The Abuse of Both Sexes by José da Costa

Two things are valued by circumspective men:
Health and time;
The youth also assert that
These concepts have great worth;
Even so man’s appetites and insanity
Digs with shovels many tombs.
Someone lost the substance, another lost the color
That prevented feeling pain.
So many diseases hasten them already
That neither arms, nor culture can follow:
Diseases make them feel such weaknesses,
That they will not grow old.
The parents lose their kids, the servant King,
Because the mob of vices comes to cut them down.
The youth have inside them that which deceives them
Their illusion damages their time, and health:
These precious things, that have been lost,
We don’t see how they may ever be recovered.

 

——

São a saude, e o tempo dois objectos
Estimados dos homens circunspectos;
E diz a mocidade que tambem
Estas cousas em grande valor tem:
Porém com appetites, e loucuras
Enxadadas vão dar nas sepulturas.
Hum perdeo a substancia, o outro a côr
Aquelle anda tolhido de huma dor.
E já tantas molestias lhes acodem.
Que nem armas, nem letras seguir podem:
Sobrevindo-lhes tal debilidade,
Que não podem gozar de longa idade.
Perdem filhos os pais, o Rei vassallos,
Porque a chusma dos vicios vem cortallos.
Nelles a mocidade he que se illude
Para estrago do tempo, e da saude:
Preciosidades estas, que perdidas,
Não vemos com que possa o ser suppridas.

 

——

José Daniel Rodrigues da Costa (1757 – 1832) was a poet who also wrote under the pseudonym Josino Leiriense. This poem is an excerpt from his leaflet Portugal, Sick with Vices, and the Abuse of Both Sexes.