12/9/2004

The wisdom of crowds in translation. Take Basho's

natsukusa ya / tsuwamonodomo no / yume no ato

Ueda:

Summer grasses
where stalwart soldiers
once dreamed a dream.

Page:

Old battle-field,
fresh with spring flowers again,
all that is left of the dream

Chamberlain:

Haply the summer grasses
are a relic of the warriors' dream.

Miyamori:

Ah! summer grasses wave!
The warriors' brave deeds
were a dream!

Nitobe:

The summer grass!
'Tis all that's left
of ancient warriors' dreams.


Yuasa:

A thicket of summer grass
Is all that remains
Of the dreams and ambitions
Of ancient warriors.

Corman/Kamaike:

summer grass
warriors
dreams' ruins

Miner:

The summer grasses :
The high bravery of men-at-arms,
The vestiges of dream.

Britton:

A mound of summer grass:
Are warriors' heroic deeds
Only dreams that pass?

McCullough:

A dream of warriors
after dreaming is done ,
the summer grasses.

Sato:

Summer grass: where the warriors used to dream

Henderson:

Summer grass:                                                 
of stalwart warriors' splendid dream                
the aftermath

Hamill:

Summer grasses:
all that remains of great soldiers'
imperial dreams

Rexroth:

Summer Grass
where warriors dream.

We might prefer or despise a particular version, but the best version is probably the sum total or average of all these. The more you have, the better. Any eccentricity or redundancy simply drops away. You don't need a mound of grass or a thicket of grass, just plain old natsugusa is fine.

1 comentario:

Clarissa dijo...

I like the Corman/Kamaike version the most. I wonder what this says about my taste in poetry.