Archive for ‘Translation’

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Lament Not, Wayfarer by Carphyllidas

Lament not, wayfarer, that passest by my tomb;
not even in death have I any cause for tears.
Children’s children do I leave:
with one wife was I blessed, whose years were as my own.
Three sons I gave in marriage,
and oft have I rocked their children on my breast.
Nor death nor sickness of one of them all have I bewailed,
but they have given me due rites of funeral, and sent me
to sleep the sleep delectable, in the land of the leal.

From: Tomson, Graham R. (ed.), Selections from the Greek Anthology, 1895, Walter Scott: London, p. 95.
(https://archive.org/details/selectionsfromgr00wats)

Date: 1st century BCE (original in Greek); 1895 (translation in English)

By: Carphyllidas (1st century BCE)

Translated by: Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Mad Exit by Vasile “Vasko” Popa

They scare me by saying
There’s a screw loose in my head

They scare me more by saying
They’ll bury me
In a box with the screws loose

They scare me but little do they realise
That my loose screws
Scare them

The happy crazy from our street
Boasts to me.

From: http://www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk/vaskopopa.htm

Date: c1975 (original in Serbian); 1996 (translation in English)

By: Vasile “Vasko” Popa (1922-1991)

Translated by: Anthony Weir (1941- )

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Ghazal by Khāqānī (Afzaladdin Badil (Ibrahim) ibn Ali Nadjar)

lovers seek none other
than a risk-all lover.
good hearts only want
an all-or-nothing lover.
while love reigns, reason is under ban
for folk won’t tolerate rival claims in love’s domain.
there are those like mé with nothing left them
but clipped wings and
wide eyes fixed on flame.
stoke-hearts fired to flame, ẃe
are but moths driven to love’s flame.
yet you’ll not catch me flying
outside my love’s sacrosanct seraglio.
they don’t call that soul-searing spike
oppression. they seek not shrieks
from that world-burning tulip.
should I be slain by the flirt,
of her eyes twain lovely, take care—
lest lovers want my blood’s spurt
for her twin twinkling eyes.
this is the moral law in the lovers’ church:
none shall seek to gain
blood-price for those love in slain.
speak not a word to Khāqānī
‘less its main line be love,
lovers won’t hear a song sung
from the nightingale’s tongue
‘less roses be in bloom and spring be sprung.

From: Martin, David, “Selected Ghazaliyat (Love Poems) Translated from the Classical Persian of Khaqani, Sa’di, and Rumi”, 1984, Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 15(1), pp. 17-18.
(https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6qg479xf)

Date: 12th century (original in Persian); 1984 (translation in English)

By: Khāqānī (Afzaladdin Badil (Ibrahim) ibn Ali Nadjar) (1121/1122-1190)

Translated by: David Martin (1944- )

Monday, 6 August 2018

Upon That Day When First I Saw Thy Face by Angelo Ambrogini (Poliziano)

Upon that day when first I saw thy face,
I vowed with loyal love to worship thee.
Move, and I move; stay, and I keep my place:
Whate’er thou dost, will I do equally.

In joy of thine I find most perfect grace,
And in thy sadness dwells my misery:
Laugh, and I laugh; weep, and I too will weep.
Thus Love commands, whose laws I loving keep.

Nay, be not over-proud of thy great grace,
Lady! for brief time is thy thief and mine.
White will he turn those golden curls, that lace
Thy forehead and thy neck so marble-fine.
Lo! while the flower still flourisheth apace,
Pluck it: for beauty but awhile doth shine.
Fair is the rose at dawn; but long ere night
Her freshness fades, her pride hath vanished quite.

Fire, fire! Ho, water! for my heart’s afire!
Ho, neighbours! help me, or by God I die!
See, with his standard, that great lord, Desire!
He sets my heart aflame: in vain I cry.
Too late, alas! The flames mount high and higher.
Alack, good friends! I faint, I fail, I die.
Ho! water, neighbours mine! no more delay I
My heart’s a cinder if you do but stay.

Lo, may I prove to Christ a renegade,
And, dog-like, die in pagan Barbary;
Nor may God’s mercy on my soul be laid,
If ere for aught I shall abandon thee:
Before all-seeing God this prayer be made—
When I desert thee, may death feed on me:
Now if thy hard heart scorn these vows, be sure
That without faith none may abide secure.

I ask not, Love, for any other pain
To make thy cruel foe and mine repent,
Only that thou shouldst yield her to the strain
Of these my arms, alone, for chastisement;
Then would I clasp her so with might and main,
That she should learn to pity and relent,
And, in revenge for scorn and proud despite,
A thousand times I’d kiss her forehead white.

Not always do fierce tempests vex the sea,
Nor always clinging clouds offend the sky;
Cold snows before the sunbeams haste to flee,
Disclosing flowers that ‘neath their whiteness lie;
The saints each one doth wait his day to see,
And time makes all things change; so, therefore, I
Ween that ’tis wise to wait my turn, and say,
That who subdues himself, deserves to sway.

From: Symonds, John Addington, Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, 1914, John Murray: London, pp. 312-314.
(http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18893/18893-h/ii.html)

Date: c1470 (original in Italian); 1879 (translation in English)

By: Angelo Ambrogini (Poliziano) (1454-1494)

Translated by: John Addington Symonds (1840-1893)

Sunday, 5 August 2018

An Ocean Without Shore by Muhyiddin ibn ‘Arabi

I marveled at an Ocean without shore,
and at a Shore that did not have an ocean;
And at a Morning Light without darkness,
and at a Night that was without daybreak;
And then a Sphere with no locality
known to either fool or learned scholar;
And at an azure Dome raised over the earth,
circulating ’round its center – Compulsion;
And at a rich Earth without o’er-arching vault
and no specific location, the Secret concealed…

I courted a Secret which existence did not alter;
for it was asked of me: “Has Thought enchanted you? ”
– To which I replied: “I have no power over that;
I counsel you: Be patient with it while you live.
But, truly, if Thought becomes established
in my mind, the embers kindle into flame,
And everything is given up to fire
the like of which was never seen before!”
And it was said to me: “He does not pluck a flower
who calls himself with courtesy ‘Freeborn’.”
“He who woos the belle femme in her boudoir, love-beguiled,
will never deem the bridal-price too high!”

