Such a bad, bad translation



Such a bad, bad translation was presented here for one of Hafez‘s poems that cause me to do my own translation, although I usually try to stay away from any poets who is remotely famous.


حافظ، غزل ٢٦ 

زلف آشفته و خوی کرده و خندان لب و مست
پیرهن چاک و غزل خوان و صراحی در دست

نرگسـش عربده جوی و لبش افسوس کنان
نیم شب دوش به بالین من آمد بنشسـت

سر فرا گوش مـن آورد بـه آواز حزین
گفـت ای عاشق دیرینه من خوابت هست

عاشـقی را کـه چنین باده شبگیر دهـند
کافر عـشـق بود گر نـشود باده پرسـت

برو ای زاهد و بر دردکـشان خرده مـگیر
کـه ندادند جز این تحفه به ما روز السـت

آن چـه او ریخت بـه پیمانـه ما نوشیدیم
اگر از خمر بهشت است وگر باده مـسـت

خـنده جام می و زلـف گره گیر نـگار
ای بسا توبه که چون توبه حافظ بشکسـت

Hafez, Sonnet 26

Untidy hair, sweaty, laughing lips and drunk
Shirt rifted, reciting sonnet, and pure wine in hand

Eyes quarrelsome and lips repenting
Midnight last night came to me, sat by my bed

Head bent to my ear, with a gloomy croon,
Said, “O, my old lover, did you have sleep in mind!”

Giving to a lover such a fine nightly wine
Unbeliever of love must be, not to become worshiper of wine

O the pious, go away and do not find fault with true lovers,
For none was given, other than this trove on the creation day

Whatever was poured in the chalice, we drank
Whether Heaven’s booze, or drunkenness’s wine

Smiling cup of wine and lover’s knotted curl,
O, so many repentance, which just like the rainbow, Hafez broke them all



In the absence of “Preposition” words, such as “of”, in the original Farsi text of the poem, also the absence of gender specific “Personal Pronouns”, such as “he” or “she”, and also the absence of punctuation marks; translation of these types of text is extremely difficult.

For example, the difference between these three clauses is huge:

آن چـه او (مذکر) ریخت بـه پیمانـه

آن چـه او (مؤنث) ریخت بـه پیمانـه

آن چـه او (خدا) ریخت بـه پیمانـه

Also, there is big difference between these two:

آن چـه او ریخت بـه پیمانـه، ما نوشیدیم

آن چـه او ریخت بـه پیمانـهِ ما، نوشیدیم

And also, in the last verse, I decided to interperete it this way:

ای بسا توبه که، چون توبه، حافظ بشکسـت

In this way, the first (توبه) means “repentance”, and the second (توبه) means (قوس قزح), which means “rainbow”.


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