In reading these poems the first difficulty (with some of them, at least) is understanding their meaning. Why are they hard to understand? Why do you think the poet or poets wrote in this way? Is this the work of a single poet, or more than one? What attitudes (e.g. toward self and others) do the poems have in common? These poems were written in colonial Spanish America. Can you guess roughly when they were composed?

After reading and thinking about the poems, look at pictures of the carved stone façade of the cathedral at Zacatecas in northern Mexico (a general view, and detail of the upper part). Can you find any shared qualities between the poems and the style and composition of the carving in the façade?

A Philosophical Satire
Satiric Reproach to a Woman who boasts of her Beauty
A much-needed Eyewash for cleansing the Eyes of an arrogant Myope
She attempts to minimize the Praise occasioned by a Portrait of herself inscribed by Truth -- which she calls Ardor
She laments her fortune, she hints of her Aversion to all Vice, and justifies her Diversion with the Muses
Better Death than suffer the Affronts of growing old
She resolves the Question of which be the more trying Role in conflicting Relationships: to love or to abhor