Archive for ‘Translation’

Monday, 15 July 2019

Sonnet [I Love the First Shiver of Winter] by Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay

I love the first shiver of winter! That day
When the stubble resists the hunter’s foot,
When magpies settle on fields fragrant with hay,
And deep in the old chateau, the hearth is lit.

That’s the city time. I remember last year,
I came back and saw the good Louvre and its dome,
Paris and its smoke—that whole realm so dear.
(I can still hear the postilions shouting, “We’re home!”)

I loved the gray weather, the strollers, the Seine
Under a thousand lanterns, sovereign!
I’d see winter, and you, my love, you!

Madame, I’d steep my soul in your glances,
But did I even realize the chances
That soon your heart would change for me too?

From: Rogow, Zack, “Three Poems by Alfred de Musset” in Transference, Volume 6, Issue 1, Article 15, 2008, p. 66.
(https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/transference/vol6/iss1/15)

Date: 1829 (original in French), 2008 (translation in English)

By: Alfred Louis Charles de Musset-Pathay (1810-1857)

Translated by: Zack Rogow (1952- )

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Sunday, 14 July 2019

The Marseillaise by Paul Déroulède

Have pity on yourselves and cease that song;
In silence, when the hour comes, march along
Like vanquished heroes whose undaunted breath
Whispers one word: ‘Revenge!’ — or haply ‘Death!’

Yet hear the accursëd story and be stirred:
Or if your ears in bygone days have heard
On many a trembling tongue the twice-told tale
‘Tis well; no need drive home the hammered nail!

You love, no doubt you love, our people’s hymn?
You love its sacred rage, its transports grim:
And, like proud sons, you feel in its song-fires
The quenchless spirit of your puissant sires.
Its rousing voice recalls our flag unfurled,
Floating to the four corners of the world,
Nations struck dumb and kings that looked askance;
You think of that? Our great and glorious France!
Think of this too, the day of our defeat,
Sedan — a name that with bowed heads you greet —
Frenchmen, remember in that surge of woes,
When conquered France surrendered to her foes,
When in crushed souls our soldiers bore unmanned
The mangled ghost of the poor fatherland,
When all was lost and leaving the fought field
Our troops, disarmed, were forced at last to yield —
O unforgotten blow! O worst of evil days!
Loud from the Prussian trumpets shrilled the Marseillaise!

From: Robertson, William John (ed. and transl.), A Century of French Verse: Brief biographical and critical notices of thirty-three French poets of the nineteenth century with experimental translations from their poems, 1895, A. D. Innes & Co.: London, p. 299.
(https://archive.org/details/centuryoffrenchv00roberich/)

Date: 1872 (original in French); 1895 (translation in English)

By: Paul Déroulède (1846-1914)

Translated by: William John Robertson (1846-1894)

Saturday, 13 July 2019

The Dark Blot [Le Point Noir] by Gérard de Nerval (Labrunie)

He who has gazed against the sun sees everywhere
he looks thereafter, palpitating on the air
before his eyes, a smudge that will not go away.

So in my days of still-youth, my audacity,
I dared look on the splendor momentarily.
The dark blot on my greedy eyes has come to stay.

Since when, worn like a badge of mourning in the sight
of all around me where my eye may chance to light,
I see the dark smudge settle upon everyone.

Forever thus between my happiness and me?
Alas for us, the eagle only, only he
can look, and not be hurt, on splendor and the sun.

From: Flores, Angel (ed.), The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry from Nerval to Valéry in English Translation, 2000, Anchor Books: New York, pp. 8-9.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/The_Anchor_Anthology_of_French_Poetry.html?id=nKOmHZXl5JgC)

Date: 1853 (original in French); 1958 (translation in English)

By: Gérard de Nerval (Labrunie) (1808-1855)

Translated by: Richmond Alexander Lattimore (1906-1984)

Monday, 1 July 2019

A Fragment [Doing, a Filthy Pleasure Is, and Short] by Gaius Petronius Arbiter

Doing, a filthy pleasure is, and short;
and done, we straight repent us of the sport:
let us not rush blindly on unto it,
like lustful beasts, that only know to do it:
for lust will languish, and that heat decay,
but thus, thus, keeping endless holy-day,
let us together closely lie, and kiss,
there is no labor, nor no shame in this;
this hath pleased, doth please and long will please; never can this decay,
but is beginning ever.

From: Roetzheim, William (ed.), The Giant Book of Poetry, 2006, Level Four Press, San Diego, California, p. 33.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=b90iAAAACAAJ)

Date: c60 (original in Latin); 1640 (translation in English)

By: Gaius Petronius Arbiter (c27-66)

Translated by: Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

Saturday, 29 June 2019

In These Dark Waters by Maeda Ringai

In these dark waters
drawn up from
my frozen well…
glittering of spring.

