Saturday, 13 October 2018

Hu Shi, his wife, and two butterflies

I admit I can't quite find what link I thought for this post to the last one. It's probably the separation in all these breakup-themed songs that linked to the separation of Hu Shi from his wife, and then I threw in the butterflies poem because why not, same author, and solitude is mentioned in it too. In any case, today we have two poems by Hu Shi which I translated to English and French – and Italian! I'm surprised, I didn't remember that – shortly after finding them online in late 2011 (year 1 of studying Chinese) and had corrected shortly afterwards. Actually, one of them was not translated to French! Surprise! I'll spare you the wrong translations though. Honestly, I'm struggling with poem 2. Why did my corrected translation read the last line as having subject "I" when he's been talking of "those who travel the whole world" for the last few lines? And what does the 定 in line 5 mean? I reworked part of those translations, but won't go into intermediate versions to avoid cluttering this post. Let's see them!


两个黄蝴蝶      双双飞上天。
不知为什么      一个忽飞还。
剩下那一个      孤单怪可怜,
也无心上天      天上太孤单。


Two yellow butterflies      both fly up to the sky.
I do not know why,      one of them comes back.
The one left, alone      and pitiable in faith,
Wishes not to rise:      she's lonely in the sky.
Liǎng gè huáng húdié, shuāngshuāng fēi shàngtiān.
Bùzhī wèishénme      yī gè hū fēi huán.
Shèngxià nà yī gè      gūdān guài kělián,
Yě wú xīn shàng tiān      tiān shàng tài gūdān.


Deux papillons jaunes      veulent ensemble au ciel.
Je n’ sais pas pourquoi,      l’une s’en va en arrière.
L’autre, abandonnée,      seule et pitoyable,
Veut pas s’envoler:      en ciel elle est très seule.


Due farfalle gialle      insieme al ciel sen vanno.
Chissà per qual ragione,      una torna indietro.
L’altra, lasciata, sola,      è compatibil molto,

E non si vuol levare:      in ciel sarebbe sola.


病中得他书,不满八行纸。
全无要紧话,颇使我欢喜。
我不认得他,他不认得我。
我却纪念他,这是为什么?
岂不因我们,分定长相亲。
由分生情意,所以非路人。
天边一游子,生不识故里。
终有故乡情,其理亦如此。
岂不爱自由,此意无人晓。
情愿不自由,便是自由了。


Sick, I got her words,      not e’en eight full lines.
Not so serious words,      made me happy quite.
I do not know her,      she does not know me.
I rememb’r her though;      why can that e’er be?
Is it not ’cause we      long apart, feel love
Born from being apart,      so stranger she is not?
Those always far from home      live but know no home.
They love it still i’ th’ end,      thus do I her love.
Is’t not freedom to love?      This no-one answer can.
They’d rather not be free,      but are nought but free.
Bìng zhōng dé tā shū,      bù mǎn bā háng zhǐ.
Quán wú yàojǐn huà,      pō shǐ wǒ huānxǐ.
Wǒ bù rènde tā,      tā bù rènde wǒ.
Wǒ què jìniàn tā,      zhè shì wèishénme?
Qǐ bù yīn wǒmen,      fēndìng zhǎng xiāngqīn.
Yóu fēn shēng qíngyì,      suǒyǐ fēi lùrén.

Tiānbiān yī yóuzǐ,      shēng bù shí gùlǐ.
Zhōng yǒu gùxiāng qíng,      qí lǐ yì rúcǐ.
Qǐbù ài zìyóu,      cǐ yì wú rén xiǎo.
Qíngyuàn bù zìyóu,      biànshì zìyóule.
.

Men d’otto righe scrisse a me, malato;
Non gravi motti; ma mi fêr felice.
Lei non è nota a me, né io a lei.
Eppur me la ricordo; come posso?
Non è nato un amor dal nostro stare
Divisi, per cui lei non m'è straniera?
Chi tutto il mondo viaggia, non conosce
Casa. Infin patria brama, e così pensa:
«Non è amar libertà?». Nessuno sa
Risponder. Libero è, ma nol vorrebbe.

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