I gave her the dower and was given her in marriage
throughout the night until the break of Dawn –
But other than Myself I did not find. – Rather,
that One whom I married – may his affair be known:
For added to the Sun’s measure of light
are the radiant New Moon and shining Stars;
Like Time, dispraised – though the Prophet (Blessings on him!)
had once declared of your Lord that He is Time.

From: http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/articles/elmore.html

Date: 1200 (original in Arabic); 1999 (translation in English)

By: Muhyiddin ibn ‘Arabi (1165-1240)

Translated by: Gerald Elmore (19??- )

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Has the One You Love by Ki no Akimine

Has the one you love
left for a summer retreat
in distant mountains
oh nightingale—is that why
you raise your sorrowful cries?

From: Rodd, Laura Rasplica with Henkenius, Mary Catherine (ed. and transl.), Kokinshū: A Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern, 2004, Cheng & Tsui Company: Boston, p. 93.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Lp_M3Qq88PkC)

Date: c890 (original in Japanese); 1984 (translation in English)

By: Ki no Akimine (9th century)

Translated by: Laurel Rasplica Rodd (19??- )

Friday, 3 August 2018

Feelings of Melancholy by Feng Yanji/Yansi

Who says that pop-up feelings
can be discarded for long?
When spring comes, my
melancholy remains strong.
I often drown myself with wine
In front of the flowers every day.
I care little that the image in the
mirror shows a thinner face.

So green is the grass by the riverside.
Willows on the bank look so nice.
Why then year after year,
new sorrow always comes along?
Standing alone by the little bridge,
I feel as though the wind fills my sleeves.
After everybody has gone home,
I see over the wooded plain the crescent moon.

From: https://www.poetry-chinese.com/13.html

Date: c930 (original) 2012 (translation)

By: Feng Yanji/Yansi (903-960)

Translated by: Edward C. Chang (19??- )

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Lines 175-189 from “The Braggard Captain” by Titus Maccius Plautus

As I hope heav’n’s love,
‘Twere fit the Gods should order and provide,
That all men should not hold their lives alike,
Squar’d by one rule: but as a price is fix’d
On different wares, that so they may be sold
According to their value;—that the bad
Its owner may impoverish by its vileness
So it were just, the Gods in human life
Should make distinction due, and disproportion;
That on the well-disposed they should bestow
A long extent of years; the reprobate
And wicked they should soon deprive of life.
Were this provided, bad men would be fewer,
Less hardily they’d act their wicked deeds
Nor would there be a dearth of honest men.

From: Plautus, Titus Maccius and Thornton, Bonnell (ed. and transl.), The Comedies of Plautus, translated into familiar blank verse, Volume the First, 1772, J. Lister for T. Becket and P. A. de Hondt; R. Baldwin, T. Davies; and R. Davies: London, pp. 183-184.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=jOgIAAAAQAAJ)

Date: c200 BCE (original in Latin); 1767 (translation in English)

By: Titus Maccius Plautus (c254 BCE-184 BCE)

Translated by: Bonnell Thornton (1725-1768)

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The Grasshoppers by Stesichorus

Day after day, and year by year,
Chattering, chirping, far and near,
Some Grasshoppers a house surround
And din the owner with the sound.
These grasshoppers delight in trees
To chirp and chatter at their ease:
So quoth our friend, “You villain vermin!
This nuisance I’ll at once determine:
Your Trees I’ll fell, and then you may
In humbler quarters sing away!”

Hush, Locrians! or far and near
Dwellings and Trees may disappear;
Then Grasshoppers, ill-omen’d sound,
Shall sing to You,—and from the ground.

From: Stesichorus and Bromhead, Edward Ffrench (ed. and transl.), The Remains of Stesichorus, in an English Version, 1849,  p. 23.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=NkwEAAAAQAAJ)

Date: 6th century BCE (original in Greek); 1849 (translation in English)

By: Stesichorus (c630 BCE-555 BCE)

Translated by: Edward Thomas Ffrench Bromhead (1789-1855)

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Sonnet: Oft on the Recollection Sweet I Dwell by Lorenzo de’ Medici

Oft on the recollection sweet I dwell,
Yea, never from my mind can aught efface
The dress my mistress wore, the time, the place,
Where first she fixed my eyes in rapture’s spell.

How she then looked, thou, Love, rememberest well,
For thou her side hast never ceased to grace,
Her gentle air, her meek, angelic face
The power of language and of thought excel.

As o’er the mountain peaks deep-clad in snow
Apollo pours a flood of golden light,
So down her snowy vesture streamed her hair:

The time and place how vain it were to show!
It must be day where shines a sun so bright,
And paradise where dwells a form so fair.

From: Strong, Charles (ed. and transl.), Specimens of Sonnets from the Most Celebrated Italian Poets; with Translations, 1827, John Murray: London, p. 11.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=3RssAAAAMAAJ)

Date: c1480 (original in Italian); 1827 (translation in English)

By: Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449-1492)

Translated by: Charles Strong (1785-1864)