Archive for ‘Translation’

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Life’s Illusion by Sarmad Kashani

You sleep
you forget yourself
and forgetfulness
brings no fruit but regret.
Your friends have gone ahead
you too are on the way;
Why do you not contemplate
life’s illusion?

From: Wilson, Peter Lamborn and Pourjavady, Nasrollah (eds. and transls.), The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, 1987, Phanes Press: Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 20.
(https://archive.org/details/TheDrunkenUniverse/)

Date: 17th century (original in Persian); 1987 (translation in English)

By: Sarmad Kashani (c1590-1661)

Translated by: Peter Lamborn Wilson (1945- ) and Nasrollah Pourjavady (1943- )

Advertisements
Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Some Day, Some Day by Cristóbal de Castillejo

Some day, some day
O troubled breast,
Shalt thou find rest.
If Love in thee
To grief give birth,
Six feet of earth
Can more than he;
There calm and free
And unoppressed
Shalt thou find rest.
The unattained
In life at last,
When life is passed
Shall all be gained;
And no more pained,
No more distressed,
Shalt thou find rest.

From: http://www.poetry-archive.com/c/some_day_some_day.html

Date: c1530 (original in Spanish); 1873 (translation in English)

By: Cristóbal de Castillejo (1491-1556)

Translated by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Monday, 11 March 2019

Love Keeps Me Pondering How I May Best by Guillem de Cabestany

Love keeps me pondering how I may best
Compose for my belov’d a joyous song,
For her to whom my heart and soul belong,
Whom Love made me to choose from all the rest,
And whom he hath ordained I must adore
And serve and honour faithfully and purely;
And I do, my love for her full surely
From day to day grows better and grows more.

Full well has Love cured me of the despair
Which long he made me suffer, and the woe;
Unjust it was of him to treat me so,
For almost I was forced to turn elsewhere.
If he is wise, now let him bear in mind
That in a little while luck often changes;
He who ill-treats his subjects oft estranges
Others who’d serve him well if he were kind.

For you must know, my lords, I have heard tell
How once a powerful Emperor of yore
Oppressed his barons grievously, wherefore
His pride was humbled and his power fell.
And so I pray my noble beauteous one
Not to ill-treat her lover too extremely,
For gentleness in everything is seemly,
And one repents too late when harm is done.

Dear lady, best of all the best that can be,
In whom all charm and all delight do meet,
Love for your sake holds me in prison sweet;
I tell you this that it may profit me.
God grant me life until the day is past
When I shall lie within your arms’ embraces,
For unto me than this no greater grace is
In all the world, and while the world shall last.

And lady, since of treasure you’ve great store
—For the world holds none nobler or more fair—
Let not, I pray, my true love and my care
Be vain; the richer a man is, the more
Should he reward good service which men do,
For it is just and right, I tell you truly,
Evil should be repaid by evil duly
And good by good—nought else I ask of you.

My tears and sighs have been a thousand quite,
Also, so fear I nought to gain of worth
When I reflect upon your noble birth
And how you are of all the flower and light,
And how I know you precious, sweet and fair,
And how you are true, pure, in faith unbroken,
And how by all men it is sworn and spoken
That never woman like you breathed the air.

Take pity of your goodness on my plight,
Heed not your greatness, lady, but have care
For the true love that in my heart you’ve woken,
And for my faith that never will be broken,
Since all my love for you alone I bear.

From: Smythe, Barbara (ed. and transl.), Trobador Poets: Selections from the Poems of Eight Trobadors, 2000, In parentheses Publications: Cambridge, Ontario, pp. 167-168.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Trobador_Poets.html?id=JxUxG4yHh-4C)

Date: c1200 (original in Occitan); 1911 (translation in English)

By: Guillem de Cabestany (1162-1212)

Translated by: Barbara Smythe (1882-19??)

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Verses 46-50 of “Black Marigolds [Caurapañcāśikā]” by Kavi Bilhana

Even now
The night is full of silver straws of rain,
And I will send my soul to see your body
This last poor time. I stand beside our bed;
Your shadowed head lies leaving a bright space
Upon the pillow empty, your sorrowful arm
Holds from your side and clasps not anything.
There is no covering upon you.

Even now
I think your feet seek mine to comfort them.
There is some dream about you even now
Which I’ll not hear at waking. Weep not at dawn,
Though day brings wearily your daily loss
And all the light is hateful. Now is it time
To bring my soul away.

Even now
I mind that I went round with men and women,
And underneath their brows, deep in their eyes,
I saw their souls, which go slippng aside
In swarms before the pleasure of my mind;
The world was like a flight of birds, shadow or flame
Which I saw pass above the engraven hills.
Yet was there never one like to my woman.

Even now
Death I take up as consolation.
Nay, were I free as the condor with his wings
Or old kings throned on violet ivory,
Night would not come without beds of green floss
And never a bed without my bright darling.
Most fit that you strike now, black guards,
And let the fountain out before the dawn.

Even now
I know that I have savoured the hot taste of life
Lifting green cups and gold at the great feast.
Just for a small and a forgotten time
I have had full in my eyes from off my girl
The whitest pouring of eternal light.
The heavy knife. As to a gala day.

From: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/bilhana/bil01.htm

Date: 11th century (original); 1919 (translation in English)

By: Kavi Bilhana (11th century)

Translated by: Edward Powys Mathers (1892-1939)

Friday, 8 March 2019

Plain Living and High Thinking by Lucian of Samosata

Stern Cynicus doth war austerely wage
With endive, lentils, chicory, and sage;
Which shouldst thou thoughtless proffer, “Wretch,” saith he,
“Wouldst thou corrupt my life’s simplicity?”
Yet is not his simplicity so great
But that he can digest a pomegranate;
And peaches, he esteems, right well agree
With Spartan fare and sound philosophy.

