, 2004. ISBN 0-9754803-4-0.
Schor, Esther. Emma Lazurus. New York: Schocken, 2006. ISBN 0-8052-4216-3. [1]
Young, B. R. Emma Lazarus in Her World: Life and Letters. USA: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1997.


No como el gigante de bronce de la fama griega
de conquistadores miembros a horcajadas de tierra a tierra;
aquí en nuestras puertas del ocaso bañadas por el mar, se yergue
una poderosa mujer con una antorcha, cuya llama
es el relámpago aprisionado, y su nombre,
Madre de los exiliados. Desde su mano de faro
brilla la bienvenida para todo el mundo; sus apacibles ojos dominan
el puerto de aéreos puentes que enmarcan las ciudades gemelas,
"¡Guarden, antiguas tierras, su pompa legendaria!" grita ella
con silenciosos labios. "Dame tus cansadas, tus pobres,
tus hacinadas multitudes anhelantes de respirar en libertad,
el desdichado desecho de tu rebosante playa,
envía a estos, los desamparados que botó la ola, a mí
¡Yo alzo mi lámpara detrás de la puerta dorada!"

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
with conquering limbs astride from land to land;
here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
with silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Este poema fue escrito por Emma Lazarus. Está colocado en la base de la estatua de la Libertad en Nueva York. 


In rich Virginian woods,
The scarlet creeper reddens over graves,
Among the solemn trees enlooped with vines;
Heroic spirits haunt the solitudes, —
The noble souls of half a million braves,
Amid the murmurous pines.

Ah! who is left behind,
Earnest and eloquent, sincere and strong,
To consecrate their memories with words
Not all unmeet? with fitting dirge and song
To chant a requiem purer than the wind,
And sweeter than the birds?

Here, though all seems at peace,
The placid, measureless sky serenely fair,
The laughter of the breeze among the leaves,
The bars of sunlight slanting through the trees,
The reckless wild-flowers blooming everywhere,
The grasses' delicate sheaves, —

Nathless each breeze that blows,
Each tree that trembles to its leafy head
With nervous life, revives within our mind,
Tender as flowers of May, the thoughts of those
Who lie beneath the living beauty, dead, —
Beneath the sunshine, blind.

For brave dead soldiers, these:
Blessings and tears of aching thankfulness,
Soft flowers for the graves in wreaths enwove,
The odorous lilac of dear memories,
The heroic blossoms of the wilderness,
And the rich rose of love.

But who has sung their praise,
Not less illustrious, who are living yet?
Armies of heroes, satisfied to pass
Calmly, serenely from the whole world's gaze,
And cheerfully accept, without regret,
Their old life as it was,

With all its petty pain,
Its irritating littleness and care;
They who have scaled the mountain, with content
Sublime, descend to live upon the plain;
Steadfast as though they breathed the mountain-air
Still, wheresoe'er they went.

They who were brave to act,
And rich enough their action to forget;
Who, having filled their day with chivalry,
Withdraw and keep their simpleness intact,
And all unconscious add more luster yet
Unto their victory.

On the broad Western plains
Their patriarchal life they live anew;
Hunters as mighty as the men of old,
Or harvesting the plenteous, yellow grains,
Gathering ripe vintage of dusk bunches blue,
Or working mines of gold;

Or toiling in the town,
Armed against hindrance, weariness, defeat,
With dauntless purpose not to swerve or yield,
And calm, defiant strength, they struggle on,
As sturdy and as valiant in the street,
As in the camp and field.

And those condemned to live,
Maimed, helpless, lingering still through suffering years,
May they not envy now the restful sleep
Of the dear fellow-martyrs they survive?
Not o'er the dead, but over these, your tears,
O brothers, ye may weep!

New England fields I see,
The lovely, cultured landscape, waving grain,
Wide, haughty rivers, and pale, English skies.
And lo! A farmer ploughing busily,
Who lifts a swart face, looks upon the plain, —
I see, in his frank eyes,

The hero's soul appear.
Thus in the common fields and streets they stand;
The light that on the past and distant gleams,
They cast upon the present and the near,
With antique virtues from some mystic land,
Of knightly deeds and dreams.

Crowing of the Red Cock

Across the Eastern sky has flowed
The flicker of a blood-red dawn,
Once more the clarion cock has crowed,
Once more the sword of Christ is drawn.
A million burning rooftrees light
The world-wide path of Israel's flight.

Where is the Hebrew's fatherland?
The folk of Christ is sore bestead;
The Son of Man is bruised and banned,
Nor finds whereon to lay his head.
His cup is gall, his meat is tears,
His passion lasts a thousand years.

