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Old 06-02-2017, 05:37 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Default Wedding Song--Jaroslav Seifert

Rev. 3: (Matt Q version)

Wedding song

A bouquet, a veil, and tears
happily shed;
it is so joyful
for a woman to wed.

A night full of passions,
till cocks crow glory;
it is so joyful
for a man to marry.

The bouquet has wilted,
its petals are shed;
it is so mournful
for a woman to wed.

The fan has closed, kisses
turn bitter, weary;
it is so mournful
for a man to marry.

Rev. 2:

Wedding song

A bouquet, a veil, and tears
happily shed;
it is so joyful
when a woman is wed.

A night full of passions
till cocks grow worried;
it is so joyful
when a man is married.

The bouquet has wilted,
its petals are shed;
it is so mournful
when a woman is wed.

The fan closes, kisses
turn bitter and hurried;
it is so mournful
when a man is married.

Rev. 1:

Wedding song

A bouquet, a veil, and tears
so happily shed;
it is so joyful
when a woman will wed.

A night full of passions,
till cocks crow glory;
it is so joyful
when a man will marry.

The bouquet has wilted,
its petals are shed;
it is so mournful
when a woman will wed.

The fan has closed, kisses
turn bitter, weary;
it is so mournful
when a man will marry.

alternative:

Wedding song

A bouquet, a veil and tears—
even joy can make eyes wet;
it is so beautiful
when a woman is wed.

A night full of passions,
till the roosters gloried;
it is so beautiful
when a man gets married.

The bouquet has wilted,
petals fall like lead;
it is so mournful
when a woman is wed.

The fan has closed, kisses
grow bitter, wearied;
it is so mournful
when a man gets married.

Previous versions:

Wedding song

A bouquet, a veil and tears,
one weeps even when one is glad;
how lovely it is
when someone weds a lad.

A night full of passions,
but dawn arrives too fast;
how lovely it is
when someone weds a lass.

The bouquet has wilted,
falling petals are sad;
how mournful it is
when someone weds a lad.

The fan has closed, and only
bitter kisses pass;
how mournful it is
when someone weds a lass.

Alternate translation:

Wedding song

A bouquet, a veil and tears,
weeping from joy is common;
it is so beautiful
when someone marries a man.

A night full of passions
until the break of dawn;
it is so beautiful
when someone weds a woman.

The bouquet has wilted,
the petals fall down;
it is so mournful
when someone marries a man.

The fan has closed, and only
bitter kisses remain;
it is so mournful
when someone weds a woman.


Original:

Svatební píseň

Kytice, závoj a slzy,
i štěstí rozplakává,
jak je to hezké,
když se někdo vdává.

Noc plná vášní
až do kuropění,
jak je to hezké,
když se někdo žení.

Kytice zvadla
a opadává,
jak je to smutné,
když se někdo vdává.

Vějíř se zavřel,
hořkne políbení,
jak je to smutné,
když se někdo žení.

Crib:

Wedding song

A bouquet, a veil and tears,
even good fortune/luck can make one cry
how nice/lovely it is
when someone becomes a wife.
[when a woman gets married.]

The night full of passions
until cockcrow*
how nice/lovely it is
when someone takes a wife.
[when a man gets married.]

The bouquet has wilted
and its petals are falling,
how sad it is
when someone becomes a wife.
[when a woman gets married.]

The fan has closed,
kisses become bitter,
how sad it is
when someone takes a wife.
[when a man gets married.]

*was:
until the break of dawn,
but cockcrow is more precise.


Notes:

This is a short poem by Jaroslav Seifert, Czechoslovakia's only Nobel Prize winning poet.

The Czech language has a very sexist way of talking about weddings--a woman "vdává se", which etymologically clearly derives from "gives herself", whereas a man "žení se", which literally means "wives himself", that is, takes a wife. I hope that my attempt to translate this into English isn't too awkward.

******

Finally, let me apologize for being away for personal reasons--I would love to comment on the recent translation, but Roger's and AZ's comments on Julie's translation from the Spanish, and AZ's comments on Andrew's translation from the Chinese are so much more knowledgeable than anything that I could add, it would be an empty gesture to try to add something.

I look forward to more translations to read and comment on.
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:01 AM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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As my first translation has not evoked any interest, I added another one that tries to use a simpler vocabulary. I think that is a bit closer to the tone of the original.

