translation

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was born in Moscow into an aristocratic family on June 6, 1799. He is often considered Russia’s greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. His first major work was the poem Ruslan and Ludmila. His political verses associated him with the Decembrist revolt, causing him to be banished. He worked on Boris Godunov and the novel in verse Eugene Onegin before Nicholas I allowed him to return to Moscow in 1826. Pushkin died at age 37 following a duel with a French officer who was paying unscrupulous attention to his wife.

 

 

Heinrich Heine

Heinrich Heine was born in Düsseldorf, Germany in either 1797 or 1799. In 1831 he took exile in France, where he often struggled financially despite irregular patronage from a millionaire uncle. With freedom of speech he developed an international reputation for the lyricism, wordplay, irony, and excoriating satire of his poems, and was called the last of the Romantics. In 1841 he married Crescence Eugénie Mirat (“Mathilde”), who cared for him during eight years of paralysis; he wrote from bed until his death in 1856.

 

291: Zappa

english translation

291: Zappa

original Italian poem

291

Quand’io veggio dal ciel scender l’Aurora
co la fronte di rose et co’ crin’ d’oro,
Amor m’assale, ond’io mi discoloro,
et dico sospirando: Ivi è Laura ora.

O felice Titon, tu sai ben l’ora
da ricovrare il tuo caro tesoro:
ma io che debbo far del dolce alloro?
che se ’l vo’ riveder, conven ch’io mora.

I vostri dipartir’ non son sí duri,
ch’almen di notte suol tornar colei
che non â schifo le tue bianche chiome:

le mie notti fa triste, e i giorni oscuri,
quella che n’à portato i penser’ miei,
Né di sè m’à lasciato altro che ’l nome.

 

287: Give my regards to

english translation

287: Give my regards to

original Italian poem

287

Sennuccio mio, benché doglioso et solo
m’abbi lasciato, i’ pur mi riconforto,
perché del corpo ov’eri preso et morto
alteramente se’ levato a volo.

Or vedi inseme l’un et l’altro polo,
le stelle vaghe et lor vïaggio torto,
et vedi il veder nostro quanto è corto;
onde col tuo gioir tempro ’l mio duolo.

Ma ben ti prego che ’n la terza spera
Guitton saluti, et messer Cino, et Dante,
Franceschin nostro et tutta quella schiera.

A la mia donna puoi ben dire in quante
lagrime io vivo et son fatt’una fera,
membrando il suo bel viso et l’opre sante.

 

Horace ii.10

english translation

Horace ii.10

original Latin poem

Horace ii.10

Rectius vives, Licini, neque altum
semper urgendo neque, dum procellas
cautus horrescis, nimium premendo
            litus iniquum.

Auream quisquis mediocritatem
diligit, tutus caret obsoleti
sordibus tecti, caret invidenda
            sobrius aula.

Saepius ventis agitatur ingens
pinus et celsae graviore casu
decidunt turres feriuntque summos
            fulgura montis.

Sperat infestis, metuit secundis
alteram sortem bene praeparatum
pectus. Informis hiemes reducit
            Iuppiter; idem

summovet. Non, si male nunc, et olim
sic erit : quondam cithara tacentem
suscitat Musam neque semper arcum
            tendit Apollo.

Rebus angustis animosus atque
fortis adpare ; sapienter idem
contrahes vento nimium secundo
            turgida vela.

 

Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca)

Francesco Petrarca (1304–1374), commonly known as Petrarch in the English-speaking world, is the great Italian master whose work helped to create the Renaissance sonnet craze in England. He was a Franciscan tertiary, a scholar of the Classics, a friend to Decameron author Giovanni Boccaccio, and an immensely popular poet in his day. Despite his religious vows, he had two children out of wedlock, and is best known for sonnets professing intense love for a woman named Laura.

 

 

Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)

Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC–8 BC), “Horace” to the English-speaking world, was a Roman lyrical poet of satire and historical/pastoral odes. Son of a freedman, eventually he became close friends with Virgil. His famous Ars poetica has been an abc of poetry practice and criticism. He was given a farm near Tivoli, and there he wrote his pastoral and other poems. His main works are his Satires, Odes, Epodes, and Epistles. His Ars suggests that a poet should read widely, and be precise and plain in thought and speech.

 

Feng Zhi

Feng Zhi was born Feng Chengzhi in 1905 in Hebei province. He graduated from Beijing University, where he had studied German from 1921–27 and later (1930–35), studied German philosophy and literature in Berlin and Heidelberg. He published two poetry collections, Songs of Yesterday (1927) and Northern Wanderings and Other Poems (1929), and then didn’t publish for over a decade. He began writing again after fleeing Beijing for the south of China.

 

Sonnet 15: Look at Those Teams of Pack Horses

english translation

Sonnet 15: Look at Those Teams of Pack Horses

original Chinese poem

15. 看这一队队的驮马

      看这一队队的骡马
      驮来了远方的货物,
      水也会冲来一些泥沙
      从些不知名的远处,

      风从千万里外也会
      掠来些他乡的叹息:
      我们走过无数的山水,
      随时占有,随时又放弃,

      仿佛鸟飞行在空中,
      它随时都管领太空,
      随时都感到一无所有。

      什么是我们的实在?
      从远方什么也带不来
      从面前什么也带不走

 

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