Henry, Martin (2003) On Nothing. Irish Theological Quarterly, 68 (4). p. 324.
A famous sonnet by the seventeenth-century Spanish poet GÃ³ngora, on the instability and inevitable decay of all human life, even the most beautiful, ends with an unforgettable evocation of the actual process itself of final human disintegration âinto earth, smoke, dust, shadow, nothingnessâ (âen tierra, en humo, en polvo, en sombra, en nadaâ). The âextraordinary falling cadenceâ (Arthur Terry) of this line, mirroring the transformation of human life on its final journey into annihilation, is clearly echoed at the end of the century by the last great poetic figure of the Spanish âGolden Ageâ, the Hieronymite Mexican nun, Sor Juana InÃ©s de la Cruz, one of whose sonnets, describing a flattering portrait, ends with the memorable line: âit is a corpse, it is dust, it is shadow, it is nothingâ (âes cadÃ¡ver, es polvo, es sombra, es nadaâ).
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