∞ LITERARY HERITAGE
Two great figures from Ecuadorian literature have lived in and loved Piman. The first is the poet Julio Zaldumbide Gangotena, born in Quito in 1833, who died in 1887. His father, Ignacio Zaldumbide, was one of the founders of “El Quiteño Libre” (The Free Quiteñan) an important periodical of the day. He spent many happy times in the hacienda, strengthening his love of letters in its fertile soil. However, he was also a man of action and civic duty, becoming a deputy for Imbabura, plenipotentiary to Colombia, a candidate for President of the Republic, Minister of Education, etc. Eventually, he created and became the first President of the Ecuadorian Academy of Letters. His works are romantic and very beautiful, evoking the countryside and pastoral pleasures above all. Here is an extract from his poem La Tarde (The Afternoon)
Julio Zaldumbide’s son, Gonzalo Zaldumbide (1884–1965), followed both in his father’s literary footsteps as well as his civic ones. He was born in Quito, and later become ambassador to Paris, minister of Foreign Relations (1929) and ambassador to London (1950).
He finished his studies in law in Paris and returned to Ecuador, where in 1913, he began a long and brilliant diplomatic career during which he was a privileged spectator of the great events of contemporary world history.
His literary work comprises three clearly defined genres: the essay, criticism, and the story. Renowned essays include “In Praise of Henry Barbusse” (1908) and “Evolution of Gabriele D’Annunzio” (1909), in criticism: “Four American Classics”, which analyzes a Jose Enrique Rodo, Juan Montalvo, Gaspar de Villarroel and Juan Bautista Aguirre, and finally, in the story form, the stories “Lo que Pudo Haber Sido” (What Might Have Been) and “Cuentos de Amor y Dolor” (Tales of Love and Pain) and the novel “Égloga Trágica” (Tragic Eclogue), one of his first and most important works, which he began to write between 1910 and 1911 and finished only in 1956 (although he had published excerpts and chapters of the novel in the early 1920). He penned the novel while living at Hacienda Piman, and the story is set there – today regarded as one of the great Ecuadorian novels.
La Tarde (The Afternoon)
Quiero vivir contento en esta amable estancia campesina, aquí cavaré tumba a mis dolores; y ajeno de ambición, de envidia ajeno aquí (si tanto diérame la suerte) como tu sombra espero cada día esperaré sereno esa de la existencia tarde umbría, nuncio feliz de la esperada muerte. I want to live happy in this lovely pastoral manor here I’ll dig a grave for my sorrows; and far from ambition, the envy of others here (if I am lucky) like your shadow I wait each day I will await serene that afternoon shadow of existence, happy foreteller of inevitable death.