John Plant, composer

La notte bella. Original Italian text, with English and French translations/Texte original italien, avec traduction anglaise et française

La notte bella

Devetachi 1l 24 agosto 1916

Quale canto s’è levato stanotte
che intesse
di cristallina eco del cuore
le stelle

Quale festa sorgiva
di cuore a nozze

Sono stato
uno stagno di buio

Ora mordo
come un bambino la mamella
lo spazio

Ora sono ubriaco
d’universo
    -Giuseppe Ungaretti





 The beautiful night
Devetachi, August 19, 1916
What song arose tonight
weaving a tapestry
of stars
from the crystal echo of the heart

What upwelling feast
of a heart at wedding

I have been
a pool of darkness

Now I bite
into space
like a baby his mother’s breast

Now I am drunk
on universe
    -Translation: John Plant
 La belle nuit 
Devetachi 19 août 1916


Quel chant s'est élevé cette nuit
qui a tissé de l'écho cristallin du coeur
les étoiles

quelle fête surgissante
d'un coeur en noces

j'ai été un étang de tenèbres

Maintenants je mors
comme un bambin la mamelle
l'espace

maintenant je suis ivre
d'univers
(Traduction: Jocelyne Fleury)

Romance sonámbulo: The original Spanish text, with English and French translations. Texte original espagnol, avec traduction anglaise et française

Romance sonámbulo

   Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montaña.
Con la sombra en la cintura
ella sueña en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fría plata.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Bajo la luna gitana,
las cosas la están mirando
y ella no puede mirarlas.

*
 Verde que te quiero verde.
Grandes estrellas de escarcha
vienen con el pez de sombra
que abre el camino del alba.
La higuera frota su viento
con la lija de sus ramas,
y el monte, gato garduño,
eriza sus pitas agrias.
Pero ¿quien viendrá? ¿y  por donde?
Ella sigue en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde,
soñando en la mar amarga.

*
--Compadre, quiero cambiar
mi caballo por su casa,
mi montura por su espejo,
mi cuchillo por su manta.
Compadre, vengo sangrando
desde los puertos de Cabra.
--Si yo pudiera, mocito,
este trato se cerraba.
Pero yo ya no soy yo,
ni mi casa es y a mi casa.
--Compadre, quiero morir
decentemente en mi cama.
De acero, se puede ser,
con las sábanas de holanda.
¿No ves la herida que tengo
desde el pecho a la garganta?
--Trescientas rosas morenas
lleva tu pechera blanca.
tu sangre rezuma y huele
alrededor de tu faja.
Pero yo ya no soy yo
Ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
--Dejadme subir al menos
hasta las altas barandas;
¡dejadme subir!, dejadme
hasta las verdes barandas.
Barandales de luna
por donde retumba el agua. 

 

 

*
  

Ya suben los dos compadres
hacia las altas barandas.
Dejando un rastro de sangre.
Dejando un rastro de lágrimas.
Temblaban en los tejados
farolillos de hojalata.
Mil panderos de cristal
herían la madrugada.

*
   Verde que te quiero verde,
verde viento, verdes ramas.
Los dos compadres subieron.
El largo viento dejaba
en la boca un raro gusto
de hiel, de menta y de albahaca.
--¡Compadre! ¿Donde está, díme,
donde está tu niña amarga?
--¡Cuántas veces te esperó!
¡Cuántas veces te esperara,
cara fresca, negro pelo,
en este verde baranda!

*
  Sobre el rostro de la aljibe
se mecía la gitana.
Verde carne, pelo verde,
con ojos de fría plata.
Un carámbano de luna
la sostiene sobre el agua.
La noche se puso intimo
como una pequeña plaza.
Guardias civiles borrachos
en la puerta golpeaban.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento.  Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar.
Y el caballo en la montaña.



-Federico García Lorca

Spanish text copyright 1991 by Herederos de Federico García Lorca.
Poem used by permission of Herederos de García Lorca.

 

Sleepwalking Ballad


  Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The boat on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With a shadow round her waist
she dreams on her roof-terrace,
green flesh, green hair,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green.
Under the gypsy moon
things are looking at her,
and she cannot look at them.
*
Green, how I want you green.
Large stars of frost
arrive with the fish of shadow
which opens the path of dawn.
The fig-tree chafes its wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the mountain, like a wildcat,
bristles its bitter cactus.
But who will come? And from where?
She continues on her terrace,
green flesh, green hair,
dreaming of the bitter sea.

