Francisco de Quevedo: Rome Entombed in its Ruins (From Spanish)

This is a poem that, fittingly, has a long history of surviving in translation and cross-linguistic imitation. Quevedo's Spanish is a paraphrase of a French poem by Du Bellay "Nouveau venu qui cherches Rome en Rome", which is in turn itself a paraphrase of Janus Vitalis Qui Romam in media quaeris novus advena Roma. Other variations on the "Rome is no more in Rome" theme proliferated over the centuries in Europe, often as translations or paraphrases of either Vitalis', Du Bellay's or Quevedo's versions, but occasionally as freer adaptations of the theme, in a number of languages including English, Russian, Polish and others. I'll be translating Du Bellay's and Vitalis' poems soon, and perhaps write a more extended discussion of the theme (and its permutations) to accompany them. Thanks are due to John Emerson who handily assembled many of these poems together in one place, including the hard-to-get-to Latin poem by Vitalis.

Rome Entombed in its Ruins
By Francisco De Quevedo
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

You look for Rome in Rome, O peregrine!
     And find in Rome that Rome Herself is gone:
     The walls She flaunted are a corpse of stone,
     A tomb for its own self, the Aventine.
Here rests, where once it reigned, the Palatine
     And those medallions scoured by Time show more 
     Old battle damage from the constant war
     Of ages, than the escutcheoned Latin sign.
Only the Tiber has remained, whose flow
     Watered the town's growth, weeping at its grave  
     A teary stream in mournful tones of woe.
O Rome in beauty and greatness of Thy past
     All that stood firm has fled, and nothing save
     What runs in transience remains to last.

The Original:

A Roma Ensepultada En Sus Ruinas

Buscas en Roma a Roma oh peregrino!
y en Roma misma a Roma no la hallas:
cadáver son las que ostentó murallas
y tumba de sí proprio el Aventino.

Yace donde reinaba el Palatino
y limadas del tiempo, las medallas
más se muestran destrozo a las batallas
de las edades que Blasón Latino.

Sólo el Tibre quedó, cuya corriente,
si ciudad la regó, ya sepultura
la llora con funesto son doliente.

Oh Roma en tu grandeza, en tu hermosura,
huyó lo que era firme y solamente
lo fugitivo permanece y dura!

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget