Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jacques Brel - The song of the old lovers


Original Title: "La chanson des vieux amants"
Of course, we had thunderstorms
Twenty years of love, it's the mad love
A thousand times you took your luggage
A thousand times I took flight
And every furniture remembers
In this bedroom without cradle
Of the splinters of old tempests
Nothing resembled to anything no more
You had lost the taste of water
And I the one of conquest

But my love
My sweet, my tender, my marvellous love
From the clear dawn until the end of the day
I love you still, you know, I love you

I, I know all your spells
You know all my bewitchment
You kept me from trap to trap
I have lost you time to time
Of course you took a few lovers
The time had well to be passed
The body well has to exult
But finally, finally
It required us quite a lot of talent
To be old without being adult

But my love
My sweet, my tender, my marvellous love
From the clear dawn until the end of the day
I love you still, you know, I love you

And more time makes us a procession
And more time makes us torment
But isn't it the worst trap
To live in peace for lovers
Of course you cry a bit less early
I tear myself up a bit later
We protect our mysteries less
We trust luck less
We are wary of the current
But it's still the tender war

But my love
My sweet, my tender, my marvellous love
From the clear dawn until the end of the day
I love you still, you know, I love you

2 comments:

  1. Thanks! have you seen laurika rauch's translation http://www.laurikarauch.com/?song=song-of-the-old-lovers-la-chanson-des-vieux-amants

    I don't know who translated it thus but it's more of a poetic/meaning translation not word for word.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your input.

      Actually it's something I asked myself when I started this. Should I try to keep the metric and verses and thus make a more poetic version or keep a word to word translation. I ended up going with the "word to word" (while keeping the meaning) because I find the other way a betrayal of the original. The translation you linked is a good example, for me it's a different poem inspired by Jacques Brel's Song but it has "nothing to do" with it (but then it matches the music better) In fact one of the reason I did this is because I found myself frustrated by other people's translations which I think did not respect the source texts.

      The translations you find here also serve me in french as a way to grasp a better understanding of the meaning of the songs themselves, I just happen to share them as well ;) It's not always possible to grab a true meaning (mostly when there are some play on words or double meanings which can not be translated but sometimes also just because it's poetry and is more meant to be felt than understood) but somehow I find it easier to do so when you reach the simple meaning of words, the images they bring up are more interesting to me than the rhymes.

      I know I could rework some songs mostly for them to be more readable (add some commas and be more respectful of english grammar or some things I am still not sure how to translate correctly) even maybe not respect the original position of the words like I did too much until now but with 320 songs translated that's a lot of work (just making sure the youtube video is still up is ), I time to time go back and update or correct older ones though.

      Also I guess for non poetic songs (there are a few) it matters less and I could try to offer something which would be a personnal rework but I haven't managed to do that yet either :/.

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Mouloudji - We have to live

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