*
“Friend, I want to trade
my horse for your house,
my saddle for your mirror,
my knife for your blanket.
Friend, I come bleeding
from the Cabra pass.”
“If I could do it, lad,
this deal would be done.
But I am no longer I,
and my house is no more my house.”
“Friend, I wish to die
decently in my bed.
Of metal, if it is possible,
with sheets of fine linen.
Do you not see this wound I have
from my chest to my throat?”
“Your white shirtfront bears
three hundred brown roses.
Your blood is oozing and reeking
around your sash.
But I am no longer I,
and my house is no more my house.”
“Let me climb, at least,
up to the high terraces.
Let me go up there! Let me go
to those green terraces!
Terraces of moon
where the water echoes.”
Let me go up there! Let me go
to those green terraces!
Terraces of moon
where the water echoes.”

Now the two friends are climbing
to the high terraces.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of tears.
Little tin-plated lanterns
trembled on the rooftops.
A thousand crystal tambourines
wounded the dawn.

*
   Green, how I want you green,
green wind, green branches.
The two friends climbed.
The long wind 
left a rare taste in the mouth
of gall, mint, and basil.
“Friend! Where, tell me,
where is your bitter girl?”
“How often she waited for you!
How often she would wait,
bright face, dark hair,
on this green terrace!

*
  On the surface of the cistern
the gypsy girl swayed.
Green flesh, green hair,
eyes of cold silver.
An icicle of moon
suspends her over the water.
The night shrank to intimacy
like a little plaza.
Drunken civil guards
were pounding on the door.
Green, how I want you green.
Green wind, green branches.
The boat on the sea,
and the horse on the mountain.

-English translation by John Plant

 

Ballade somnambule

Vert, que je t’aime vert.
Vent vert. Branches vertes.
Le bateau sur la mer
et le cheval dans la montagne.
Entourée d’ombre à la ceinture
elle rêve sur son balcon,
chair verte, cheveux verts,
yeux d’argent froid.
Vert, oh que je te désire vert.
Sous la lune gitane
les choses la regardent,
et elle ne peut les regarder.

*
Vert, que je t’aime vert.
De grandes étoiles de givre
surgissent quand le poisson d’ombre
ouvre le chemin de l’aube.
Le figuier frotte son vent avec le
papier sablée de ses branches,
et la montagne, chat sauvage,
hérisse ses cactus amers.
Mais qui viendra? Et par où?
Elle ne cesse sur son balcon,
chair verte, cheveux verts,
de rêver à la mer amère.

*
--Ami, je veux echanger
mon cheval pour ta maison,
ma monture pour ton miroir,
mon couteau pour ta couverture.
Ami, je reviens couvert de sang
du col de Cabra.
--Si je le pouvais, mon garçon,
ce marché serait conclu.
Mais je ne suis plus moi-même
et ma maison n’est plus ma maison.
--Ami, je veux mourir
décemment dans mon lit.
En acier, si possible
bordé de draps de lin fin.
Ne vois-tu la blessure qui ouvre
ma poitrine jusqu’à la gorge?
--Ta chemise est percée 
de trois cents roses brunes.
Ton sang suinte et trempe
ta ceinture.
Mais je ne suis plus moi-mëme
et ma maison n’est plus ma maison.
--Au moins laisse-moi monter
jusqu’aux  balcons là-haut.
Laisse-moi monter! oh laisse-moi
monter jusqu’aux  balcons verts.
Balcons de lune
où l’eau résonne.

 

 

 

 Les deux amis montent alors jusqu’aux hauts balcons de la maison. Traçant un chemin de sang. Traçant un chemin de larmes.

De  petites lanternes d’étain
tremblaient sur les toits.
Milles tambourines de cristal
poignardaient  l’aube.

*
Vert, combien je te désire vert,
vent vert, branches vertes.
Les deux amis montaient.
Un large vent
laissait dans la bouche un rare goût
de fiel, de menthe, et de basilic.
--Ami! dis-moi, où est-elle?
où est ta fille amère?
--Combien de fois elle t’a attendu!
Oh combien de fois!
Visage clair, cheveux  noirs,
sur ce balcon vert!

