Oh, a day in the city square, there is no such pleasure in life!

April 25, 2011

I

Had I but plenty of money, money enough and to spare,

The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the city square;

Ah, such a life, such a life, as one leads at the window there!

II

Something to see, by Bacchus, something to hear, at least!

There, the whole day long, one’s life is a perfect feast;

While up at the villa one lives, I maintain it, no more than a beast.

Up at the Villa – Down in the City (As distinguished by an Italian person of quality) – Browning

Of course instead of admiring Browning’s deft and accurate way with a persona all I really wanted to know is how this dual text ed. I’ve got translates the line ‘Bang-whang-whang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife’.

Here goes…

‘Tan-tan tan-tan tan-tan fa il tamburo, perepé perepé perepé la trombetta’

So the translator used ‘trumpet’ because they needed something to rhyme with the next line, which ends ‘è questo il piacere piú grande della vita!’ And I guess as in the original the tan-tan, tan-tan, and perepé perepé nicely match the contrast between the Italian’s excitability about the city square, and pompous gloom about the country villa. But when the Italian word for fife is ‘il piffero’ surely another way could’ve been found. Il piffero!

Rome btw, funny place. Nice asparagus.

Il piffero, il piffero. Can’t stop saying it.

Il piffero. Tootle-te-tootle.

Poetry, eh. Rum business.

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Next week, Second Leg – Jocelyn Brooke reviews MY juvenile poetic output…

January 26, 2008

Jocelyn Brooke’s poetry…

Stop right there, a stray person accidentally reading this might say, why start with his poetry? Why start at the obscure end of an already slightly obscure figure?

Circumstance, I’m afraid. I’ve got his two volumes of poetry, December Spring (1946) and The Elements of Death (1952) next to me, and they’ve got to go back to the library soon.

As I’ve already said elsewhere, I’m not really very good at poetry, having a bit of a tin ear and tending to like stuff that people have shown me how to like, rather than having that natural feel for The Singing Line that enables the best critics to pick a single jewel out of a load of dross.

Still, we can only use the tools we’ve got…

(Rather long again, I’m afraid; my only excuse being that there’s very little on his poetry anywhere as far as I can tell, and while I’m hardly qualified to produce anything definitive, this may at least provide some grist to put to the mill of any future thoughts or discussions.)

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