Any comments on either version would be much appreciated!

Thanks,
Martin
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:05 AM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Ah, I missed this, Martin. I'll give both translations a look when I can—hopefully tomorrow (likely not today).
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:15 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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I'm finding all the "someones" to be problematic, especially in modern times when it sounds like you are purposely keeping open the possibility that some of these weddings are same-sex unions. Since that is clearly not what the poem intends, you might wish to go with "when a man..." and "when a woman" instead of "when someone." Two possible L4's are "when a woman is wed" and "when a man takes a bride," since both of these would seem promising in the number of rhymes you could set them up with.

Is this a song lyric or a stand-alone poem?
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:52 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Martin,

I like Roger's suggestion. Someone feels a bit vague to me - a peril in translation - and also jars alongside the lad-lass formulation it is paired with. A man/a woman could avoid those concerns.
I have the Osers version on my desk, and quite enjoyed those poems, but I don't find this nice poem in it. Thank you for sharing it!

Cheers,
John
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:15 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Martin, I strongly prefer the alternate translation. The rhymes in the first translation strike me as glib. They cheapen the poem. Compare this line in the two versions:
falling petals are sad

the petals fall down
The latter has blunt power; the former is bathetic.

I share Roger's and John's concern about "someone." It doesn't work in English. In the crib, you have "when a (wo)man gets married" as an alternate. Maybe play with that reading of the lines as well, and see if it helps? (E.g. "When a woman marries" / "When a man is wed" — though this exactly reverses the sexist element of the original language that you mentioned, which may be a feature or a bug.)
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:13 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Roger/Bob,
thank you so much for reading and commenting. I had experimented with
“when a woman is wed/
when a man gets married”
but gave up on that; with your encouragement, I will return to that.

It is a poem, not a song lyric, though after the fact it was set to music.

John,
thank you as well! I searched for other translations and found none. I will indeed take your and Roger/Bob’s advice.

Aaron,
thank you! I prefer the alliterative pairing woman/wed
man/married, but I am going to work on that and find the right rhymes.

Thanks again to all of you for reading and commenting—I’ll be back with a revision!
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Old 06-07-2017, 08:05 AM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Two alternative revisions posted!
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Old 06-20-2017, 02:22 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Yet another revision--the previous attempts seem to have been so bad that they received no comments at all.

Any thoughts, critiques, suggestions, etc., will be much appreciated, indeed, savored!

Thank you,
Martin
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Old 06-20-2017, 03:29 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Hi Martin,

So, I prefer R1 to R2. Though I think the loss of "so" in S1L2 is an improvement.

I prefer the shed/wed rhyme in R1&2 to the original's wet/wed rhyme.

I also much prefer the shed/wed rhyme in S3 of R1&2 to the lead/wed in the original. The repetition of "shed" and "bouquet" from S1 along with their reversal of meaning works very well I think. You might consider "its petals shed" (losing the "are").

At risk of lowering the tone: in the context of a man's night of passion, the word "cock" probably needs to be closely tied to chickens as you do in R1 by using "crows". So while the R1 line works OK for me, the R2 one doesn't. I also think you've a challenge rhyme with "married". I suppose "till the cock crow's buried" or something like that, but that's not great either.

With R1's version, "till cocks crow glory" I do think that there's something slightly forced about the glory/marry rhyme. I wonder what the glory of the cock-crow is. Also it can be read as the "till cocks-crow glory" -- i.e. the glory that occurs at cock-crow (maybe the glory of their first morning together?). Or the glorious cock crow -- though having been woken by a few cockerels, I've never found it all that glorious. Or maybe, the cocks crow (shout) "glory" (but I don't know why they would). That said, I'm short on alternative suggestions.

Though I prefer R1, I do think the "will" construction is awkward "when a man will marry" "when a woman will wed". A way round this might be:

"for a man to marry", "for a woman to wed"

although this may lose some of the sense of this relating to when one is first wed, but I don't know. I think it may still work.

A bouquet, a veil, and tears
happily shed;
it is so joyful
for a woman to wed.

A night full of passions,
till cocks crow glory;
it is so joyful
for a man to marry.

The bouquet has wilted,
its petals are shed;
it is so mournful
for a woman to wed.

The fan has closed, kisses
turn bitter, weary;
it is so mournful
for a man to marry.

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 06-20-2017 at 05:30 PM. Reason: typo
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