Each crime that wakes in man the beast,
Is visited upon his kind.
The lust of mobs, the greed of priest,
The tyranny of kings, combined
To root his seed from earth again,
His record is one cry of pain.

When the long roll of Christian guilt
Against his sires and kin is known,
The flood of tears, the life-blood split,
The agony of ages shown,
What oceans can the stain remove,
From Christian law and Christian love?

Nay, close the book; not now, not here,
The hideous tale of sin narrate,
Reechoing in the martyr's ear,
Even he might nurse revengeful hate,
Even he might turn in wrath sublime,
With blood for blood and crime for crime.

Coward? Not he, who faces death,
Who singly against worlds has fought,
For what? A name he may not breathe,
For liberty of prayer and thought.
The angry sword he will not whet,
His nobler task is — to forget.


      "The epochs of our life are not in the facts, but in the
         silent thought by the wayside as we walk."—Emerson

                    I. Youth.

     Sweet empty sky of June without a stain,
       Faint, gray-blue dewy mists on far-off hills,
     Warm, yellow sunlight flooding mead and plain,
       That each dark copse and hollow overfills;
       The rippling laugh of unseen, rain-fed rills,
     Weeds delicate-flowered, white and pink and gold,
     A murmur and a singing manifold.

     The gray, austere old earth renews her youth
       With dew-lines, sunshine, gossamer, and haze.
     How still she lies and dreams, and veils the truth,
       While all is fresh as in the early days!
       What simple things be these the soul to raise
     To bounding joy, and make young pulses beat,
     With nameless pleasure finding life so sweet.

     On such a golden morning forth there floats,
       Between the soft earth and the softer sky,
     In the warm air adust with glistening motes,
       The mystic winged and flickering butterfly,
       A human soul, that hovers giddily
     Among the gardens of earth's paradise,
     Nor dreams of fairer fields or loftier skies.

                    II. Regret.

     Thin summer rain on grass and bush and hedge,
       Reddening the road and deepening the green
     On wide, blurred lawn, and in close-tangled sedge;
       Veiling in gray the landscape stretched between
       These low broad meadows and the pale hills seen
     But dimly on the far horizon's edge.

     In these transparent-clouded, gentle skies,
       Wherethrough the moist beams of the soft June sun
     Might any moment break, no sorrow lies,
       No note of grief in swollen brooks that run,
       No hint of woe in this subdued, calm tone
     Of all the prospect unto dreamy eyes.

     Only a tender, unnamed half-regret
       For the lost beauty of the gracious morn;
     A yearning aspiration, fainter yet,
       For brighter suns in joyous days unborn,
       Now while brief showers ruffle grass and corn,
     And all the earth lies shadowed, grave, and wet;

     Space for the happy soul to pause again
       From pure content of all unbroken bliss,
     To dream the future void of grief and pain,
       And muse upon the past, in reveries
       More sweet for knowledge that the present is
     Not all complete, with mist and clouds and rain.

                    III. Longing.

     Look westward o'er the steaming rain-washed slopes,
       Now satisfied with sunshine, and behold
     Those lustrous clouds, as glorious as our hopes,
       Softened with feathery fleece of downy gold,
       In all fantastic, huddled shapes uprolled,
     Floating like dreams, and melting silently,
     In the blue upper regions of pure sky.

     The eye is filled with beauty, and the heart
       Rejoiced with sense of life and peace renewed;
     And yet at such an hour as this, upstart
       Vague myriad longing, restless, unsubdued,
       And causeless tears from melancholy mood,
     Strange discontent with earth's and nature's best,
     Desires and yearnings that may find no rest.

                    IV. Storm.

     Serene was morning with clear, winnowed air,
       But threatening soon the low, blue mass of cloud
     Rose in the west, with mutterings faint and rare
       At first, but waxing frequent and more loud.
       Thick sultry mists the distant hill-tops shroud;
     The sunshine dies; athwart black skies of lead
     Flash noiselessly thin threads of lightning red.

     Breathless the earth seems waiting some wild blow,
       Dreaded, but far too close to ward or shun.
     Scared birds aloft fly aimless, and below
       Naught stirs in fields whence light and life are gone,
       Save floating leaves, with wisps of straw and down,
     Upon the heavy air; 'neath blue-black skies,
     Livid and yellow the green landscape lies.

     And all the while the dreadful thunder breaks,
       Within the hollow circle of the hills,
     With gathering might, that angry echoes wakes,
       And earth and heaven with unused clamor fills.
       O'erhead still flame those strange electric thrills.
     A moment more,—behold! yon bolt struck home,
     And over ruined fields the storm hath come!



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