I have reviewed my own comments and the French text ...
I do not know if it will be of any help for you nut anyway here they are:
Thomas Stearns Eliot
Lune de Miel
Ils ont vu les Pays-Bas, ils rentrent à Terre Haute;
Mais une nuit d’été, les voici à Ravenne,
A l’aise entre deux draps, chez deux centaines de punaises;
La sueur aestivale, et une forte odeur de chienne.
Ils restent sur le dos écartant les genoux
De quatre jambes molles tout gonflées de morsures.
On relève le drap pour mieux égratigner.
Moins d’une lieue d’ici est Saint Apollinaire
En Classe, basilique connue des amateurs
De chapiteaux d’acanthe que tournoie le vent.
Ils vont prendre le train de huit heures
Prolonger leurs misères de Padoue à Milan
Où se trouvent la Cène, et un restaurant pas cher.
Lui pense aux pourboires, et rédige son bilan.
Ils auront vu la Suisse et traversé la France.
Et Saint Apollinaire, raide et ascétique,
Vieille usine désaffectée de Dieu, tient encore
Dans ses pierres écroulantes la forme précise de Byzance.
They saw the Low Countries, they are returning to High Ground; But on a summer night, here they are at Ravenna, Comfortable between two bed sheets, in the company of two hundred fleas; The summer sweat, and a strong bitch smell. They lay on their back spreading the knees Of four soft legs all swollen by the bites. They remove the bedsheet so as to scratch better. Less than a league from here is Saint Apollinaire En Classe, basilica known to lovers Of capitals of acanthus whirled by the wind * They are going to take the eight o'clock train To prolong their misery from Padua to Milan Where they find the Last Supper** and a cheap restaurant. Thinking of tips and doing calculations***, They will have seen Switzerland and passed through France. And Saint Apollinaire, stiff and ascetic, An old abandoned factory of God, still preserves In its crumbling stones the precise form of Byzantium. *Translation by Professor S. Jathaul, former Chairman, Department of French, Panjab University, Chandigarh (India) Low Countries – is the right translation and allows the word play between Low and High For Haute Terre I would prefer High Ground It still keeps the word play and High Ground opens up on a different meaning with high "moral" ground coming to mind as an opposition to the low moral grounds often associated with the Low Countries. High Land with two words is not incorrect but does not have the same impact I feel Highlands would also be a solution but Scotland has nothing to do with the story The closest French translation would be: Of capitals of acanthus that the wind whirls around.
*Of capitals of acanthus whirled by the wind
is much better in English even if it means a slight change from active to passive form The subject of the verb "to whirl" is the wind. The e of tournoie means singular in the French version but the verb "tournoyer" is intransitive so it is not possible to be sure on that particular translation I feel a French person would have automatically said "que fait tournoyer le vent" or "qui tournoient dans le vent" but Eliot's French was not perfect … maybe he wrote incorrectly "que tournoie le vent" and when it was reviewed, probably with Dulac, he may have liked to keep it this way as it is easier to the ear than: "fait tournoyer". ** Personally, I would prefer to keep the word Cene* and have a note explaining the pun for the Last Supper and also an explanation showing that this line is probably a reference to Guillaume Apollinaire's "Le Pont Mirabeau"
"où coule la Seine et nos amours"
The same syntax (zeugma) is used and the choice of the homonyms Seine et Cene is intended in my opinion. I definitively prefer "Last Supper" to Supper as it is the closest translation and the word play about being a different kind of supper is also shown. By keeping just "supper"
the zeugma disappears and the link to Apollinaire's poem disappears too.
"De quatre jambes molles tout gonflées de morsures. " I do not know if the version in poems 1920 I read was printed incorrectly or not but "tout" is grammatically incorrect. it should be "toutes" and in this case the translation is correct. pierres écroulantes is also grammatically incorrect or he created a neologism. He was probably guided by rolling stones on one hand and "écrouler" (crumbling down) on the other … the translation is more meaningful than the original enigmatic French _expression.
"doing calculation" should/could also be changed but I could not find anything better this evening although "bilan" is much more about checking the value of the overall trip/honeymoon/marriage decision than mere calculations
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2006 1:18 PM
Subject: Re: TSE Digest - Lune de Miel translation
Thanks, Rolland, for your elucidation. I entirely agree wih you.
In the light of observations made at the TSE
List so far, I find two flaws
in Professor Jathaul's translation (otherwise done so well):
1. We must retain only "Supper" instead of the "Last Supper".
Maybe when Professor Jathaul was helping me out with the translation
and I was taking notes, he intended only "Supper" to be retained, explaining
it as "Last Supper" for my knowledge only. It was I finally who was responsible
for a final draft
of what he had dictated. Finally, when I read out to him the
finished product, he did nod satisfaction.
2. As to the line "Of capitals of acanthus which turn the wind",
it should be "Of
capitals of acanthus turned by the wind".
Please confirm if this change is correct. (BTW, here too,
Professor Jathaul was in the process of formulating the
right translation when I almost snatched from him a half-formed
_expression and said it must be the poet's purport -- I was so
excited by the implications of "which turn the wind".)
Many thanks and with best regards.