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Experiment 5

Passing Through San Guido

page 23

Passing Through San Guido

(Translated from the Italian of Giosue Carducci).

Tall and slender at Bolgheri the cypresses
Marched from San Guido in double file,
An army of giant youths, almost in career,
They advanced upon me and looked at me.

They recognised me and, with heads bent,
They whispered to me, "Well, you've come back at last.
Why not step down ? Why not stay here ?
Evening is cool, the way well known to you.

"Oh, you may sit in our scented shadows
Where the mistral blows from the sea;
We are not angry with you for the stones
Of an earlier day, for in truth they did not hurt.

Still we carry nests of nightingales;
Why do you fly away so rapidly ?
Still flights of sparrows
Garland us. Why not stay here ?"

I answered, "My beautiful cypresses,
Faithful friends of a better day,
How gladly, willingly, I would remain with you,
But you must let me go.

Now it is no longer that time and that age,
So please let me go.
I don't know how to tell you with-out seeming vain,
But today I am a famous man.

I can read Greek and Latin,
And write and write and have many other virtues;
I am no more, cypresses, a ragamuffin,
And I no longer throw real stones,

Especially at trees". A murmur
Passed through the waving treetops
And the day, falling with a kindly ironic smile,
Glowed rosily among the green hollows.

I understood then that the cypresses and the sun
Felt a gentle pity for me,
And again the murmur became words:
"We know it well; you are a poor man.

"We know it well, for the wind told it to us
That is carried in the sighs of men,
As within your heart the endless bickerings
Burn that you can neither understand nor soothe.

To the oaks and to us you can recount
Your human sorrow, your tale of human woe,
Look here, how quiet the sea is
As the bright sun sets on it;

And how the sunset is full of wings,
And how joyful is the song of the sparrows!"
In the night the nightingales sang:
"Stay here, do not follow your anguished thoughts".
page 24 Di cima al poggio allór, dal cimitero,
Giú de' clpressi per la verde via,
Alta, solenne, vestita di nero
Pàrvemi rivedér norma Lucía :

La signora Lucía, da la cui bocca,
Tra l'ondeggiàr de' càndidi capelli,
La favella toscana, ch'è sí sciocca
Nel manzonismo de gli stenterelli,

Canora discendéa, co 'l mesto acceato
De la Vereilia che nel cuòr mi sta
Come da un sirventese del trecento,
Piena di forza e di soavità.

O nonna, o nonna! de com'era bella
Quand'ero bimbo! dítemela ancór,
Dítela a queast'uòm savio la novella
Di lei che cerca il suo perduto amòr!

Sette paia di scape ho consumate
Di tutto ferro per te ritrovate:
Sette verghe di ferro ho logorate
Per appoggiarmi nel fatale andare:

Sette fiasche di làcrime ho colmate,
Sette lunghi anni, di làcrime amare,
Tu dormi a le mie grida disperate
E il gallo canta, e non ti vuoi svegliare.

Deh come bella, o nonna, - e come vera
È la novella ancór! Proprio cosí.
E quello che cereai mattina e sera
Tanti e tanti anni in vano, è forse qui,

Sotto questi cipressi, ove non spero,
Ove non penso di posarmi piú:
Forse, nonna, è nel vostro cimitero
Tra quegli altri cipressi ermo là su.

Ansimando fuggía la vaporiera
Mentr'io cosí piangeva entro il mio cuore;
E di polledri una leggladra schiera
Annitrendo corréa lieta al rumore.

Ma un àsin bigio, rosicchiando un cardo
Rosso e turchino, non si scomodò:
Tutto quel chiasso ei non degnò d'un guardo
E a brucàr serio e lento seguitò.
page 25 Then from the summit of the knoll,
From the graveyard through the green way
Of the cypresses, tall, solemn, dressed in black,
It seemed to me I saw nanna Lucia :

Signora Lucia, from whose mouth,
Between the white waves of her hair,
The language of Tuscany, that is insipid
In the lispings of Manzonians,

Comes beautiful, with the sad accent
Of the Versilia which I can never forget,
As an old fourteenth-century song,
Full of strength and sweetness.

Oh, Lucia, the wonderful story you told
When I was a child! Tell it to me again,
The simple tale of one who searches
For her lost love !

"Seven pairs of shoes I have worn
All of iron to find you again;
Seven sticks of Iron I have worn
To support me in the fateful journey.

Seven flasks of tears I have overflowed,
Seven long years of grevious tears;
Now you sleep at my desperate cries,
Even at cockcrow, and do not wish to waken".

Oh, Lucia, your story is still
As moving and beautiful. That
Which I searched for night and day
Many and may years in vain,

Is perhaps here, under these cypresses,
Where I cannot hope to rest again.
Perhaps, Lucia, it is in your graveyard,
Among the solitary cypresses there.

Roaring, the train sped on,
While I lamented so within my heart.
A graceful band of horses
Galloped snorting joy at the sound;

But a grey ass, munching slowly
At a mauve thistle, was untroubled;
He did not deign to glance at all that uproar
And continued chewing seriously and slowly.

page 26

Gil Vicente

'En la huerta nasce la rosa !
quiérome ir allá
por mirar al ruiseñor
cómo cantaba.

Por las riberas del río
limones coge la virgo
quiérome ir aliá
por mirar al ruiseñor
cómo cantaba.

Limones cogía la virgo
para dar a su amigo:
quiérome ir allá
para ver al ruiseñor
cómo cantaba.

Para dar a su amigo
en un sombrero de sirgo:
quiérome ir allá
para ver al ruiseñor
cómo cantaba.

page 27

Gordon Challis.

( Translated from the Spanish of Gil Vicente.)

The rose breaks forth in the orchard
And there I long to go
For to see the nightingale
How he was singing.

By the margin of the river
The maiden gathers lemons:
And there I long to go
For to see the nightingale
How he was singing.

Lemons she gathered the maiden
For to give to her companion:
And there I long to go
For to see the nightingale
How he was singing.

For to give to her companion
In a costly silk sombrero:
And there I long to go
For to see the nightingale
How he was singing.