Archive for ‘Translation’

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Perth: Riverside with Swans by Kim Young-Moo

I want to build a nest and spend some time here.
Becoming a water bird

I want to visit that forest of masts
across the river, moored with sails furled.

No matter how dazzlingly the lake waters
shine somewhere in the sky

today,
I want to go flying

low, low
over the blue rippling waves

feeling the wind blowing on my breast
like a bare winter tree

on some snow-covered mountain slope.

From: http://cordite.org.au/essays/kim-young-moon-and-perth/

Date: 2001 (original); 2001 (translation)

By: Kim Young-Moo (1944-2001)

Translated by: Brother Anthony of Taizé (1942- ) and Jongsook Lee (1952- )

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Summer by Ko Un

The sightless sunflower follows the sun.
The sightless moonflower blossoms in moonlight.
Foolishness.
That’s all they know.
Dragonflies fly by day
beetles by night.

From: http://apjjf.org/-Brother-Anthony-of-Taize-/3420/article.html

Date: 19?? (original in Korean); 1997 (translation in English)

By: Ko Un (1933- )

Translated by: Brother Anthony of Taizé (1942- ) and Kim Young-Moo (1944-2001)

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Life to be Enjoyed by Bion of Smyrna

If sweet my songs, or these sufficient be
Which I have sung to give renown to me,
I know not: but it misbeseems to strain
At things we have not learned, and toil in vain.
If sweet these songs are not, what profit more
Have I to labour at them o’er and o’er?
If Saturn’s son, and changeful Fate, assigned
A double life-time to our mortal kind,
That one in joys and one in woes be past,
Who had his woes first would have joys at last.
But since Heaven wills one life to man should fall,
And this is very brief — too brief for all
We think to do, why should we fret and moil,
And vex ourselves with never-ending toil?
To what end waste we life, exhaust our health
On gainful arts and sigh for greater wealth?
We surely all forget our mortal state —
How brief the life allotted us by Fate!

From: Chapman, M. J. (transl.), The Greek Pastoral Poets, Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus. Done into English, 1836, James Fraser: London, pp. 273-274.
(https://archive.org/details/greekpastoralpo00biongoog)

Date: c100 BCE (original in Greek); 1836 (translation in English)

By: Bion of Smyrna (fl. c100 BCE)

Translated by: Matthew James Chapman (1796-1865)

Friday, 22 September 2017

Madrigal by Chiara Matraini

When first encountering this beautiful sight,
my lord, I am engulfed by an icy flame
that little by little burns and destroys me from within.
Yet so sweet is that fire
that my heart rejoices even as my soul shatters,
and if the one gives it place
the other truly detests the sound.
So I do not understand if I live or die,
while I go on offending myself with pleasure.

From: Matraini, Chiara and Maclachlan, Elaine (ed. and transl.), Selected Poetry and Prose : A Bilingual Edition, 2014, University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London, p. 49.

Date: 1555 (original in Italian); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Chiara Matraini (1515-1604)

Translated by: Elaine Maclachlan (19??- )

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Story from “The Epic of Gilgamesh” by Anonymous

of him who knew the most of all men know;
who made the journey; heartbroken; reconciled;

who knew the way things were before the Flood,
the secret things, the mystery; who went

to the end of the earth, and over; who returned,
and wrote the story on a tablet of stone.

He built Uruk. He built the keeping place
of Anu and Ishtar. The outer wall

shines in the sun like brightest copper; the inner
wall is beyond the imagining of kings.

Study the brickwork, study the fortification;
climb the great ancient staircase to the terrace;

study how it is made; from the terrace see
the planted and fallow fields, the ponds and orchards.

This is Uruk, the city of Gilgamesh
the Wild Ox, son of Lugalbanda, son

of the Lady Wildcow Ninsun, Gilgamesh
the vanguard and the rear guard of the army,

Shadow of Darkness over the enemy field,
the Web, the Flood that rises to wash away

the walls of alien cities, Gilgamesh
the strongest one of all, the perfect, the terror.

It is he who opened passes through the mountains;
and he who dug deep wells on the mountainsides;

who measured the world; and sought out Utnapishtim
beyond the world; it is he who restored the shrines;

two-thirds a god, one-third a man, the king.
Go to the temple of Anu and Ishtar:

open the copper chest with the iron locks;
the tablet of lapis lazuli tells the story.

From: Ferry, David, Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse, 1993, Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, pp. 3-4.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=iTClBAAAQBAJ)

Date: c1200 BCE (original in Akkadian); 1991 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: David Ferry (1924- )

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Death-Bed Song of Meilyr, the Poet [Fragment] by Meilyr Brydydd

Great store had I of satin and of gold
From generous lords who loved my art of old;
But silent now are all my hero lays,
Love’s poignant spell my harp no longer sways.
While I, the Poet Meilyr, supplicate
Peter for entrance at The Heavenly Gate,
And sing aloud of that Last Day and dread,
When Earth and Sea shall render forth their dead.

