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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Baudelaire, L'Albatros

Souvent, pour s'amuser, les hommes d'équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l'azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d'eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu'il est comique et laid!
L'un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L'autre mime, en boitant, l'infirme qui volait!

Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l'archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l'empêchent de marcher.

Here are some English versions of the poem, followed by renderings into Romanian. Enjoy!

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of a crew
Catch albatrosses, those vast sea birds
That indolently follow a ship
As it glides over the deep, briny sea.

Scarcely have they placed them on the deck
Than these kings of the sky, clumsy, ashamed,
Pathetically let their great white wings
Drag beside them like oars.

That winged voyager, how weak and gauche he is,
So beautiful before, now comic and ugly!
One man worries his beak with a stubby clay pipe;
Another limps, mimics the cripple who once flew!

The poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky
Who frequents the tempest and laughs at the bowman;
When exiled on the earth, the butt of hoots and jeers,
His giant wings prevent him from walking.

— William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)

(Léo Ferré chante L'Albatros)
(video by bredouilleSKB)

Sometimes for sport the men of loafing crews
Snare the great albatrosses of the deep,
The indolent companions of their cruise
As through the bitter vastitudes they sweep.

Scarce have they fished aboard these airy kings
When helpless on such unaccustomed floors,
They piteously droop their huge white wings
And trail them at their sides like drifting oars.

How comical, how ugly, and how meek
Appears this soarer of celestial snows!
One, with his pipe, teases the golden beak,
One, limping, mocks the cripple as he goes.

The Poet, like this monarch of the clouds,
Despising archers, rides the storm elate.
But, stranded on the earth to jeering crowds,
The great wings of the giant baulk his gait.

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

(L'Albatros - Une Interpretation Visuelle)
with Thomas Vande Castele and Yann Vanhalewin
(video by Yannie penguin)

Sometimes, to entertain themselves, the men of the crew
Lure upon deck an unlucky albatross, one of those vast
Birds of the sea that follow unwearied the voyage through,
Flying in slow and elegant circles above the mast.

No sooner have they disentangled him from their nets
Than this aerial colossus, shorn of his pride,
Goes hobbling pitiably across the planks and lets
His great wings hang like heavy, useless oars at his side.

How droll is the poor floundering creature, how limp and weak —
He, but a moment past so lordly, flying in state!
They tease him: One of them tries to stick a pipe in his beak;
Another mimics with laughter his odd lurching gait.

The Poet is like that wild inheritor of the cloud,
A rider of storms, above the range of arrows and slings;
Exiled on earth, at bay amid the jeering crowd,
He cannot walk for his unmanageable wings.

— George Dillon, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

Often our sailors, for an hour of fun,
Catch albatrosses on the after breeze
Through which these trail the ship from sun to sun
As it skims down the deep and briny seas.

Scarce have these birds been set upon the poop,
Than, awkward now, they, the sky's emperors,
Piteous and shamed, let their great white wings droop
Beside them like a pair of idle oars.

These wingèd voyagers, how gauche their gait!
Once noble, now how ludicrous to view!
One sailor bums them with his pipe, his mate
Limps, mimicking these cripples who once flew.

Poets are like these lords of sky and cloud,
Who ride the storm and mock the bow's taut strings,
Exiled on earth amid a jeering crowd,
Prisoned and palsied by their giant wings.

— Jacques LeClercq, Flowers of Evil (Mt Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1958)

(Poème interprété librement)
(video by Bakou Zaka)

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of the crew
Catch those great birds of the seas, the albatrosses,
lazy companions of the voyage, who follow
The ship that slips through bitter gulfs.

Hardly have they put them on the deck,
Than these kings of the skies, awkward and ashamed,
Piteously let their great white wings
Draggle like oars beside them.

This winged traveler, how weak he becomes and slack!
He who of late was so beautiful, how comical and ugly!
Someone teases his beak with a branding iron,
Another mimics, limping, the crippled flyer!

The Poet is like the prince of the clouds,
Haunting the tempest and laughing at the archer;
Exiled on earth amongst the shouting people,
His giant's wings hinder him from walking.

— Geoffrey Wagner, Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire (NY: Grove Press, 1974)

And here are two Romanian versions: the renderings of Alexandru Philippide and Tudor Arghezi. Gorgeous verses! Look at mari pasari calatorind pe mare and pasari tacute ale marii! At corabia pornita pe valurile-amare and corabiile duse de razvratirea marii! And the poet, Printul dintre nori!


Din joaca, marinarii pe bord, din cand in candc
Prind albatrosi, mari pasari calatorind pe mare
Care-nsotesc, tovarasi de drum cu zborul bland
Corabia pornita pe valurile-amare.

Pe punte jos ei care sus in azur sunt regi
Acuma par fiinte stangace si sfiioase
Si-aripile lor albe si mari le lasa, blegi
Ca niste vasle grele s-atarne caraghioase

Cat de greoi se misca drumetul cu aripe!
Frumos candva, acuma ce slut e si plapand
Unu-i loveste pliscul cu gatul unei pipe
Si altul fara mila il stramba schiopatand.

Poetul e asemeni cu printul vastei zari
Ce-si rade de sageata si prin furtuni alearga
Jos pe pamant si printre batjocuri si ocari
Aripele-i imense l-impiedica sa mearga.

- Alexandru Philippide, in Florile Raului - editie bilingva alcatuita de Geo Dumitrescu (Bucuresti: Editura pentru Literatura Universala, 1968)

Ca sa se joace uneori unii marinari
Prind albatrosii, pasari tacute ale marii,
Care-nsotesc de-aproape, ca niste steaguri mari,
Corabiile duse de razvratirea marii.

Abia lasati din brate pe scanduri, sub catarg,
Acestor soimi puternici ai marelui azur
Incep sa le atarne, ca un vestmant prea lard,
Aripile greoaie, din umeri, imprejur.

Infuntatorul boltii e-acum stangaci si sui.
Semet pin'adineauri, viteazul s-a prostit.
Glumind, un om ii vara in cioc luleaua lui
Ori il maimutareste cu mersul izmenit.

Asemeni e poetul cu Printul dintre nori.
Stapan peste furtuna, prapastie si vant,
E-mpiedicat sa mearga, hulit de muritori,
Cand aripile-i vaste l-arunca de pamant.

- Tudor Arghezi, in Florile Raului - editie bilingva alcatuita de Geo Dumitrescu (Bucuresti: Editura pentru Literatura Universala, 1968)


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