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  #1  
Unread 01-23-2021, 06:27 PM
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Default "Gypsy Dance" by G. R. Derzhavin

"Gypsy Dance" by G. R. Derzhavin


[Note: "Evoa" is an exclamation used by Bacchantes in their drunken games.]


Take, gypsy woman, thy guitar,
Beswinge the strings, let out a call,
Filled with a sensual, fevered power,
Bedazzle with thy dancing all.
Set fire to souls, in hearts a blaze
Cast from thy swarthy face.

That furious and luxurious feeling,
Throbbing of nerves and loving's ache,
At once enchanting and revealing,
Ancient Bacchantes' art rewake.
Set fire to souls, in hearts a blaze
Cast from thy swarthy face.

As night - let gloam shine from thy cheeks,
As a whirlwind - thy cloak throw dust;
As a bird - fly in wingborne streaks,
And clap thy hands with shrieks of lust.
Set fire to souls, in hearts a blaze
Cast from thy swarthy face.

In the pine wood as luna laves
Night's air with pallid shimmer shed,
Stamping on surfaces of graves,
Awake the sleep of silence dead.
Set fire to souls, in hearts a blaze
Cast from thy swarthy face.

Yea, evoa! afar midst cries
Of dogs is thine a horrid howling.
Everywhere round dread noises rise,
But it is love - such lustful prowling.
Set fire to souls, in hearts a blaze
Cast from thy swarthy face.

Nay, cease, seductress! No more strike
The modest muses with alarm;
But smoothly, grandly, nobly, like
A russian maiden, dance and charm.
Set fire to souls, in hearts a blaze
And a soft singer's ways.

__________________

Цыганская пляска


Возьми, египтянка, гитару,
Ударь по струнам, восклицай;
Исполнясь сладострастна жару,
Твоей всех пляской восхищай.
Жги души, огнь бросай в сердца
От смуглого лица.

Неистово, роскошно чувство,
Нерв трепет, мление любви,
Волшебное зараз искусство
Вакханок древних оживи.
Жги души, огнь бросай в сердца
От смуглого лица.

Как ночь — с ланит сверкай зарями,
Как вихорь — прах плащом сметай,
Как птица — подлетай крылами,
И в длани с визгом ударяй.
Жги души, огнь бросай в сердца
От смуглого лица.

Под лесом нощию сосновым,
При блеске бледныя луны,
Топоча по доскам гробовым,
Буди сон мертвой тишины.
Жги души, огнь бросай в сердца
От смуглого лица.

Да вопль твой, эвоа! ужасный,
Вдали мешаясь с воем псов,
Лиет повсюду гулы страшны,
А сластолюбию — любовь.
Жги души, огнь бросай в сердца
От смуглого лица.

Нет, стой, прелестница! довольно,
Муз скромных больше не страши;
Но плавно, важно, благородно,
Как русска дева, пропляши.
Жги души, огнь бросай в сердца
И в нежного певца.

____________________

Take, egyptian woman (= gypsy woman; gypsies were believed to be from Egypt), (thy) guitar. Strike on strings, cry/call out; filled with a sensual fever, enrapture all with thy dance. Ignite souls, throw a fire in hearts from thy swarthy face.

The furious, luxurious feeling, the throbbing of nerves, the ache of love, at once revive the enchanting art of the ancient Bacchantes. Ignite souls, throw a fire in hearts from thy swarthy face.

As night - from thy cheeks sparkle with twilights, as a whirlwind - sweep the dust with thy cloak, as a bird - fly up with wings, and clap thy hands with a shriek. Ignite souls, throw a fire in hearts from thy swarthy face.

In the pine forest at night, in the pallid lustre of the moon, stamping on the coverings of graves, awake the sleep of dead silence. Ignite souls, throw a fire in hearts from thy swarthy face.

Yea, thy howl, evoa! is horrible, mixing in the distance with the wail of dogs, everywhere pours such horrible noises, but hedonism - (is) love. Ignite souls, throw a fire in hearts from thy swarthy face.

Nay, cease, seductress, enough, no more frighten the modest muses, but smoothly, grandly, nobly as a russian maiden dance. Ignite souls, throw a fire in hearts and in a soft/gentle singer.

.

Last edited by Kevin Rainbow; 01-28-2021 at 01:21 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 01-23-2021, 06:37 PM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Are you translating it into the English of Gavrila's day? How come?
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Unread 01-24-2021, 12:29 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Kevin, for me, words like "thy," "yea," "nay," and "beswinge" put me off and do not encourage me to read further. I know what they mean, but I do not think that the translator is trying to reach me as a reader, but is being loyal to some idea of what the author may have intended. Likewise, the word "swarthy" to describe a gypsy's face comes across as racist in its negative connotations. A more neutral word like "dusky" might evoke the sense of being of a different racial group without putting down that group. If an author is actually racist and sexist (and I do not know anything about Derzhavin to know whether that is true) that may be a reflection of his times or of his personality. One can convey those attitudes accurately to give a sense of a person in a historical context, but one cannot pretend that the attitudes do not read negatively today to many readers.

Susan
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Unread 01-24-2021, 03:00 PM
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Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is online now
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Thanks for sharing some thoughts about this translation.


Quote:
Are you translating it into the English of Gavrila's day? How come?
When the poem was written and in what style influence me a bit. I am avoiding a style that is very "todayish" because it doesn't seem appropriate for a poem that isn't very "todayish", and also because "todayish" English often isn't better usage of the language in general.

Susan,

Quote:
I know what they mean, but I do not think that the translator is trying to reach me as a reader, but is being loyal to some idea of what the author may have intended.
No offense, but I think the author is more important because it his poem. I am trying to live up to his kind of artistic ideal for it, not yours or an average modern reader's.

Quote:
Likewise, the word "swarthy" to describe a gypsy's face comes across as racist in its negative connotations.
Just because a word CAN be used negatively doesn't mean it is, Susan. "Dark" and "black" have negative usages too, but usually not when referring to skin, physical shades, hues. In my experience swarthy for "dark-skinned" isn't used with negative connotations; and looking in a few dictionaries, I don't find its usage when referring to skin-color listed as being negative, vulgar or a slur.

Quote:
1. Tawny, dusky, dark.
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/swarthy



However, "dusky" is not a bad suggestion. The russian adjective смуглый (approx "smoogly") "dark-complexioned", is purportedly related to the word smoke , and dusk goes back to the PIE root *dʰewh₂- "smoke". Where there's smoke, there's a fiery chance that it might be worth considering.



.

Last edited by Kevin Rainbow; 01-25-2021 at 09:10 PM.
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