Archive for ‘Translation’

Monday, 20 May 2019

An Aunt’s Advice to her Niece by Alyt van Bronckhorst uunde Batenborch

Suffering is my finery;
A cloak of suffering sewn for me
Is lined with all the grief I bear.
Oh, help me God, it shows no wear or tear.

If suffering were a joy I’d seldom grieve.
Wherever I go it accompanies me.
The lining is the grief I bear.
Help me, God, this cloak will show no wear or tear.

I see more clearly every day
That I was born for grief and pain.
If I were somehow free of all this misery,
I would be lost eternally.

So I will put all trust and hope
In no one but almighty God,
Who never will leave me alone
As long as I cling to His Word.

From: van Gemert, Lia; Joldersma, Hermina; van Marion, Olga; van der Poel, Dieuwke; Schenkeveld-van der Dussen, Biet (eds.), Women’s Writing from the Low Countries, 1200-1875: A Bilingual Anthology, 2010, Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam, p. 197.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Kj7YsJVHm4MC)

Date: 1586 (original in Dutch); 2010 (translation in English)

By: Alyt van Bronckhorst uunde Batenborch (fl. 1586)

Translated by: Myra J. Heerspink Scholz (1944- )

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Saturday, 18 May 2019

On an Apple by Baha’ al-din Zuhair

Many thanks to my love for the apple she sent;
I can see that a gift so ingenious was meant
To ensure my not keeping whole-hearted ;
For its colour resembles the hue of her cheeks,
And the sip of her lip its fine flavour bespeaks,
While its perfume her touch has imparted.

From: Zuhair, Baha’ al-din and Palmer, E. H. (ed. and transl.), The Poetical Works of Behā-ed-Dīn Zoheir, of Egypt. With a Metrical English Translation, Notes, and Introduction, Volume II, 1877, University Press: Cambridge, p. 40.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=5NveEgFDbJAC)

Date: 13th century (original in Arabic); 1877 (translation in English)

By: Baha’ al-din Zuhair (1186-1258)

Translated by: Edward Henry Palmer (1840-1882)

Friday, 17 May 2019

Kiritsubo I: Kiritsubo no Kōi to the Emperor by Murasaki Shikibu

Now the end has come,
We part along diverging paths,
And one sad desire
Still lies heavy in my heart:
To live, not leave, our life.

From: Cranston, Edwin A. (ed. and transl.), A Waka Anthology: Volume Two – Grasses of Remembrance, Part B, 1993, Stanford University Press: Palo Alto, California, p. 689.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=3RI7XH8bdMoC)

Date: 1000-1012 (original in Japanese); 1993 (translation in English)

By: Murasaki Shikibu (c973 or 978-c1014 or 1031)

Translated by: Edwin Augustus Cranston (1932- )

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Jade Stairs Resentment by Xie Tiao

In the evening hall, the bead curtain is lowered;
Drifting glowworms fly, then rest.
Through the long night, sewing a gossamer dress:
This longing for you—when will it ever cease?

From: Cai, Zong-qi (ed.), How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology, 2008, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 143.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=FFWsAgAAQBAJ)

Date: c490 (original); 2008 (translation)

By: Xie Tiao (464-499)

Translated by: Xiaofei Tian (1971- )

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

For the Sun Has Got As His Lot Labor Every Day by Mimnermus

For the sun has got as his lot labor every day,
nor is there ever any rest for him
or his horses when rosy-fingered Dawn leaves behind
Ocean and climbs up the brightening sky,
for over the wave in a lovely spangled bed, forged
by Hephaistos’ hand of precious gold and winged,
he is borne, delightfully asleep, on the water’s face
from the country of the Hesperides
to the land of the Aithiopians, where his steeds
and swift chariot stand until Dawn,
the early-born, appears, and the son of Hyperion
then mounts and drives away his dazzling car.

From: Fowler, Barbara Hughes (ed. and transl.), Archaic Greek Poetry: An Anthology, 1992, The University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, Wisconsin, p. 86.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Xv14BW-bocYC)

Date: 7th century BCE (original in Greek); 1992 (translation in English)

By: Mimnermus (fl. 630-600 BCE)

Translated by: Barbara Hughes Fowler (1926- )

Monday, 6 May 2019

On Finding Julia, He Greeted Her Thus by Bálint Balassi

(Sung to the Turkish tune “Gerekmez bu Dünya sensuz”)

All the world to me is nothing
If I have thee not, my dearling,
Loveliness with lover meeting;
Health be to thy soul, my sweeting!

