Immanuel of Rome: The Virgin's Lament (From Hebrew)

The sonnet has almost as long a history in Hebrew as it does in Italian. The sardonic, satirical and socially critical Immanuel of Rome (1261-1328) was the pioneer of the form in Hebrew. 

The Virgin's Lament
By Immanuel of Rome
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

My breasts are firm, my hair is grown, yet here
I sit alone in nakedness and shame
My poverty makes suitors hide in fear.
Head of the Feast of Mourning is my name.

How can my heart be joyful when I've not
One bit of silver, gold or bronze? What art
Could win a man for me, when all I've got
Is three older sisters and a wailing heart?

Suitors! I can't say if the fire will fill me,
Or Time the traitor treat me well enough. 
My years on locust-wings fly ever faster.

What's more, the elders' words do worse than kill me
For "she who dies a virgin is cut off,
And has no portion in the world hereafter."

The Original:

שדי נכונים
עמנואל הרומי

שָׁדַי נְכוֹנִים, שַׂעֲריִ צִמֵּחַ,
וָאֵשְׁבָה עֵירֹם וְעֶרְיָה בֹשֶׁת.
דּוֹדִים לְעָנְיִי יָראוּ מִגֶּשֶׁת, 
וָאֵשְׁבָה בָרֹאשׁ בְּבֵית מַרְזֵח.

אֵיךְ יִהְיֶ עוֹד הַלְּבָב שָׂמֵחַ?
אָפְסוּ כְסָפַי, אֵין זְהַב וּנְחֹשֶׁת.
אֵיךְ אֶמְצְאָה בַעַל אֲנִי –אֲנִי וּשְׁלֹשֶת
אַחְיוֹת גְּפוֹלוֹת לִי, וְלֵב גּוֹנֵחַ.

מָה אֹמְרָה, דּוֹדַי: עֲצָמַי חָרוּ,
אוֹ עִם זְמַן בּוֹגֵד בְּרִית אֶכְרֹתָה?
עָפוּ שְׁנוֹתַי, פָּשְׁטוּ כַיֶּלֶק.

גַּם יָשְׁבוּ שָׂרִים וּבִי נִדְבָּרוּ:
אִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר תַּמוּת בְּתוּלָה –נִכְרְתָה,
אֵין לָהּ בְּעוֹלַם הַגְּשָׁמוֹת חֵלֶק!

No comments:

Post a Comment