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As Economic Adviser in the Administration of President Juscelino Kubitschek (1956-61), Ambassador Augusto Frederico Schmidt, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, April 20, 1906, was partially responsible for the political planning that led to the development of the Organization of American States. His prophetic fear of the

Communist overthrow of democratic governments in underdeveloped Latin America has, in turn, had direct bearing upon the decision of President Kennedy to launch the Alliance For Progress. As a poet, after his early work in Romandcism, Schmidt

found that he had a certain affinity with the French religious poet who lost his life in World War 1—Charles Péguy. As a consequence of this affinity, in the words of Manuel Bandeira, Schmidt "passed through the Modernist experience, profited from some of its lessons, and separated from it by expressing himself in a constantly serious and grave tone, like a Biblical prophet." It is, in short, the return to the sublime that constitutes the primary quality of Schmidt's poetry, a quality demonstrated in Navlo Perdido (1929), Pássaro Cego (1930), Canto da Noite (1934), A Estrela Solitária (1940), Mar Desconhecido (1942), O Galo Branco

(1948), and Fonte Invisível (1949).





I Have Seen the Sea


l have seen the sea!  Not this, but another!

I have seen the sea—a sea dark and without redemption.

I have seen the sea!  The waves like useless words



I have seen the sea!

It was an immense sea without skies.

A naked sea, with huge arms!

A sea of despair, now running,

Now motionless, in the silence of an open grave!


I have seen the sea, the great sea!

My eyes have journeyed over the moving masses!

I have seen the sea!

Oh! it was terrible as an unforgiving love!

I have seen the sea!

It had a vast likeness unto death.

It looked like the bed where death rests in her nights.


I have seen the sea!

It was the revelation of Death.

My heart was suspended.

My eyes wept!

I have seen the sea without heaven!


Not to Die


Not to die—but to be picked by death.

To be picked, because ripe, for silence.

Not to die—but to bend toward death,

Like the fruit which, touched by time,

Bows toward the moist earth.


Not to die—but to be with death ample and serene

In the eyes, in the heart and the body and the soul.

To be for the End, ripe as mulberries in season,

Like the mountain mulberries.


To feel in yourself the harmony of the ultimate pace

And the consolation of looks that do not want to see

         any more.

To be taken by the hand of death,

And to be with death in yourself, like hope, like

         the only hope.



Birth of Sleep


From the depth of the sky sleep will come.

Sleep will come growing through space,

Sleep will come walking through the earth,

And it will steal unawares upon the tired birds

And the flowers, the fish, and the old men.


Sleep will come from the sky and will glide,

Thickening, in the abandoned valleys.

Sleep will come soft and terrible,

And the petals of roses.

Its hands will undress the trees

And the bodies of children.


From the depth of the sky sleep will come;

And the throat of every man will cry silently,

And everything will fall asleep,

Head turned toward the abyss.


Preparation for Oblivion


The rain falls on the nevermore,

And it falls on the rare roses in the garden.

With the rain exaltation has turned into sadness,

And that which was destruction, lying and deception,

Is at this moment, for memory, only a dead child.



One Day l Will Meet You


One day 1

I will meet you.

My secret will open like the evening flowers.

The distance of everything will descend upon your spirit.

And what today is incredible will be as simple as

         the growth of roots in the earth.


I will open my heart, and you will find yourself in it.

I will open my spirit to your lucid look,

And you will be surprised to find yourself there,

you will be yourself,

—You, who are free from limitations,

You who approach mysteriously in the night,

You, you who are the impossible one.





The voice of poets lost in the unknown;

The sadness of those who have always been mistreated

And lived meekly without complaint;

The lonesomeness of the resigned, for whom

Life was a long exile;

The innocence insulted by the world,

In her quiet and frozen indifference:

—All this is set in your look,

All this is fixed in your face

Shining with the martyrdom of love,

All this is set in your countenance,

O star, O flower, O water pure and clear!

In your look full of shadow, in your veiled look,

Are imprisoned the tears that will quench my thirst

in the acidic hour when the desert will be

the end of my destiny!



From MODERN BRAZILIAN POETRY; AN ANTHOLOGY translated and edited, with the help of Yolanda Leite, by JOHN NIST.  Bloominghton: Indiana University Press, 1962






A chuva desce sobre o nunca mais,

E desce sobre as rosas raras do jardim.

Com a chuva mudou-se a exaltação em tristeza,

E a que foi destruição, mentira, e engano,

É neste momento, para a lembrança,

/apenas uma criança morta.





Rain comes down upon the nevermore

and comes down upon the few roses of the garden.

In the rain, rapture has changed into sadness,

and she who was destruction, falsehood, delusion,

aí this moment is, to memory. only a dead child.


                   (Translation:  Abgar Renault) 


AN INTRODUCTION TO MODERN BRAZILIAN POETRY. Verse translations by Leonard S. Downes.  [São Paulo]: Clube de Poesia do Brasil, 1954.  84 p.   14x20 cm.  “ Leonard S. Downes “ Ex. Biblioteca Nacional de Brasília.




All is unreal, said the princes lying on the sand,

And the great open canopy came and was spread over

                                                 [the immaculate sky.

Destruction, ruin, rottenness threatened.

And the lily came floating soft and calm.

The sea became rough and angry.

The boatmen sang at their oars

And everything moved implacably on to the next night.


All is unreal, said the princes lying on the sand,

No one will reach the last night,

Because there will always come other nights

And even the birds will stay poised in the air.

But the boatmen were thirsty

And chased the princes, away

And the boatmen were hungry and killed the princes,


The lily came floating gently

And the lily-princess was the king's daughter,

The only sister of the dead princes

And the lily floated in the Iblood of the men they had

                    [killed like a drop of dew on a rose-bud,

And the boatmen became the slaves of the lily

And follow it now on their knees, wailing, through' the






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