Hermits Rock

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This day in history...

I, Juana Inés de la Cruz, protest for now and for all eternity that I believe in one sole, all-powerful God, Creator of Heaven and Earth and all things; and I believe the most august mystery of the most Holy Trinity, that there are three distinct Persons and one true God; that of these three Persons, the second, who is the Divine Word, in order to redeem us, incarnated himself man in the virginal womb of Mary, most Saintly, still Virgin and Our Lady….And it greatly grieves me intimately to have offended God, because of who He is and for which I love Him above all things, in whose goodness I find hope that He might pardon my sins by his infinit Mercy, and by the most precious blood that He spilled to redeem us…To this effect I reiterate the vow I have already made to believe and defend that the always Virgin Mary Our Lady was conceived without the stain of original sin…I humbly implore them to receive me as their slave, and to whom I bind myself for all eternity.

And as a sign of how much I yearn to spill my blood in defense of these truths, I sign with it, this the fifth of March of the year one thousand six hundred and ninety-four.

some say that this was the last thing sor juana ever wrote. that she kept her vow to never pick up pen again, that she lived, from this moment on out, a saintly life and died the death of a saintly woman tending to the ill and the sick. others simply cannot believe that this woman of genius, who had the guile to craft a place for herself in late 17th century new spain, and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, a pen that never stopped, other simply cannot believe that she obeyed the church.

to keep this post within the context of the previous discussions, i should’ve added this excerpt from a poem by sor juana. translated by Alan Trueblood, Romance 48,

Replying to a Peruvian gentleman who sent a poetic gift of clay vessels and the advice that she become a man.

...Regarding the advice you proffer,
I’ll take it as a part of the bargain
and do myself violence, although
no violence can make me a Tarquin.

Hereabouts there’s no spring of Salmacis,
whose crystalline waters, I’m told,
possessed some magic or other
from which masculine powers flowed.

Such things are not my concern;
with one thought I came to this spot:
to be rid of those who’d inquire
whether I am a woman or not.

In Latin it’s just of the married
that uxor, or woman, is said.
A virgin has no sex at all—
or indeed she has both, being unwed.

So the man who looks upon me
as a woman, shows want of respect.
since one embracing my state
is foreclosed to the other sex.

Of one thing I’m sure: that my body
disinclined to this man or that,
serves only to house the soul—
you might call it neuter or abstract.

And leaving this question aside
as more fit for others to probe—
since it’s wrong to apply my mind
to things I shouldn’t know—

rest assured, my generous stranger,
you’ve not left lustrous Lima behind
when your homesick heart can emote in
a style so Peruvianly refined…

another translation, that of Stephanie Merrim in study on Sor Juana, renders the third to last stanza that i’ve quoted thusly,

and I only know that my body, without inclining to one sex or another, is neuter or abstract, serving only to house the soul being