Re: Interpreting dead people's creative works (was: Riddles ...)

From: scerir (
Date: Fri Jan 05 2001 - 15:40:11 MST

Amara wrote:
> Take a look:
> (William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, from _Sonnets_, Sonnet 18)
> [Question to the non-native English speakers here: have you seen a
> translation of this sonnet, and if so, how far does it succeed in
> keeping true to the original?]

Giuseppe Ungaretti (the poet) translated just
40 Sonnets, superbly. But, I suppose, not that one.

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
and dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
thy youth's proud livery, so gaz'd on now,
will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held:
then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies,
where all the tresaure of thy lusty days,
to say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer, "This fair child of mine
shall sum my count, and make my old excuse",
proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
and see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

Quando quaranta inverni faranno assedio alla tua fronte
scavando trincee fonde nel campo della tua bellezza,
l'imponente livrea dell'ammirata giovinezza,
sarā ridotta a uno straccio d'abito tenuto in poco conto:
se allora si chiedesse dove la tua bellezza giace,
dove tutto il tesoro dei giorni caldi di vigore,
dire: nei tuoi propri occhi infossati profondamente,
mostrerebbe con indiscreta lode, ingiuria implacabile.
Ma quale lode ispirerebbe la tua bellezza logora
se tu potessi replicare: "Questo mio ragazzino
assolverā il mio debito, scusabile farā ch'io invecchi",
la sua bellezza dimostrandosi, per successione, tua!
Sarebbe il tuo rinnovamento quando giā sarai vecchio,
vedresti il tuo sangue ardere quando giā ne sentirai il gelo.

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