Monday, 24 March 2014

Dear Friends!


Dear Friends, 

I live without hope of ever communicating my gratitude to you, to any extent I might consider satisfactory.

But please do not think of me as a pessimist! Anguish might well interrupt me on most days I wake, including those meant to be celebrated, but without your support and kind wishes, I couldn't live in the hope of otherwise making myself understood... 

And so as lousy as things have been, it just so happens the date of my birth coincides with the beginning of Spring...

Last of the tempest-scattered clouds!
You alone charge upon the azure;
You alone cast a shadow, sad;
You alone temper the brightness of day.

Over time just passed, you covered the sky,
With lightning wound around you;
You thundered into the earth;
Pouring rain upon its perpetual thirst,

Enough! Disappear, that time has passed,
The earth is refreshed; the tempest flown away,
As gentle wind, caressing the leaves of trees,
Brings forth a heavenly repose. 

*Alexandr Pushkin, 1835
Isaac Levitan: Above Eternal Peace (1894)

 "De los seres que amamos su existencia nos basta."
Of the beings we love, their existence is enough for us.

*I wasn't satisfied with the English versions already available, so I attempted to indirectly translate it myself. You may be surprised to know its a fairly common practice in the literary world for writers with very little knowledge of the original language to do this. The two versions I'd seen both tried to match the rhyming scheme (not strictly necessary considering the rhyming pairs in the original Russian alternated between genders) - obviously not possible to replicate in English. I also didn't pay too much attention to amphibrachic tetrameter, in favour of more closely replicating what the original actually said. E.g. the first of the below translations isn't sound English, and the second ignores the repetition of 'Одна ты'.

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