Epitaph of Mexico by Machado de Assis

Bend the knee: — it is a tomb.
Shrouded below
The lukewarm cadaver lies at rest
From a defeated people;
A melancholic plea
Addressing his mythology.

Before the astonished universe
The combat opened itself
Journeyed to the awful fight
From power and from justice;
Against justice, O century,
Victorious with the sword and the machine gun.

A dominant force won a victory
But the other, an unhappy defeat
The bruising, the misery, the hate,
In his vilified face
Spat at him. And the eternal stain
Will wither all his laurels.

And when the fateful voice
Of a pleasant afterlife
When it comes in prosperous days
Crying out against humanity,
Then Mexico will rise again
From the sepulchre.




Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908) was a poet, playwright, and novelist. He is considered the father of Brazilian literature.