Heinrich Heine: "Those eyes of yours are two blue sapphires" (From German)

Along with complaints that I've been doing too much Chinese poetry, I've also heard complaints that I don't feature enough funny poems. Well, no, I don't expect everyone to care about 8th century China as much as I do, and yes I do occasionally like to laugh. So consider this part of my plan to fix that. It's a hilarious up-ending of the kind of saccharine poetry I hate, and it's a shame Heine isn't better credited for his humor. He and Dorothy Parker would've made great lovers.

"Those eyes of yours are two blue sapphires"
By Heinrich Heine
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original German

Those eyes of yours are two blue sapphires
So lovable, so sweet.
Oh, triply lucky is the man
Whom lovingly they greet.

That heart of yours is one white diamond
Pouring its noble beams.
Oh, triply lucky is the man
For whom it lovingly gleams.

Those lips of yours are two red rubies
And none more beautifully move.
Oh, triply lucky is the man
To whom they confess their love.

If only I knew that lucky man
Or caught him anywhere,
I'd drag his ass to the deep green wood
And end his luck right there.


The Original:

"Saphire sind die Augen"

Saphire sind die Augen dein,
Die liebichen, die süßen.
Oh, dreimal glücklich ist der Mann,
Den sie mit Liebe grüßen.

Dein Herz, es ist ein Diamant,
Der edle Lichter sprühet.
Oh, dreimal glücklich ist der Mann,
Für den es lieben glühet

Rubinen sind die Lippen dein,
Mann kann nicht schönre sehen.
Oh, dreimal glücklich ist der Mann,
Dem sie die Liebe gestehen.

Oh, kennt ich nur den glücklichen Mann,
Oh, daß ich ihn nur fände,
So recht allein im grünen Wald,
Sein Glück hat bald ein ende.

5 comments:

  1. Don't stop the Chinese poetry, I'm loving it!!!

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  2. I am also enjoying the translations from the Chinese -- so please don't stop -- but I love this translation from Heine. I have loved his work since first reading Kenneth Slessor's piece about him; if I find it online, may I pass along the URL?

    yrs

    Phillip

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  3. No worries, I'm not going to stop. Just going to lighten the focus to allow for other languages more.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No worries, I'm not going to stop. Just going to lighten the focus to allow for other languages more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love Heine. It's been too long since I read any of his poetry. One of the few poets I can read in the original language. I'm not sure why, but I often struggle with other german poets (especially Goethe, ugh.)

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