Joy thou art to my heart’s sadness,
Blessings of a heavenly witness,
Balm of soul’s desirous madness,
All God’s peace and all its gladness.

Precious fortress, fastness dearest,
Crimson rose of perfume rarest,
Violet daintiest and fairest,
Long be the life thou, Julia, bearest!

As a sunrise thine eyes’ dawning
Under coal-black brows a-burning
Fell upon mine own eyes’ yearning,
Thine, whose life is my life’s morning.

With thy love my heart’s afire,
Thou, the princess of my prayer,
Heart and soul and love entire,
Hail, my soul’s one last desire!

Finding Julia I, enchanted,
Greeted her as here presented,
Bowed in reverence unwonted,
But a smile was all she granted.

From: Ozsváth, Zsuzsanna and Turner, Frederick, Light Within the Shade: 800 Years of Hungarian Poetry, 2014, Syracuse University Press: Syracuse, New York, p. 9.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=l23iAwAAQBAJ)

Date: 1588-1589 (original in Hungarian); 2014 (translation in English)

By: Bálint Balassi (1554-1594)

Translated by: Zsuzsanna Ozsváth (1931- ) and Frederick Turner (1943- )

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Sonnet (The Song of Birds) by Matteo Maria Boiardo

The song of birds which leaps from leaf to leaf,
The scented breeze that runs from flower to flower,
The shining dew that glitters in each bower,
Rejoice our sight and banish thoughts of grief.
It is because She holds all Nature in fief
Whose will is that the world shall live Love’s hour;
Sweet scents and songs – the Spring’s own magic power—
Each stream invade, each wind, each emerald sheaf.
Where’er She walks, She by her gaze enstarred
Brings warmth before due season in her arms;
Love’s kindled in her look and falls in showers;
At her sweet smile or at her sweet regard
The grass grows green and colours paint the flowers,
The sky is clear, the sea is locked in calms.

From: Lind, L. R. (ed.), Lyric Poetry of the Italian Renaissance: An Anthology with Verse Translations, 1964, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, p. 215.
(https://archive.org/details/lyricpoetryofita00lind/)

Date: 15th century (original in Italian); 1951 (translation in English)

By: Matteo Maria Boiardo (1441-1494)

Translated by: Irwin Peter Russell (1921-2003)

Friday, 3 May 2019

Quatrain by Najmuddīn-e Kubrā

What never existed
leaves nothing in the hand
but wind
while “reality”
offers nothing but imperfection
and failure;
that being the case
one can only dream
of what never was
and as for what “really is,”
remember:
it doesn’t exist.

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

Date: 13th century (original in Persian); 1987 (translation in English)

By: Najmuddīn-e Kubrā (1145-1221)

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

Thursday, 2 May 2019

On the Owl by Jia Yi

In the year tan-o,
Fourth month, first month of summer,
The day kuei-tzu, when the sun was low in the west,
An owl came to my lodge
And perched on the corner of my mat,
Phlegmatic and fearless.
Secretly wondering the reason
The strange thing had come to roost,
I took out a book to divine it
And the oracle told me its secret:
“Wild bird enters the hall;
The master will soon depart.”
I asked and importuned the owl,
“Where is it I must go?
Do you bring good luck? Then tell me!
Misfortune? Relate what disaster!
Must I depart so swiftly?
And speak to me of the hour!”
The owl breathed a sigh,
Raised its head and beat its wings.
Its beak could utter no word,
But let me tell you what it sought to say:
All things alter and change,
Never a moment of ceasing,
Revolving, whirling, and rolling away,
Driven far off and returning again,
Form and breath passing onward,
Like the mutations of the cicada.
Profound, subtle, and illimitable,
Who can finish describing it?

Good luck must be followed by bad,
Bad in turn bow to good.
Sorrow and joy throng the gate,
Weal and woe in the same land.
Wu was powerful and great;
Under Fu-ch’a it sank in defeat.
Yüeh was crushed at K’uai-chi,
But Kou-chien made it an overlord.
Li Ssu, who went forth to greatness, at last
Suffered the five mutilations.
Fu Yüeh was sent into bondage,
Yet Wu Ting made him his aide.
Thus fortune and disaster
Entwine like the strands of a rope.
Fate cannot be told of,
For who shall know its ending?
Water, troubled, runs wild;
The arrow, quick-sped, flies far.
All things, whirling and driving,
Compelling and pushing each other, roll on.
The clouds rise up, the rains come down,
In confusion inextricably joined.
The Great Potter fashions all creatures,
Infinite, boundless, limit unknown.
There is no reckoning Heaven,
Nor divining beforehand the Tao.
The span of life is fated;
Man cannot guess its ending.

