Three Italian translations [*POEMS*]



Dove sono I campi di cricket di ieri?
Dove sono i giocatori sul verde prato del villaggio?
Dov’è il gagliardo giovane che batteva la palla
Sopra i tetti come mai si era visto?

Dove sono le sognanti guglie, dove il fruscio di toghe
Lungo antichi chiostri ricoperti di edera?
Dove sono i gufanti docenti  in acciottolate città
Citando l’Odissea e l’Iliade?

Dove sono le vecchie care signore in abiti lunghi,
Acclamanti i giocatori sul verde prato del villaggio?
Sono tutte andate oltre, ci hanno detto, verso nuovi luoghi
Dove ognuno a modo suo sereno è.

Andati sui nuovi campi di cricket! – Dio li benedica tutti,
Battitori e difensori, lanciatori e palla.

Cricket on the Village Green, by Xanadu


Qui è la sera. Presto ti vedrò.
Le stelle fan capolino.
Le campane della chiesa
Suonan di gioia. La ridente luna
Ti dice che tutto va bene.

Ah, mai più rivedremo
Una sera come questa!
Lascia questo momento duri sempre –
L’amante e il bacio.

Evening, by Xanadu


Ti ricorderò sempre per
I raggianti sorrisi che mi desti:
Molto tempo fa, amor mio, prima
Che tu perdessi la tua dorata chiave.

Ma ancor di più ti ricorderò
Per il tuo gesto di vendetta:
Per il giorno della porta chiusa in faccia
E del tuo colpir alle spalle.

I’ll Always Remember, by Xanadu

11 thoughts to “Three Italian translations [*POEMS*]”

  1. Thoroughly enjoyable. These sensitively translated poems are a real pleasure to read. I particularly liked the first translation, the Shakespearean sonnet entitled “Cricket on the Village Green”, with its aptly chosen evocative picture of England as it was in the 1920s.

    I think the reason I like this translation better than the other two is that the original poem in English is possibly one of the best sonnets ‘Xanadu’ [LD] has written so far. The nostalgia for a vanished word, an idyllic Garden of Eden England, is almost palpable.

    Its theme is very old and been done thousands of time before, and here is a new variation on the old, old theme: Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?, famously translated by Rossetti as “Where are the snows of yesteryear?”

    The poem, I believe, belongs to the well-trodden genre of “Ubi sunt”; literally, “Where are they?” Meaning, Where has the past gone, and all the people who once lived and are now dead?

    N. Keble
    (Academic researcher in Eng. Lit.)

    1. Thanks, Mr Keble. You’re quite right about the UBI SUNT (“Where Are They?) genre.

      This happens to be LD’s favorite hobbyhorse right now. But then, it’s the favorite hobbyhorse of every single poet who has ever lived, from time immemorial. It’s the Number #1 theme of poetry and indeed all literature: fleeting time, the poignancy of lost time.

      Let me give you an example of another “UBI SUNT” poem which has been cited on this website before. It is an exquisitely written gem of a poem by AE Housman and is one of LD’s most treasured poems, if only for its musicality and unbeatable sound effects:

      With rue my heart is laden
      For golden friends I had,
      For many a rose-lipt maiden
      And many a lightfoot lad.

      By brooks too broad for leaping
      The lightfoot boys are laid;
      The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
      In fields where roses fade.

      — AE HOUSMAN

  2. What a relief to turn away for a brief moment from the political wrangling and jangling on this website and enter the purer atmosphere of poetry.

    I guess there is similar relief to be found in the pursuit of music, mathematics and astrophysics.

    Politics really does suck.

  3. @ defrocked nun :

    why don’t you go to the congo and do your “goodly Godly” “Religious” “missionary work” in the jungle with the simians and, lol, twerk for the baboons… UBI SUNT in the, lol, in the congo waiting for you to twerk for them….maybe you’ll finally get what, lol, you NEED REAL BAD. “where are they?” they’re in the congo waiting for you u, lol, u stupid orangutan u so they can get some pussy action to, lol, to a jungle beat is where they are, LMFAO!!!!! You can teach the apes and gorillas some Latin while you’re AT IT, LMFAO!!!! God LERVS IT when nuns teach the natives Latin, I’m sure, lol….

    1. @ Admin

      I’m glad you published this comment without trying to censor it.

      It’s a most revealing comment.

