Archive for ‘Translation’

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Wanting to Preserve by Fujiwara no Tamekane (Kyōgoku Tamekane)

Wanting to preserve
the seeds of the human heart
for eternity,
we return to the deep past —
the source of words in Japanese.

From: Hamill, Sam, Only Companion: Japanese Poems of Love and Longing, 2013, Shambhala: Boston & London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=f2CR_F6m360C)

Date: c1300 (original in Japanese); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Fujiwara no Tamekane (Kyōgoku Tamekane) (1254-1332)

Translated by: Sam Hamill (1943- )

Saturday, 24 June 2017

I Am He Whom I Love by Mansur al-Hallaj

I am He whom I love,
and He whom I love is I:
We are two spirits
dwelling in one body.
If thou seest me,
thou seest Him,
And if thou seest Him,
thou seest us both

From: https://allpoetry.com/Mansur-Al-Hallaj

Date: 9th century (original in Arabic); 1914 (translation in English)

By: Mansur al-Hallaj (c858-922)

Translated by: Reynold Alleyne Nicholson (1868-1945)

Friday, 23 June 2017

Save Water, Prodike by Rufinus

Save water, Prodike-
bath with a friend!
We’ll crown each other with foam,
and knock back some champagne.
We haven’t all that long
before our wrinkles mean
we’re past our shag-by date –
not just that the water is too hot.

From: http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=16942

Date: ?3rd century (original in Greek); 2005 (translation in English)

By: Rufinus (?3rd century)

Translated by: Neil Philip (19??-)

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Dispute Between Day and Night by Abu Mansur Ali ibn Ahmad Asadi Tusi

Day and Night, who each can yield
Joy and solace to the earth,
Thus contended for the field,
Claiming both the highest birth—
Night spoke frowningly: ”Twas I
Who from all eternity
Ruled the chaos of the world,
When in dim confusion hurled.
The fervent prayer is heard at night;
Devotion flies day’s glaring light.
Twas night, the Mount when Moses left;
At night was Lot avenged by fire:
At night the moon our prophet cleft,
And saw Heaven’s might revealed entire.
The lovely moon for thirty days
Spreads radiant glory from afar:
Her charms for ever night displays,
Crowned, like a queen, with many a star:
Her seal-bearer is Heav’n, a band
Of planets wait on her command.
Day can but paint the skies with blue,
Night’s starry hosts amaze the view.
Man measures time but by the moon;
Night shrouds what day reveals too soon.
Day is with toil and care oppressed,
Night comes, and with her, gentle rest.
Day, busy still, no praise can bring,
All night the saints their anthems sing;
Her shade is cast by Gabriel’s wing!

The moon is pure, the sun’s broad face
Dark and unsightly spots deface:
The sun shines on with changeless glare,
The moon is ever new and fair.’

Day rose, and smiled in high disdain:
‘Cease all this boasting, void and vain;
The Lord of heaven, and earth, and thee,
Gave me a place more proud than thine,
And men with joy my rising see,
And hail the beams that round me shine.
The holy pilgrim takes by day
To many a sacred shrine his way;
By day the pious fast and pray;
And solemn feasts are held by day.

On the last day the world’s career is run,
As on the first its being was begun.

Thou, Night, art friendly, it may be,
For lovers fly for help to thee.
When do the sick thy healing see?

Thieves, by thy aid, may scatheless prowl;
Sacred to thee the bat and owl;
And, led by thee, pale spectres grimly howl!

I sprang from heaven, from dust art thou;
Light crowns my head with many a gem,
The collier’s cap is on thy brow—
For thee a fitting diadem.
My presence fills the world with joy;
Thou com’st all comfort to annoy.
I am a Moslem white my vest:
Thou a vile thief, in sable drest
Out, negro-face ! dar’st thou compare
Thy cheeks with mine, so purely fair?
Those ” hosts of stars,” thy boast and pride,
How do they rush their sparks to hide,
How to their native darkness run,
When, in his glory, comes the sun!

True, death was first; but, tell me, who
Thinks life least worthy of the two?
‘Tis by the moon the Arab counts;
The lordly Persian tells his year
By the bright sun, that proudly mounts
The yielding heavens, so wide and clear.
The sun is ruddy, strong, and hale;
The moon is sickly, wan, and pale.
Methinks ’twas ne’er in story told
That silver had the worth of gold!
The moon, a slave, is bowed and bent,
She knows her light is only lent;
She hurries on, the way to clear
Till the great Shah himself appear

What canst thou, idle boaster, say
To prove the night excels the day?
If stubborn still, let Him decide
With whom all truth and law abide;
Let Nasur Ahmed, wise as great,
Pronounce, and give to each his state.’

