If men weighed the hazards of the sea, none would embark. If they foresaw the dangers of the ring, rather than taunt the savage bull, they'd cautiously withdraw.
If the horseman should prudently reflect on the headlong fury of the steed's wild dash, he'd never undertake to rein him in adroitly, or to wield the cracking lash.
But were there one of such temerity that, facing undoubted peril, he still planned to drive the fiery chariot and subdue
the steeds of Apollo himself with daring hand, he'd stop at nothing, would not meekly choose a way of life binding a whole life through. From "A Sor Juana Anthology," translated by Alan S. Trueblood, foreword by Octavio Paz (Harvard University Press: $29.50; 248 pp.) Seventeenth-Century poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz was described during her time as "Phoenix of Mexico, America's Tenth Muse." The poems in this collection appear in both Spanish and English. Alan S. Trueblood, translator. Reprinted by permission of publisher.