It has occurred to me to try out a side-by-side presentation of my translations instead of the consecutive presentation I've been employing heretofore. I originally eschewed a side-by-side presentation of my translations because I wanted to discourage a particular kind of reading, which I know from experience to be tempting if one is familiar with the language of the original. The reader gets through line one of the original, then line one of the translation, then back to line two of the original and then of the translation and so forth, resulting in an impoverished appreciation of both texts and an overfocus on difference. As J.F. Nims put it:
Objections to what some may regard as intrusions, as foreign matter in the English version, generally come from those who do not understand the nature of poetry - those who read the translation and its original on facing pages, line by line, ping-pong fashion, eyes right, eyes left, triumphant when a discrepancy is found. Perhaps it would be better - many have thought so - not even to print the text of a poem together with a translation which itself is meant to be a poem. The original is an experience. The translation, different but an analogous, is an experience - but the two experiences cannot well be enjoyed together.And yet I decided to try it. Stupidly perhaps. But here goes.
|Love Constant Beyond Death|
By Francisco de Quevedo
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
That terminal shadow may with darkness seal
my eyes shut when it steals white day from me,
and in an instant, flattering the zeal
of this my eager soul, let it go free.
But on this hither shore where once it burned
it shall not leave behind love’s memory.
My flame can swim chill waters. It has learned
to lose respect for laws’ severity.
This soul that was a god's hot prison cell,
veins that with liquid humors fueled such fire,
marrows that flamed in glory as I strove
shall quit the flesh, but never their desire.
They shall be ash. That ash will feel as well.
Dust they shall be. That dust will be in love.
|Amor Constante Mas Allá de la Muerte|
Francisco de Quevedo
Click here to hear me recite the original Spanish
Cerrar podrá mis ojos la postrera
sombra que me llevare el blanco día,
y podrá desatar esta alma mía
hora a su afán ansioso lisonjera;
mas no de essotra parte, en la riuera,
dexará la memoria, en donde ardía:
nadar sabe mi llama l'agua fría,
y perder el respeto a lei severa.
Alma qu'a todo un dios prissión ha sido,
venas qu'umor a tanto fuego an dado,
medulas qu'an gloriosamente ardido,
su cuerpo dexarán, no su cuydado;
serán ceniça, mas tendrá sentido;
polvo serán, mas polvo enamorado.