From: Costello, Louisa Stuart, The Rose Garden of Persia, 1899, Gibbings and Company, London, pp. 48-53.
(https://archive.org/details/rosegardenofpers00costiala)

Date: c1070 (original in Persian); 1845 (translation in English)

By: Abu Mansur Ali ibn Ahmad Asadi Tusi (c1000-c1080)

Translated by: Louisa Stuart Costello (1779-1870)

Monday, 12 June 2017

The High Immortal Gods are Free by Bacchylides

The high immortal gods are free
From taint of man’s infirmity;
Nor pale diseases round them wait,
Nor pain distracts their tranquil state.

From: Merivale, John Herman, Poems, Original and Translated, Volume 1, 1838, William Pickering: London, p. 238.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=lsZJAAAAIAAJ)

Date: 5th century BCE (original in Greek); 1813 (translation in English)

By: Bacchylides (5th century BCE)

Translated by: John Herman Merivale (1779-1844)

Sunday, 4 June 2017

[Love’s Poverty] by Paulus Silentiarius

Locked in Hippomenes’ kisses,
my heart clings to Leander;

wet with Leander’s lips,
Xanthus leaps to mind;

lying with Xanthus,
who should I dream but Hippomenes!

One after another,
I love my lovers,

but in the arms of each,
long for others.

Say what you will of me,
I know nothing

of love’s poverty.

From: Hamill, Sam, The Infinite Moment: Poems from Ancient Greek, 1992, New Directions: New York, p. 80.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=uH5R8Ar1oscC)

Date: c550 (original in Greek); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Paulus Silentiarius (d. 575-580)

Translated by: Sam Hamill (1943- )

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Sick Wife by Anonymous

She had been ill for years and years;
She sent for me to say something.
She couldn’t say what she wanted
Because of the tears that kept coming of themselves.
“I have burdened you with orphan children,
With orphan children two or three.
Don’t let our children go hungry or cold;
If they do wrong, don’t slap or beat them.
When you take out the baby, rock it in your arms.
Don’t forget to do that.”
Last she said,
“When I carried them in my arms they had no clothes
And now their jackets have no linings.”

[She dies.]

I shut the doors and barred the windows
And left the motherless children.
When I got to the market and met my friends, I wept.
I sat down and could not go with them.
I asked them to buy some cakes for my children.
In the presence of my friends I sobbed and cried.
I tried not to grieve, but sorrow would not cease.
I felt in my pocket and gave my friends some money.
When I got home I found my children
Calling to be taken into their mother’s arms.
I walked up and down in the empty room
This way and that a long while.
Then I went away from it and said to myself
“I will forget and never speak of her again.”

From: Waley, Arthur, A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, 1918, Constable and Company: London, pp. 29-30.
(http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42290)

Date: 1st century BCE (original); 1918 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Arthur David Waley (1889-1966)

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Riddle XVI [The Bookworm] by Caelius Firmanius Symphosius

I thrive on letters yet no letters know,
I live in books, the made more studious so,
Devour the Muses, but no wiser grow.

From: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Symphosius/16*.html

Date: ?5th century (original in Latin); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Caelius Firmanius Symphosius (?5th century)

Translated by: Elizabeth Hickman du Bois Peck (1870-19??)

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Autumn Wind by Wu Ti

Autumn wind rises: white clouds fly.
Grass and trees wither: geese go south.
Orchids all in bloom: chrysanthemums smell sweet.
I think of my lovely lady: I never can forget.
Floating-pagoda boat crosses Fen River.
Across the mid-stream white waves rise;
Flute and drum keep time to sound of rowers’ song;
Amidst revel and feasting, sad thoughts come;
Youth’s years how few! Age how sure!

From: http://www.potw.org/archive/potw315.html

Date: c175 BCE (original); 1919 (translation)

By: Wu Ti (157-187 BCE)

Translated by: Arthur David Waley (1889-1966)

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Pythia 8 by Pindar

Hesychia, kind goddess of peace, daughter
of Justice and lady of the greatness of cities:
you who hold the high keys
of wars and of councils,
accept for Aristomenes this train of Pythian victory.
For you understand, in strict measure of season,
deeds of gentleness and their experience likewise.

