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Monday, March 26, 2012

a first stab at translation

Last night and this morning, I took up Douglas Hofstadter's challenge (posed in Le Ton beau de Marot) to translate a little French poem by Clement Marot, using a super-literal English gloss as a guide, and conforming to the form, elegance, and playfulness of the original as much as possible. Behold the result!

A une Damoyselle malade

Ma mignonne,
Je vous donne
Le bon jour;
Le sejour
C'est prison.
Guerison
Recouvrez,
Puis ouvrez
Votre porte
Et qu'on sorte
Vitement,
Car Clement
Le vous mande.
Va, friande
De ta bouche.
Qui se couche
En danger
Pour manger
Confitures;
Sit tu dures
Trop malade,
Couleur fade
Tu prendras,
Et perdras
L'embonpoint.
Dieu te doint
Sante bonne,
Ma mignonne.


To a Sick Little Girl

Duckie mine,
A most fine
Day to you.
Though you rue
Quarantine,
Do not scream--
Convalesce!
Then progress
Out the door
Quickly, your
Clement begs.
Hollow legs,
In your cell,
So unwell,
Bread and jam
You should cram
Once again.
Genuine
Dangers lurk,
Swift to work:
If you snooze
You will lose
This red cheek,
Plump physique,
And sweet grin.
Mend within
God's design,
Duckie mine.

P.S. Speaking of poems, I forgot to tell you: one of mine was just accepted at Room Magazine, and appears in the Fall! They are paying me.

2 comments:

Speak your piece.