Timothy Adès : Poet and Translator

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Giambattista Marino (1569–1625): Batto, Qui Pianse Ergasto

Translated by Timothy Adès

Set to music by Monteverdi

“Batto, qui pianse Ergasto, ecco la riva
ove, mentre seguia cerva fugace,
fuggendo Clori il suo pastor seguace,
non so se più seguiva o se fuggiva.

Deh, mira! — egli dicea — se fugitiva
fera pur saettar tanto ti piace,
saetta questo cor che soffre in pace
le piaghe, anzi ti segue e non le schiva.


Lasso, non m’odi?” E qui tremante e fioco
e tacque e giacque. A questi ultimi accenti
l’empia si volse e rimirollo un poco.

Allor di nove Amor fiamme cocenti
l’accese. Or chi dirà che non sia foco
l’umor che cade da due lumi ardenti?

Translation: copyright © Timothy Adès

‘Battus!’ Ergastus cried. ‘This is the hollow
where the fair Chloris chased the fleeing doe,
and fled her chasing swain: nor do I know
if she strove more to flee, or more to follow.

‘Look!’ he exclaimed. ‘You take such joy in hunting
the flitting hart: you shoot it as you please:
then shoot my heart! It bears its wounds in peace,
even pursues you, careless of the wounding.

‘You do not hear me out!’ Dry–lipped and shaking,
here he fell down, and lay, no longer speaking.
She, cruel, briefly turned on him her eyes.

Love with new searing flames set him alight.
A humour spills from two eyes burning bright:
a humour, which is fire, as none denies.

Content: copyright © Timothy Adès 2010–2017; all rights reserved

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