18 décembre 2009

Roman, by Arthur Rimbaud - an english translation

You’re never serious at seventeen.
- One of these nights, tired of pints and lemonade,
Of noisy bars with shiny chandeliers
- You go under the lime trees of the promenade.

The lime trees smell good in the good nights of June !
Sometimes the air’s so soft you close your eyelids;
The noise-carrying wind - the city's not far -
Smells of grape with fragrances of beer...


- Now you see a tiny rug
Of dark azure, framed by a little branch,
pierced by a weak star that blends in
With soft shudders, small and all white.

June night! Being seventeen! - You get intoxicated.
The sap is champagne that goes to your head...
You're raving: you feel on your lips a kiss
That flutters there, like a little bug...


Your crazy heart Robinsons through novels,
When, in the light of a pale lamppost,
A young lady passes by with a charming little style,
Under the frightening shadow of her father's false-collar...

And as she finds you immensely naïve,
While trotting in her little boots,
She turns her head with a quick and alert move...
- Then the cavatinas die on your lips...


Now you're in love. Hired until August.
You're in love. - Your sonnets make Her laugh.
All your friends leave you, you're bad tasted.
- Then the adored one, one night, consented to write to you!

- And that night... - you walk back into the shiny bars,
You order up pints or lemonade...
- You’re never serious at seventeen
When you have green limes on the promenade.

2 commentaires:

George Dance a dit…

Very good... I must've read this before, because my own translation of Roman owes two things to it: (1) the first line, "You're never serious at seventeen" (though I put finally went with 17) and (2) the limes as the names of the trees. I've seen neither in any other place. Here's mine, BTW:


BlueDusk a dit…

Indeed, I had posted this translation on the newgroup alt.poetry before publishing it here. I wanted to have it proofed by native English speakers prior to this "official" publication.