Ernesto Noboa y Caamaño (Guayaquil, August 2, 1889 – Quito, December 7, 1927) was an Ecuadorian poet. Together with Arturo Borja, Humberto Fierro and Medardo Ángel Silva, Noboa was part of the group of poets known as the “Decapitated Generation,” so called for the premature death of its members. This group represents the apogee of the modernismo literary movement in Ecuador. Almost all of Noboa’s work, marked by anxiety and loathing, was collected in a book entitled “Romanza de las Horas” (Romance of the Hours), published in 1922. For some, his poem “Emoción vesperal” (Vesperal Emotion) marked a new era of poetry in Ecuador. The poem, which speaks about taking an afternoon trip to sea without a set course, with sorrow dying as the day dies out, is an allegory for death. He is one of the most read poets in Ecuador, and many of his poems are recited and sung by the people.
Noboa came from a wealthy family that had actively participated in national politics (former Ecuadorian presidents José María Plácido Caamaño and Diego Noboa are among his ancestors). He attended primary school in Guayaquil. He later moved to Quito, where he continued his studies and began a close friendship with Arturo Borja. Both poets would later become two of the four poets that make up the “Decapitated Generation.”
A Manuel Arteta; como un hermano
Hay tardes en las que uno desearía
embarcarse y partir sin rumbo cierto,
y, silenciosamente, de algún puerto,
irse alejando mientras muere el día;
Emprender una larga travesía
y perderse después en un desierto
y misterioso mar, no descubierto
por ningún navegante todavía.
Aunque uno sepa que hasta los remotos
confines de los piélagos ignotos
le seguirá el cortejo de sus penas,
y que, al desvanecerse el espejismo,
desde las glaucas ondas del abismo
le tentarán las últimas sirenas.
Documentary about Ernesto Noboa y Caamaño
- Romanza de las Horas (1922)