*
Sur la surface de la citerne
la gitane se balançait.
Chair verte, cheveux verts,
avec des yeux d’argent froid.
Un glaçon de lune
la suspend sur l’eau.
La nuit  devint intime
comme une toute petite place.
Des gardes civils ivres
cognaient à  la porte.
Vert, combien je te désire vert,
vent vert, branches vertes,
Le bateau sur la mer
et le cheval dans la montagne.

-Traduction française : 
Jocelyne Fleury et John Plant

Lament on the death of a sparrow: Original Latin text, with English translation. 

 LUGETE, O VENERES CUPIDINESQUE

Catullus

 

Lugete, O Veneres Cupidinesque
Et quantum est hominum venustiorum!
Passer mortuus est meae puellae,
Passer, deliciae meae puellae
Quem plus illa oculis suis amabat;
Nam mellitus erat suamque norat
Ipsam tam bene quam puella matrem,
Nec sese a gremio illius movebat
Sed circumsiliens modo huc modo illuc
Ad solam dominam usque pipiabat.
Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum
Illuc unde negant redire  quemquam.
At vobis male sit, malae tenebrae
Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis:
O factum male! o miselle passer!
Tua nunc opera meae puellae
Flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli.

 

 

 WEEP, O LOVES AND GRACES

Catullus

Weep, O Loves and Graces,
and all you who appreciate beauty and grace.
My girl’s sparrow is dead;
The sparrow, my girl’s beloved pet
Whom she loved more than her own eyes.
For he was honey-sweet, and knew her=
as well as a girl knows her mother.
And never would he leave her lap,
But, hopping around her, he would
sing for his mistress alone.
And now he goes down that dark road, 
from which, they say, no one returns.
Bad luck to you, evil shades of hell,
who devour all beautiful things.
O evil deed! Poor little sparrow!
It is your doing that my girl’s eyes

are red and swollen with weeping.

 

Invocation to Aphrodite

Sappho 

Poikilothron, athanat'Aphrodita,
Pai Dios doloploke, lissomai se,
me m'asaisi med'oniaisi damna,
potnia, thumon,


alla tuid' elth', ai pota katerota
tas emas audas aoisa, pelui
eklues, patros de domon lipoisa
chrusion elthes

 

arm'upadzeuksaisa. Kaloi de s'agon
okees struthoi peri  gas melainas
pukna dinnentes pter' ap'oran'aithe-
ros dia messo

 

Aipsa d'exikonto. Su d' O makaira,
mediaisais athanato' prosopo'
ere otti deute pepontha kotti
deute kalemmi,

 

kotti moi malista thelo genesthai
mainola thumon. Tina deute peitho
aps' agen es san philotata. Tis, s'O
Psaph', adikei?

 

Kai gar ai feugei, tacheos dioxei,
ai de dora me deket, alla dosei,
ai de me philei, tacheos phileisei
kouk etheloisa.

 

Elthe moi kai nun, chalepan de lusan
ek merimnan, ossa de moi telessai
thumos immerei, telesson, su d'auta
summachos esso.

 

 

 

 

Throned in many-hued glory, deathless Aphrodite, child of Zeus, weaver of ruses,I beg you, do not condemn my heart to pangs and torments, O queen,

 

but come to me now, as once before, hearing my cries, you came from afar, leaving your father's golden house,

 

yoking your chariot, drawn by many beautiful sparrows over the dark earth, a multitude of fluttering wings descending through middle air.

 

Quickly they came! And you, Glorious One, with a smile playing on your deathless face, you asked 'What has befallen you now?

 

 

Why do you summon me again? What are the wishes of your frenzied heart? Whom shall I persuade to return to your friendship? Who, O Sappho, is wronging you?

 

She may run from you now, but soon she will be in pursuit. though she refuses your gifts, soon it will be she who offers you gifts. And even if she loves you not, soon she will love, even against her will.'

 

So come to me once again! Free me from this woeful torment! Fulfill all the desires of my mad heart, let them be accomplished! You yourself be my companion in battle!

Cancion 5, from Canciones del Alma

¡O noche, che guiaste,
Oh noche amable que el alborada
Oh noche, que juntaste
Amado con amada,
Amada en el amado transformada!

 

 O night which guided me!

O night, more pleasant than dawn!
O night, which united
the Lover with his Beloved,
transforming the Beloved into the Lover! 

-San Juan de la Cruz, trans. John Plant