From: Garnett, Richard, Vallée, Leon and Brandl, Alois (eds.), The Universal Anthology: A Collection of the Best Literature, Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern, with Biographical and Explanatory Notes, Volume 5, 1899, The Clarke Company Ltd: London, p. 97.
(https://archive.org/details/universalantholo05garnuoft/)

Date: 2nd century (original in Greek); 1869 (translation in English)

By: Lucian of Samosata (c125-c180)

Translated by: Richard Garnett (1835-1906)

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Tao Te Ching: 4 by Laozi (Lao Tzu)

Tao is empty—
Its use never exhausted.
Bottomless—
The origin of all things.

It blunts sharp edges,
Unties knots,
Softens glare,
Becomes one with the dusty world.

Deeply subsistent—
I don’t know whose child it is.

It is older than the Ancestor.

From: Lao-Tzu, Addiss, Stephen and Lombardo, Stanley (transl.), Tao Te Ching, 2007, Shambhala: Boston and London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=hXoEv5WpqukC)

Date: 6th century BCE (original); 2007 (translation)

By: Laozi (Lao Tzu) (601 BCE-c531 BCE)

Translated by: Stephen L. Addiss (1935- ) and Stanley F. Lombardo (1943- )

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Christen Lyndesay to Ro. Hudsone by Christian Lindsay with rough translation by flusteredduck

Oft haive I hard, bot ofter fund it treu,
That courteours kyndnes lasts but for a vhyle.
Fra once ȝour turnes be sped, vhy then adeu,
ȝour promeist freindship passis in exyle.
Bot, Robene, faith, ȝe did me not beguyll;
I hopit ay of ȝou as of the lave:
If thou had with, thou wald haif mony a wyle,
To mak thy self be knaune for a knaive.
Montgomrie, that such hope did once conceave
Of thy guid-will, nou finds all is forgotten.
Thoght not bot kyndnes he did at the craiv,
He finds thy friendship as it rypis is rotten.
The smeikie smeithis cairs not his passit travel,
Bot leivis him lingring, déing of the gravell.

Oft have I heard, but oftener found it true,
That courteous kindness lasts but for a while.
For once your turn be sped, why then adieu,
Your promised friendship passes into exile.
But, Robin, faith, you did me beguile;
I hoped of you of all the many:
If you had wit, you would have many a wile,
To make yourself known for a knave.
Montgomerie, that such hope did once conceive
Of your good will, now finds all is forgotten.
Though nought but kindness he did from you crave,
He finds your friendship as it ripens is rotten.
The smoky smith cares not for his past work,
But leaves him lingering, dying of the gravel.

From: Stevenson, Jane and Davidson, Peter (eds.), Early Modern Women Poets (1520-1700): An Anthology, 2001, Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 83-84.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=EynvtQmeW-kC)

Date: 1580/86

By: Christian Lindsay (fl. 1580/86)

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

It’s High Time for Me to Sing by Cercamon

It’s high time for me to sing;
I have been slumbering so long
that my music wasn’t heard far away anymore,
but now I am waking up,
and I will keep retrieving my joy
against the Winter and the cold north wind.

I should not shun again that joy,
for it didn’t shine on me a single day
but today it springs deep in my heart
so that I go through people sighing
the desire that I have of a great love
and I can’t sleep nor stay awake, nor hear nor see because of it.

If ever I was kept awake by love
or startled and driven insane,
or changed by a changing woman,
now – be god and Saint John be praised! –
I go loving with a love such
as I’d never trade it for another one.

I don’t think this one deceives me
albeit I am not yet in her good graces,
nor have I lost my reason over her so much
that I’d ask or entreat her for anything,
small or great, here or there,
bad or good, this way or that.

I see her, so graceful and worthy,
and in her deeds is such distinction
that here I consider myself enriched
and there I shall be at her beck and call
night and day and [every] month and [every] year
for I am hers as I must be.

The verse is simple, and I am refining it
without trivial, false or preposterous words;
and it is put together so
that there aren’t but elegant words in it,
and now it is still improving
if there is someone to sing and present it well.

From: http://www.trobar.org/troubadours/cercamon/cmn3.php

Date: c1140 (original in Occitan); 2006 (translation in English)

By: Cercamon (fl. c1135-1145)

Translated by: Leonardo Malcovati (19??- )

Monday, 25 February 2019

Send Your Spirit by Solomon ibn Gabirol

Send your spirit
to revive our corpses,
and ripple the longed-for
land again.

The crops come from you;
you’re good to all—
and always return
to restore what has been.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/146848/send-your-spirit

Date: c1035 (original in Hebrew); 2007 (translation in English)

By: Solomon ibn Gabirol (c1021-c1070)

Translated by: Peter Cole (1957- )

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Lausavisur 10 by Hallfreðr Óttarsson (vandræðaskáld)

The whole race of men to win
Óðinn’s grace has wrought poems
(I recall the exquisite
works of my forebears);
but with sorrow, for well did
Viðrir’s [Óðinn’s] power please the poet,
do I conceive hate for the first husband of
Frigg [Óðinn], now I serve Christ.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallfreðr_vandræðaskáld

Date: 10th century (original in Old Norse); 2012 (translation in English)

By: Hallfreðr Óttarsson (vandræðaskáld) (c965-c1007)

Translated by: Diana Whaley (19??- )