Heaven and earth are the furnace,
The workman, the Creator;
His coal is the yin and the yang,
His copper, all things of creation.
Joining, scattering, ebbing and flowing,
Where is there persistence or rule?
A thousand, a myriad mutations,
Lacking and end’s beginning.
Suddenly they form a man:
How is this worth taking thought of?
They are transforming again in death:
Should this perplex you?
The witless take pride in his being,
Scorning others, a lover of self.
The man of wisdom sees vastly
And knows what all things will do.
The covetous run after riches,
The impassioned pursue a fair name;
The proud die struggling for power,
While the people long only to live.
Each drawn and driven onward,
They hurry east and west.
The great man is without bent;
A million changes are as one to him.
The stupid man chained by custom
Suffers like a prisoner bound.
The sage abandons things
And joins himself to the Tao alone,
While the multitudes in delusion
With desire and hate load their hearts.
Limpid and still, the true man
Finds his peace in the Tao alone.

Discarding wisdom, forgetful of form,
Transcendent, destroying self,
Vast and empty, swift and wild,
He soars on wings of the Tao.
Borne on the flood he sails forth;
He rests on the river islets.
Freeing his body to Fate,
Unpartaking of self,
His life is a floating,
His death a rest.
And stillness like the stillness of deep springs,
Like an unmoored boat drifting aimlessly,
Valuing not the breath of life,
He embraces and drifts with Nothing.
Comprehending Fate and free of sorrow,
The man of virtue heads no bounds.
Petty matters, weeds and thorns–
What are they to me?

From: https://animus-inviolabilis.tumblr.com/post/134187471822/the-owl-by-chia-yi-201-169-bc-translated

Date: 2nd century BCE (original); 1971 (translation)

By: Jia Yi (c200-169 BCE)

Translated by: Burton Dewitt Watson (1925-2017)

Monday, 29 April 2019

Women by Semonides of Amorgos

She from the steed of wanton mane
Shall spurn all servile toil and pain:
Nor shake the sieve, nor ply the mill
Nor sweep the floor, though dusty still,
Nor near the oven take her seat,
But loathe the ashes, smoke, and heat,
And to her husband profit naught,
Unless by sheer compulsion taught.
Twice, thrice she bathes her through the day,
Washing the slightest soil away;
Perfumes with oils her every limb,
Her tresses combs in order trim;
Tress upon tress, in thickening braid,
While twisted flowers her temples shade.
A goodly sight to strangers’ view,
But he that owns her sore shall rue
The cost I ween, unless he be
Satrap or king and joy in luxury.

Her from an Ape the Maker sent
Man’s evil mate and punishment.
Her visage foul, she walks the streets
The laughing-stock of all she meets.
Scarce her short neck can turn; all slim
And lank and spare; all leg and limb!
Wretched the man who in his breast
Is doomed to fold this female pest!
She, like the Ape, is versed in wiles
And tricking turns; she never smiles,
Obliges none; but ponders still
On mischief-plots and daily ill.

Who gains the creature from the Bee
By fortune favoured most is he:
To her alone, with pointless sting,
Would Scandal impotently cling.
With her his May of life is long;
His days are flourishing and strong.
Beloved, her fond embrace she twines
Round him she loves: with him declines
In fading years; her race is known
For goodly forms and fair renown.

Her decent charms her sex outshine:
Around her flits a grace divine.
She sits not pleased where women crowd,
In amorous tattle, light and loud:
With such the God mankind has blest;
With such the wisest and the best.

From: Miller, Marion Mills (ed.), The Greek Classics: Didactic and Lyric Poetry, Volume Three, 1909, Vincent Parke and Company: New York, pp. 100-101.
(https://archive.org/details/greekclassics03milluoft/)

Date: 7th century BCE (original in Greek); 1814 (translation in English)

By: Semonides of Amorgos (7th century BCE)

Translated by: Charles Abraham Elton (1778-1853)