I would like to start with a little description of our protagonist, since his name, Simon Bolivar, may not sound familiar for many members, it’s
important to understand how important he was for many nations.
Simon Bolivar (1783-1830)
Simon Bolivar was one of South America's greatest generals. His victories over the Spaniards won independence for Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador,
Peru, and Venezuela. He is called El Liberator (The Liberator) and the "George Washington of South America."
With all that said, it’s time to share with you a translation of something that Bolivar himself wrote, I know it might look like one of those
“wall of text”, so I tried to separate it in paragraphs. I believe he MAYBE was trying to describe an unusual encounter with something not human,
or maybe he just created it to make a point. You decide :
My delirium on Chimborazo
Author: Tito Salas. Oil on canvas, 1929
My Delirium on Chimborazo (1822) - Simón Bolívar
I came wrapped in the cloak of Iris, from where the mighty Orinoco pays tribute to the water gods. I had visited the enchanted springs of the
Amazon, and I wanted to climb the watchtower of the world. I looked out the tracks of la Condamine, of Humboldt. Boldly I followed, nothing would
stand in my way! I reached the icy regions, the thin air stifling my breath. No human foot had spoiled the diamond crown placed by the hands of
eternity on this king of the Andes. I said to myself, “ This cloak of Iris has served as my standard, I have carried it to the infernal regions,
crossed rivers and seas, and climbed to the very shoulders of the Andes; the Earth has yielded under the feet of Columbia and time itself has not been
able to stop the march of freedom. Bellona has been humbled by the brilliance of Iris - will I not be able to tread on the white hairs of that giant
of the Earth? The watchtower of the world? Yes, I will be able! Carried on by a spirit of violence, which seemed to me divine, I left behind the
footprints of Humboldt and pushed on for the mists that circle Chimborazo. Compelled by spirit inside me I reached the summit. With my head touching
the glass of the firmament and my feet at the thresholds of the great abyss, I felt weak. A feverish delirium filled my mind, I felt inflamed by a
strange fire; it was the god of Columbia that had possessed me.
I’d like to ask you to pay attention to the next part :
Suddenly, Time appeared before me, he appears as a venerable old man, the weight of the ages upon him. Frowning, bent, bald and wrinkled, a scythe
in his hand. “I am the father of the centuries; the mystery of fame and the secret knowledge; my mother was eternity. The boundaries of my empire
are the infinite.
He seems to be describing a sort of spiritual experience (that's why I thought this is the right forum), with another being, someone inmortal, as he
wrote in the next part :
There is no tomb for me, for I am more powerful than death! I watch the past, I watch the future and through my hand goes the present.” “Why
do you think such vain thoughts?
Then, this being tells us his point of view about us and the universe, in a very scary way I must say :
Whether you be young or old, a common man or a great hero, do you think that your universe is something? That you elevate yourself by climbing but
one atom of creation? You think that the moments you call centuries can serve to make measurements of my secrets? Do you imagine you have seen the
holy truth? Do you think, in your delirium, that your actions have some worth in my eyes? All you have is but a speck in the presence of the
After that incredible speech, Bolivar describes how scared he was and the answer he gave :
Seized with terror I responded “Oh time! How does the miserable mortal who has climbed so high not simply vanish? I have surpassed all men in
fortune, for I have risen above them all. Here I stand with the Earth beneath my feet; I grasp the eternal with my hands; I feel the hellish pressures
boiling beneath me; beside me I see the shining stars, the infinite suns; without astonishment I measure the space that encloses matter, and in your
face I read the history of the past, and the thoughts of destiny.”
Then, the being spoke for the last time before vanishing :
“Observe,” spoke Time, “learn, conserve in your mind what you have witnessed. Draw for the eyes of your fellow men the picture of the
physical universe, of the moral universe. Do not keep secret what heaven has revealed to you, tell them the truth!.
Bolivar finished it like this :
”The vision vanished. Absorbed, lifeless, so to speak, I remained a long time examining my conscience. I lay stretched out upon that immense
diamond that served as my bed. Finally, Columbia's tremendous voice resurrected me; I returned to life. I get up, with my own hands I open my heavy
eyelids. I become a man once more, and write of my delirium.
If you prefer an Spanish original version, you can find it here :