Sunday, September 16, 2012

verlaine 1

This is sort of a reproduction of a book I "published" in 1997 after I had become a bit accustomed to using a wordprocessor and printer.  This was way before I acquired a scanner, so the texts here were all laboriously typed out one by one.  I think I printed about 20 copies and gave most of them to the Grolier Poetry Bookshop. 

I did this chapbook and another one, also a selection of verse translations (which I will post here next).  I was going to edit and print a bunch of these pirates (hence the name of my "press"), but it became too much of a tedious process, and I was uneasy about the copyright questions—though indeed many of the versions below were or are now in public domain. . . .

I believe that there can never be too many translations (or imitations if you prefer) of great verse.  Even the least of these efforts I find delightful, or at least challenging in their choices.  Theoretically there may be a time-limit, or a number beyond which any further translations of a given work would be redundant.  But they're still Beowulfing and Danteing and Catullusing, so who's to say when there should come an end to Verlaining?

There have been recent booklength translations of Verlaine by Norman T. Shapiro and Karl Kirchwey, both of which deserve the high praise they have received. 

And please let me recommend the versions by Louis Simpson, in a collection devoted to his brilliant translations: Modern Poets of France, 1997 (Story Line Press).


Published February 1997.

The translations here have been reproduced
as faithfully as possible—I have used the same
titles/capitalization/indentations/italics as the
original sources.  I have not changed or added

                   —"Captain Hook"


CAPTAIN HOOK BOOKS is, as the name implies,
a pirate press.  From time to time we will publish
books which ought to exist.


                  IN ENGLISH

        captain hook books




The long sobs in
The violin
Of autumn, harry me
With incubus
Of langourous
And sad monotony.

I suffocate
And pallid wait
As that lost hour nears,
It used to bring
A joy now turned to tears—

And I rush out
To windy rout,
That whirls me and my grief
Through troubled air,
Now here, now there,
Another withered leaf.

—Lilian White Spencer



Long sobbing winds,
The violins
    Of autumn drone,
Wounding my heart
With languorous smart
    In monotone.

Choking and pale,
When on the gale
    The hour sounds deep,
I call to mind
Dead years behind,
    And I weep.

And I, going,
Borne by blowing
    Winds and grief,
Flutter, here—there,
As on the air
    The dying leaf.

—Bergen Applegate



The sobs are long
    On the violins
Of the barren throng
    Where no leaf spins;
And my heart's heavy
    And listless grown
At hearing ever
    Their monotone.

I catch my breath
    And I blanch, aghast
As the loud clock saith,
    "Thine hour is past."
And I remember
    The days long flown,
And thinking on them
    I weep alone;

And away I go
    In the evil wind
That starts to blow
    Like a thing unkind,
Hither and thither
    From sill to stone—
A drifting flotsam,
    A dead leaf blown.

—Wilfrid Thorley



The long wail thins
On the violins
Of autumn song,
And wound my heart
With langourous dart,

I suffocate,
Grow pale, when late
Resounds the hour;
And I recall
The past, and all:
The hot tears shower.

And my spirit finds
The evil winds
Which bear its grief
Hither and there
Upon the air,
Like a dead leaf.

—William A. Drake



When a sighing begins
In the violins
Of the autumn-song,
My heart is drowned
In the slow sound
Languorous and long.

Pale as with pain,
Breath fails me when
The hour tolls deep.
My thoughts recover
The days that are over,
And I weep.

And I go
Where the winds know,
Broken and brief,
To and fro,
As the winds blow
A dead leaf.

—Arthur Symons



Autumn begins:
her violins
        sigh and sob. 
They fill my breast
with dull unrest,
        leaden throb.

I gasp, I pale,
my senses fail;
        slow hours creep.
I think upon
days that are gone,
        and I weep.

My course is blind;
by an ill wind
        my thoughts are hurled
now here, now there,
as in the air
        dead leaves whirled.

—Brian Hill



The long sobbings
Of violin-strings—
    Autumn's own—
Wound my heart's core
With a languor
    Of monotone.

I stifle, pale
As death, the while
    The hour is tolled.
My memory strays
To former days:
    I weep, grow cold

And I am spinned
In the ill wind
    That carries my grief
Now here, now there,
Tossed everywhere
    Like a dead leaf.

—Gerard Previn Meyer



With long sobs
the violin-throbs
    of autumn wound
my heart with languorous
and monotonous

Choking and pale
when I mind the tale
    the hours keep,
my memory strays
down other days
    and I weep;

and I let me go
where ill winds blow,
    now here, now there,
harried and sped
even as a dead
    leaf, anywhere.

 —C.F. MacIntyre


Song of Autumn

Leaf-strewing gales
Utter low wails
         Like violins,—
Till on my soul
Their creeping dole
         Stealthily wins. . . .

Days long gone by!
In such hour, I,
         Choking and pale,
Call you to mind,—
Then like the wind
         Weep I and wail.

And, as by wind
Harsh and unkind,
         Driven by grief,
Go I, here, there,
Recking not where,
         Like the dead leaf.

—Gertrude Hall



The fiddles long
  Sob out their song
    Of autumn's moan,
      Wounding my heart
        With languid art
          In monotone. 

Choking and pale
  When without fail
    The hour tolls deep,
      I think at last
        Of old days past
          And I weep . . .

And I go hence
  In the violence
    Of the wind's grief,
      Hither and yon,
        Ever anon
          Like a dead leaf.

 —Jacques Le Clercq



When the violins
Of the autumn winds
Begin to sigh
My heart is torn
With their forlorn

And when the hour
Sounds from the tower
I weep tears
For I recall
The loss of all
My perished years.