      This shows us all what a typical White Nationalist Trump supporter is like. Low-life scum. This commenter has made no secret of the fact that he is an avid Trump supporter and all he can do here is masturbate in public.

  4. Ubi sunt? Maybe “they” never real-y “existed”.

    Maybe “they” were always – and only – a figment of out imaginings… a creation of our conscious attention.
    And, as our focus on “them” fades away, as the energy required to keep up “appearances” dissipates, they’re simply no longer “there”.
    And since, for “self validation”, we needed “them” to focus on us, their “passing” is merely our own “projector” coming to the end of its reel.. marking the end of our own particular “plot”… prior to being placed in that other “plot”, the one that’s six- foot deep.

    There’s something very “strange” going on….

    1. @ THE REALIST

      Ubi sunt? Maybe “they” never real-y “existed”. Maybe “they” were always – and only – a figment of out imaginings… a creation of our conscious attention.

      Quite incorrect. You are confusing two different genres. “Ubi Sunt” poems are about REAL HISTORICAL personages, not about “figments of the imagination”.

      But even if they were “figments of the imagination”, why would that invalidate them as great literature or make them less worthy of attention? Isn’t every great novel (e.g. “War and Peace”) full of imaginary characters or “figments of the imagination”? Isn’t every single character in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” a figment of Tolkien’s imagination? What’s wrong with that?

      In any case, “Ubi sunt” poems are NOT about “imaginary characters” but about REAL HISTORICAL PERSONAGES!

      Read this:

      The “Ballade des dames du temps jadis” (“Ballade of Ladies of Time Gone By”) is a poem by François Villon that celebrates famous women in history and mythology, and a prominent example of the ubi sunt? genre.

      Helen of Troy actually lived at one time. So did Antony and Cleopatra.They are historical characters.

      1. Thank you, Madame Butterfly, for your erudite comments. You are correct. ‘Ubi sunt’ poems are indeed about real historical personages, but the Realist is on the right track in regarding these characters as semi-mythical or legendary. Lost in the mists of time. Helen of Troy is half real, half legendary. Likewise, King Arthur and the Court of Camelot.

        For reference purposes, the greatest of the Ubi Sunt poems, written by Francois Villon in 1340, has been posted below. It is in the famous 1870 translation of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (BTW, Many thanks to Traducteur for bringing Dante Gabriel Rossetti to our attention).

        Ballade des dames du temps jadis
        (translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

        Tell me now in what hidden way is
        Lady Flora the lovely Roman?
        Where’s Hipparchia, and where is Thais,
        Neither of them the fairer woman?
        Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
        Only heard on river and mere,—
        She whose beauty was more than human? . . .
        But where are the snows of yester-year?

        Where’s Héloise, the learned nun,
        For whose sake Abeillard, I ween,
        Lost manhood and put priesthood on?
        (From Love he won such dule and teen!)
        And where, I pray you, is the Queen
        Who willed that Buridan should steer
        Sewed in a sack’s mouth down the Seine? . . .
        But where are the snows of yester-year?

        White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies,
        With a voice like any mermaiden,—
        Bertha Broadfoot, Beatrice, Alice,
        And Ermengarde the lady of Maine,—
        And that good Joan whom Englishmen
        At Rouen doomed and burned her there,—
        Mother of God, where are they then? . . .
        But where are the snows of yester-year?

        Nay, never ask this week, fair lord,
        Where they are gone, nor yet this year,
        Except with this for an overword,—
        But where are the snows of yester-year?

  5. On a lighter note, “Ubi Sunt” reminds me of one of my favourite schoolboy limericks – the one that, as icing on the cake, also managed to squeeze in the 3rd-person of “pulato, pulatis…” –
    …though “The Lad from Nantucket” – though never rendered in Latin, at least as far as I’m aware – will always be my personal ‘numerous uno’ !

  6. ..and before MB jumps all over me like a rabid wretch, I would add the the rendering of “numero uno” as “numerous uno” in a previous comment was the result of the auto-fill software of that illiterate bum Billy “Betta Git Ya Vax!” Gates.

    1. How disappointing! And here I was feeling all smug and superior at your appalling ignorance! When it actually turns out you are the very opposite: i.e. a high-powered intellectual who would never commit such a solecism! If it’s any consolation to you, dear boy, I don’t even know what “auto-fill software” means! And I don’t think I want

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