And you, when one fixes
anger without pity fast in his heart,
are stern to encounter
the strength of the hateful ones, and sink
pride in the bilge. Porphyrion understood you not
when wantonly he vexed you. Gain is sweet
if one carry it from the house of him who gives in good will.

But violence and high vaunting fail at the last.
Typhon the Kilikian, the hundred-headed, avoided not this,
nor yet the king of the Giants. They were smitten down by the thunderbolt
and the bow of Apollo, who now in mood of kindness
has received Xenarkes’ son, home from Kirrha and garlanded
with leaves of Parnassos and with song in the Dorian strain.

This island, that in its city’s
righteousness has touched
the famed valors of the Aiakidai, has not
fallen away from the Graces. She keeps
glory perfect from the beginning and is sung of many
for her shaping of heroes that surpassed in excellence
of games, and in the speed of their fighting, also.

These things shine in her men likewise.
In my haste I cannot lay
leisure of long-drawn speech
on the lyre and the soft singing,
lest surfeit come to vex. Let your own need, my child,
and your youngest splendors run the path at my feet,
made a thing of speed by my fashioning.

For at wrestling you go the way of your mother’s brethren,
nor shame Theognetos at Olympia,
nor Kleitomachos’ victory of tough limbs at Isthmos.
Prospering the city of the Meidylidai, you wear the saying
Oikleos’ son spoke darkly once, as he watched
the young men enduring the spears in the seven gates of Thebes,

when the latter-born came again
to Argos, a second journey.
Thus he spoke, in their striving:
“The heritage of valor from their fathers shines
through in the sons’ blood. I gaze in wonder and see plain
Alkmaon steering the spangled snake on his bright
shield, foremost in the gates of Kadmos.

“And he that flinched in that first disaster,
the hero Adrastos, now
goes compassed by message of augury
more favorable. Yet in his own house
otherwise shall he fare. Alone out of the Danaan host,
he shall gather the ashes of his son perished, and by the gods’ chance
shall come home with the rest of his people scatheless

“to the wide streets of the city of Abas.” Thus
the voice of Amphiaraos. And I also take joy
to cast a garland on Alkmaon and drench him in song.
He is my neighbor and the keeper of my possessions;
he met me in the way as I went to the singing centerstone of the earth,
and with the sooth that is his by blood made prophecy.

But you, archer of the far cast, lord
of the famed temple, where all gather,
in the deep folds of Pytho,
have granted this boy delight that is highest;
and, aforetime, a gift to fold in the arms,
you brought him home in triumph of your own five-contests.
My lord, I pray you that of my heart’s will

I look on each thing in my course
even as you look also.
Justice herself stands over
the sweet singing in celebration; but I ask, Xenarkes,
the gods’ gaze unresentful upon your fortunes.
For if one, even without long-drawn labors, compass splendors,
to many he seems as a wise man among fools

to crown his life with device and straight counsels.
Yet this lies not with men; God’s luck is the giver,
that casts one man now aloft, and yet another beneath his hand.
Come back to measure. You have your prize at Megara,
and in the recess of Marathon; and with three successes,
Aristomenes, you have won at home the games of Hera.

And above four bodies you threw
your weight and your rage.
To these lads was ordained
at the Pythiad no delightful homefaring,
nor, as they came to their mothers, did laughter break sweetly about them
to stir delight. Down back ways, avoiding mockers,
they skulk, all stricken with their sad fortune.

But he that has won some new
splendor, in high pride
of hope rides the air
on the wings of his man’s strength, and keeps
desire beyond his wealth. In brief space mortals’
delight is exalted, and thus again it drops to the ground,
shaken by a backward doom.

We are things of a day. What are we? What are we not ? The shadow of a dream
is man, no more. But when the brightness comes, and God gives it,
there is a shining of light on men, and their life is sweet.
Aigina, dear mother, bring this city to haven
in free guise, by Zeus’ aid and strong Aiakos’,
Peleus and goodly Telamon aiding, and with Achilles.

From: Pindar and Lattimore, Richmond (ed.), The Odes of Pindar, 1947, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, pp. 77-80.
(https://archive.org/details/odesofpindar035276mbp)

Date: 446 BCE (original in Greek); 1942 (translation in English)

By: Pindar (c522-c443 BCE)

Translated by: Richmond Alexander Lattimore (1906-1984)