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Poetry in Portuguese | “Círculo Vicioso” by Machado de Assis Posted by on Jun 9, 2010 in Culture, Literature, Vocabulary

I’m reading a book called, “Como Transformar Defeitos em Virtudes,” and it claims to be a good humored view on the seven deadly sins… which so far it is!  And each chapter for each sin starts off with a poem.

The first chapter starts off with a poem by Machado de Assis, one of Brazil’s greatest writers of all time, called “Círculo Vicioso.”  Can you tell me from reading the poem below which sin it’s talking about and what the name of that sin would be in Portuguese?

Bailando no ar, gemia inquieto vaga-lume:

– Quem me dera que fosse aquela loura estrela,

que arde no eterno azul, como uma eterna vela!

Mas a estrela, fitando a lua, com ciúme:

– Pudesse eu copiar o transparente lume,

que, da grega coluna á gótica janela,

contemplou, suspirosa, a fronte amada e bela !

Mas a lua, fitando o sol, com azedume:

– Misera ! tivesse eu aquela enorme, aquela

claridade imortal, que toda a luz resume !

Mas o sol, inclinando a rutila capela:

– Pesa-me esta brilhante aureola de nume…

Enfara-me esta azul e desmedida umbela…

Porque não nasci eu um simples vaga-lume?

Dancing in the air, the firefly moaned restlessly:

– How I wish I was that blonde                         star,

That burns in the eternal blue, live an infinite  candle!

But the star, gazing at the moon jealously:

– Who am I to copy the transparent light,

That from the Greek column to the gothic window,                                               Contemplated, sighing, forehead beloved and beautiful!

But the moon, gazing at the sun, sourly:

– Misery! Had I that huge,                                        that

Immortal brightness, in which all live is summarized!

But the sun, tilting its shining chapel:

– This bright halo weighs down upon           me…

This blue and unmeasurable umbrella sickens me…

Why wasn’t I born a simple firefly?

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  1. Teka:


  2. Michelle:

    Good day! I’m currently studying the subject World Literature and was given a group task about different cultures of the different continents. We picked South America and chose Brazil as our country. Unfortunately, we’re having a hard time about this project and so I want to ask if you could help us about Brazil and its culture. Our first task is to get a poem (we chose Circulo Vicioso) and get its theme and the culture of that country in regards with that poem and make a short role play. By any chance could you explain to me how does this poem reflect the culture of Brazil? I really hope you could help us! Thank you in advance. 🙂