And then I go
With the winds that blow
And carry me
There and here
Like a withered and sere
Leaf from a tree.

 —"Helen Haggerty"  

( Note:
Helen Haggerty is a character in The Chill (1964), a novel by Ross MacDonald, who presumably wrote this version himself. )



The sobs long drawn
Of the autumn
Cause a wound in
Mv heart of a monotonous

Quite choking
And pallid, when
The hour is tolling,
I remember
The days gone by
And I cry;

And I go off in
The evil wind
That carries me ahead
To this area
And that, like the
Leaf that is dead.

—Enid Rhodes Peschel



In mournful sob
The viols throb
      With autumn's moan
And wound my heart
Whose languors start
      Grief's monotone.

When sorrow's pall
Spreads over all,
      This hour I know—
In dreams I gaze
On happier days
      And tears must flow.

And I am cast
Upon the vast—
      The wind of grief;
Forever whirled
About the world—
      A withered leaf.

—Richard Burdick Eldridge


Autumn Song

The heavy thrall
Of the sobbing call
       Of the fall
Weighs, nor departs
Like my heart's

And dumb,
       As the hours creep
I see the haze
Of olden days
       And weep.

And I go away
The wind's prey,
       In barren, brief
Whirl hither and yon
Like a wan
       Dead leaf.

—Joseph T. Shipley



The wailing note
That long doth float
   From Autumn's bow,
Doth wound my heart
With no quick smart,
   But dull and slow.

In breathless pain,
I hear again
   The hour ring deep.
I call once more
The days of yore,
   And then I weep.

I drift afar
On winds which bear
   My soul in grief.
Their evil force
Deflects its course,
   Like a dead leaf.

—Ashmore Wingate



The viols' cry
In winds that die
    Whilst autumn dies
My heart hath torn
With its forlorn
    And languid sighs.

Weary and white
When through the night
    The hours are tolled,
Once more I fain
Would weep again
    For days of old.

And on the vast
Remorseless blast
    Upborn I go,
Hurled hence afar
As dead leaves are
    Blown to and fro.

—F.C. Evans



The slow sobbing
Of the violins
    Of autumn
Wounds my heart
With a monotonous

And pale, when
    The hour sounds,
I recall to mind
The days of old
    And I weep.

And I go
With the evil wind
    Which carries me
To and fro,
Just like
    A dead leaf.

—Roland Gant/Claude Apcher


Autumn Music

My heart-strings throb
When violins sob
    In autumn woods;
Again relive
Days fugitive
    And languorous moods.

Vainly distraught
By haunting thought,
    I cannot sleep;
But all alone,
All woebegone,
    I dream and weep.

And then I go
Where wild winds blow,
    Drifting in grief
Now here, now there,
I ask not where,
    Like a dead leaf.

—William Frederick Giese



Autumn begins
With violins
Of lament,
Wounding my breast
With dull, oppressed

Roused by the shocks
Of stricken clocks
From pale sleep,
I think upon
Sweet nights now gone;
And I weep.

And my heart flies
Down wailing skies,
In my grief
Blown here and there
As down night air
The dead leaf.

—Watson Kirkconnell



The sobbing slow,
Like violins low,
    Of the autumn wind
Wounds my tired heart,
With languid dart
    My weary mind.

With stifled breath,
All pallid, Death
    Seems near to creep.
I dream in pain
Old days again
    And softly weep.

Forth I go blind
In the wild wind;
    Am rudely thrown
Now here, now there
To dark despair
    Like a leaf blown.

—Christian Malloch



In sobbing tones
Of violin, moans
    Autumn's breath,
Wounding my heart
With languorous art
    Drear as death.

Stifled and faint
At sad complaint
    Of time outworn,
On distant years
I muse, and tears
    Fall forlorn.

And I, resigned
To evil wind
    Fraught with grief,
Am whirled about
In endless rout
    Like withered leaf.

—Dorothy Martin



The Autumn's long
Drawn, sobbing song
           My soul
Wounds with a slow,
Monotonous throe
           Of dole.

Pale, without power,
Whenas the hour
           Chimes deep,
The old days all
'I'o mind I call
           And weep.

And off so I
On the wind fly
           Of grief,
Which this, that way,
Bears me, like a
           Dead leaf.

—John Payne



The wailing tones
And viol-moans
      Of Autumn make
A wound that grieves
My heart and leaves
      A weary ache.

All breathless—pale—
I hear the tale
      Of hours chime,
And weeping sore
I see once more
      The vanished time.

Then I—I go
As haps to blow
      The storm—and sped
Or there, or here,
Like a leaf I veer,
      The leaf that's dead.

—Mabel Peacock


Autumn Song

The long sobbing
Of violins
    On autumn days
My heart doth wound
And I despond

All words are gone.
Sallow and wan,
    When the moment nears,
I then recall
Time's funeral
    And I shed tears;

It is my end,
And the rough wind
    Bears me, in grief,
This way and that,
    Like a dead leaf.

—Joanna Richardson


An Autumn Song.

The long-drawn sighs,
Like violin-cries,
    Of autumn wailing,
Lull in my soul
The languorous shoal
    Of thoughts assailing.

Wan, as whom knells
Of funeral bells
    Bemoan and banish,
I weep upon
Days dead and gone
    With dreams that vanish;

Then helpless swing
On the wind's wing;
    Tossed hither and thither
As winter sweeps
From swirling heaps
    Worn leaves that wither.

—W.J. Robertson



Les sanglots longs
Des violons
    De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
    Sonne l'heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
    Et je pleure;

Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
    Qui m'emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
    Feuille morte.


No comments:

Post a Comment