From: Beilenson, Peter (ed. and transl.), Japanese Haiku, 1955, Peter Pauper Press: Mount Vernon, New York, p. 7.
(https://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/jh/index.htm)

Date: c1890 (original in Japanese); 1955 (translation in English)

By: Maeda Ringai (1864-1946)

Translated by: Peter Beilenson (1905-1962)

Friday, 28 June 2019

Moon Sitting by Hui Yung

High mountain cascades froth.
This wild temple owns few lamps.
Sit facing the glitter
of the moon: out of season
heart of ice.

From: Seaton, Jerome P. and Maloney, Dennis (eds.), A Drifting Poet: An Anthology of Chinese Zen Poetry, 1994, White Pine Press: Fredonia, New York, p. 19.
(https://books.google.com.au/books/about/A_drifting_boat.html?id=cUNkAAAAMAAJ)

Date: 4th century (original); 1994 (translation)

By: Hui Yung (332-414)

Translated by: Jerome P. Seaton (1941- )

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Take From My Palms Some Sun to Bring You Joy by Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam

Take from my palms some sun to bring you joy
and take a little honey – so the bees
of cold Persephone commanded us.

No loosing of the boat that is not moored,
no hearing of the shadow shod in fur,
no overcoming fear in life’s dense wood.

And kisses are all that’s left us now,
kisses as hairy as the little bees
who perish if they fly out of the hive.

They rustle in transparent depths of night,
their home dense forests on Taigetos’ slopes,
their food is honeysuckle, mint and time.

So for your joy receive my savage gift,
a dry and homely necklace of dead bees
who have transmuted honey into sun.

November 1920

From: http://www.stosvet.net/12/france/

Date: 1920 (original in Russian); 2011 (translation in English)

By: Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891-1938)

Translated by: Peter France (1935- )

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

On Transience by Gavrila Derzhavin

Time’s river in its rushing course
carries away all human things,
drowns in oblivion’s abyss
peoples and kingdoms and their kings.

And if the trumpet or the lyre
should rescue something, small or great,
eternity will gulp it down
and it will share the common fate.

(July 1816, written on a slate a few days or perhaps only hours before Derzhavin’s death)

From: Chandler, Robert; Dralyuk, Boris; and Mashinski, Irina (eds.), The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, 2015, Penguin Random House UK: London, p. 28.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=V8xbBAAAQBAJ)

Date: 1816 (original in Russian); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Gavrila Derzhavin (1743-1816)

Translated by: Peter France (1935- )

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Other Fabrics, Other Mores! by Anna Maria Malmstedt Lenngren

‘When I was young,’ said Aunt to me,
‘Women then, about the year
Seventeen-thirty, Betty dear,
Dressed in decent linsey-woolsey!
No painted faces would find,
Nor flimsy gowns on womenfolk.
The fairer sex possessed a mind
Of sturdy fabric, like her cloak.
Now all is different in our lives–
Other fabrics, other mores!
Taffetas, indecent stories
Of young girls as well as wives!
The path of lust they boldly walk;
Shameless manners, daring ways,
Make-up, muslins, brazen talk
Go hand-in-hand with modern days.’

From: Cosman, Carol; Keefe, Joan and Weaver, Kathleen (eds.), The Penguin Book of Women Poets, 1978, Penguin Books: London, p. 251.
(https://archive.org/details/womenpoetspengui00vari/)

Date: c1780 (original in Swedish); 1975 (translation in English)

By: Anna Maria Malmstedt Lenngren (1754-1819)

Translated by: Nadia Christensen (19??- ) and Mariann Tiblin (19??- )

Monday, 10 June 2019

To Her Portrait by Juana Inés de la Cruz

This coloured counterfeit that thou beholdest,
vainglorious with the excellencies of art,
is, in fallacious syllogisms of colour,
nought but a cunning dupery of sense;

this in which flattery has undertaken
to extenuate the hideousness of years,
and, vanquishing the outrages of time,
to triumph o’er oblivion and old age,

is an empty artifice of care,
is a fragile flower in the wind,
is a paltry sanctuary from fate,

is a foolish sorry labour lost,
is conquest doomed to perish and, well taken,
is corpse and dust, shadow and nothingness.

From: http://bourguignomicon.blogspot.com/2013/01/to-her-portrait-by-sor-juana-ines-de-la.html

Date: c1685 (original in Spanish); 1965 (translation in English)

By: Juana Inés de la Cruz (1652-1695)

Translated by: Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)