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The Idea of Europe

 | 
Catriona Seth
, 
Rotraud von Kulessa

54. Europe, a Political Whole

Texte intégral

1One of the ways of showing Europe’s unity, in spite of all that makes it diverse, is to underline the way in which it reacts, as one, to certain events, be they happy or tragic—one example would be the impact of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake on thinkers throughout the continent. Here, in 1746, Diego de Torres Villarroel (1693–1770) imagines an allegorical Europe weeping at the death of King Philip V of Spain.

Sonnet CLXIII

What is this? Clio weeps, her torn hair let down,
Wretched, impatient, inconsolable,
Upon her magnificent, rose-tinged temples
Doleful cypress branches form a crown.
Europe the Superb, the Celebrated,
The Prosperous, the Loving and Joyful,
A second Jerusalem, lies sorrowful,
Alone, deserted and devastated.
What is this? Sad is the air, the sun mournful,
And the Heavens’ startlingly bright domain,
In turns appears pale, and then dark as the abyss.
What turmoil is this? What horror? What pain?
What labyrinth makes dark our world? What is this?
What else could it be! Dead is King Philip of Spain!

2Diego de Torres Villarroel,
‘Sonnet’, in The Muse’s Distractions (1751).

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