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The Functionaries

January 20th, 2019 · 2 Comments

From a projected book of my verse, here’s a translation of a song by the surprisingly prolific Jules Jouy (1855-1897). The problem was to translate the lyrics as closely as possible, within the original meter and rhyme scheme. It’s a paraphrase, but (I think) comes closer to the original than a literal rendering could.

(Jules Jouy, 1888)

The man, retiring for the night,
His mellow candle brightly shining,
Inspects the blankets for the sight
Of insects, faithful to the lining.
He beats the bedding, on and by
The corners, where the bedbug tarries.
He massacres, with practiced eye,
A multitude of functionaries.

The woman, baring all her curves,
Explores, with resolute precision,
Her skin, where, sampling his hors d’oeuvres,
A flea lies just outside her vision.
She scans her faultless silhouette
With many muttered commentaries.
Upon her beauty, the coquette
Is hunting for the functionaries.

The toddler shakes his golden locks,
And lifts his hand to scratch within,
For that is where elusive flocks
Parade across his tender skin.
The toddler, with a nervous air,
Complains about his “adversaries,”
And in his thick and curly hair,
He fattens up the functionaries.

Tags: *Words · F

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 mamie caton // Jan 26, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    That’s fabulous!!!!!!

  • 2 admin // Jan 27, 2019 at 11:41 am

    Thank you!

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