From: Graves, Alfred Perceval (transl. and ed.), Welsh Poetry Old and New in English Verse, 1912, Longmans, Green and Co: London, p. 15      .
(https://archive.org/details/welshpoetryoldne00graviala)

Date: c1137 (original in Welsh); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Meilyr Brydydd (fl. 1100-1137)

Translated by: Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Fragment 286: The Influence of Spring by Ibycus

In Spring, bedewed with river-streams,
From where, for everlasting, gleams
The garden of th’ Hesperides
Blossom Cydonian apple-trees; —
In Spring the saplings freshly shine,
Beneath the parent-vine
In shadow and in breeze;
But me Love’s mighty power,
That sleepeth never an hour,
From Venus rushing, burneth with desire,
As with lightning fire;
Black, as the Thracian wind,
He seizes on my mind,
With dry delirious heat
Inflames my reason’s seat,
And, in the centre of my soul,
Keeps empire for a child, and holds
Uncheck’d control.

From: http://elfinspell.com/GRPIbycus.html

Date: 7th century BCE (original in Greek); 1833 (translation in English)

By: Ibycus (6th century BCE)

Translated by: Henry Nelson Coleridge (1798-1843)

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Prologue to the First Satire by Aulus Persius Flaccus

I never did on cleft Parnassus dream,
Nor taste the sacred Heliconian stream;
Nor can remember when my brain inspir’d
Was, by the Muses, into madness fir’d
My share in pale Pyrene I resign;
And claim not part in all the mighty Nine
Statues, with winding ivy crown’d, belong
To nobler poets, for a nobler song:
Heedless of verse, and hopeless of the crown,
Scarce half a wit, and more than half a clown,
Before the shrine I lay my rugged numbers down.
Who taught the parrot human notes to try,
Or with a voice endu’d of the chatt’ring pye?
‘Twas witty want, fierce hunger to appease:
Want taught their masters, and their masters these.
Let gain, that gilded bait, be hung on high,
The hungry witlings have it in their eye;
Pyes, crows, and daws, poetic presents bring:
You say they squeak; but they will swear they sing.

From: Dryden, John, The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden, Esq.; containing all his Original Poems, Tales, and Translations, in Four Volumes. Volume the Fourth. 1767, J. and R. Tonson: London, p. 290.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=d2QiAAAAMAAJ)

Date: 1st century (original in Latin); 1693 (translation in English)

By: Aulus Persius Flaccus (34-62)

Translated by: John Dryden (1631-1700)

Monday, 4 September 2017

The Close Fight by Archilochus

Bows will not avail thee,
Darts and slings will fail thee,
When Mars tumultuous rages
On wide-embattled land;
Then with faulchions clashing,
Eyes with fury flashing,
Man with man engages
In combat hand to hand.
But most Eubœa’s chiefs are known,
Marshalled hosts of spearmen leading
To conflict, whence is no receding,
To make this—war’s best art—their own.

From: Merivale, J. H. (ed. and transl.), Collections from the Greek Anthology. By the Late Rev. Robert Bland, and Others. A New Edition, 1833, Longman, Rees, Ormes, Brown, Green, and Longman, and John Murray: London, p. 5.
(https://archive.org/details/collectionsfrom00blan)

Date: 7th century BCE (original in Greek); 1813 (translation in English)

By: Archilochus (c680-645 BCE)

Translated by: John Herman Merivale (1779-1844)

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Tercets by Llywarch Hen

Set is the snare, the ash clusters glow,
Ducks plash in the pools; breakers whiten below;
More strong than a hundred is the heart’s hidden woe.

Long is the night; resounding the shore,
Frequent in crowds a tumultuous roar;
The evil and good disagree evermore.

Long is the night; the hill full of cries;
O’er the tree-tops the wind whistles and sighs;
Ill nature deceives not the wit of the wise.

The greening birch saplings a-sway in the air
Shall deliver my feet from the enemy’s snare;
It is ill with a youth thy heart’s secrets to share.

The saplings of oak in yonder green glade
Shall loosen the snare by an enemy laid;
It is ill to unbosom thy heart to a maid.

The saplings of oak in their full summer pride
Shall loosen the snare by the enemy tied;
It is ill to a babbler thy heart to confide.

The brambles with berries of purple are dressed;
In silence the brooding thrush clings to her nest;
In silence the liar can never take rest.

Rain is without–wet the fern plume;
White the sea gravel–fierce the waves’ spume;
There is no lamp like reason man’s life to illume.

Rain is without, but the shelter is near;
Yellow the furze, the cow-parsnip is sere;
God in Heaven, how could’st Thou create cowards here!

Rain and still rain, dank these tresses of mine!
The feeble complain of the cliff’s steep incline;
Wan is the main; sharp the breath of the brine.

Rain falls in a sheet; the Ocean is drenched;
By the whistling sleet the reed-tops are wrenched;
Feat after feat; but Genius lies quenched.

From: Graves, Alfred Perceval (transl. and ed.), Welsh Poetry Old and New in English Verse, 1912, Longmans, Green and Co: London, pp. 10-11.
(https://archive.org/details/welshpoetryoldne00graviala)

Date: 6th century (original in Welsh); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Llywarch Hen (c534-c608)

Translated by: Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)