Wednesday 19th of June 2024

pour les pleurs et les cris sans yeux et sans oreilles.....

It is not the great ones, but the simple peasant, 

Whom the earth knows as children complacent

The earth does not like blood nor filth 

From tyrants and their impure hands comes nothing but blood and filth. 

The loving plowmen open nature’s breast with such beautiful colours,

Make the streams run through the green meadows, 

In variegated enamel, through the wild flowers; 

By order and by compass the azure gardens 

Show to the laughing sky their measured earths, 

The mown flowerbeds, and the straight paths

Ruler in hands, a straight line re-casts; 

They are painters, embroiderers, and then their large carpets blacken 

With grapes and turn yellow with spices from heaven; 

The shady forests, their more open dwellings, 

Fan their sweat and cover them with kindlings. 

The earth therefore seems, weeping with worry

to console the little ones by saying to them in a flurry:

 

Children of my sorrow, from the height of heaven the ire, 

Wants to kill me first to kill you dire; 

You languish, and then the sweetest of my bounty

Goes to fill with pleasure those who are worthless.

Now, waiting for the time for heaven to regress, 

Or for the God of heaven to divert his ire somewhere else, 

Later on, to make you taste my sweetness,

Hide yourselves under my robe of black forests, 

And, in the depths of misfortune, may each of you enter twice, 

my children, into the darkness of my device. 

Abominable lazy people destroy and burn your labours, 

Your breasts smell of hunger and your foreheads sweat. 

I bring sweetness to the bitter roots, 

For there will be meat and medicine for you, 

But I will destroy my blessings 

From those who go sucking the blood of the nations: 

For them all will be bitter; let them come out, execrable, 

From their bed without rest, taken out from their tables.

 

For, to show how in destruction 

Man is no longer a man, he takes refection 

From weeds, carrion, unpretentious meat, 

Delighting in the meals prepared for beasts. 

The poisonous root is taken without fear, 

Good, if it can be softened and eaten. 

The council of hunger teaches the teeth by force 

To plunder forests and rob and destroy them. 

The earth without ceremony is ashamed to see herself, 

Still looking for hands and no longer can have any. 

Every home is exiled; the rural villages empty, 

Without doors and floors, without doors nor windows, 

Makes a terrible appearance, as does the dead body, 

A monster, exposing bones, says someone is doing wrong. 

The wolves and the foxes and the wild beasts 

Take the place of humans, possess the villages' feasts, 

So much so that in the same place where, in peace, 

we took care to knead the bread, we gather the keep. 

If the toiler can steal from himself some grain 

Concealed by extreme pain, 

Hoping without hope for the end of misfortunes,

Then we can see plowmen pair together, 

To a plowshare tied to make way through the earth 

To sow the grains, the mainstay of the war; 

Yet the following year, miserable eyes 

Drenched by the sweat of foreheads, laborious 

When, suffering the yoke like the most servile beasts, 

Bound like oxen, coupled each other by the heads,

Seeing from a stranger the harsh hand 

That takes from them, life and hope and steal the grain. 

So, bathed in tears, into the woods they return; 

To the blind rocks to afflict, they dwell; 

They go suffering from hunger, which they carry painfully, 

In the grip of the wrath and infernal torment 

That they felt formerly, when their houses filled 

With demons in flesh, sepulchres of their lives, 

Served them dung, or hung by their fingers 

From sharp cords, or tied to wood

Force-lied on the fire, or with flaming fat

Their naked bodies tortured, while the wailing complaints

Of their children hung by the feet, torn

From the breast that they grabbed, the teats drying up; 

Or else, when the soldier's hungry-beast diet 

Took life instead of bread from his host, 

Avenged, but not drunk, bruised father and mother 

Leaving in their cradles,  children so small 

Still wrapped in nappies. Prisoners in their beds, 

They died of hunger: from the innocent mouth 

The plaintive soul go to a happier place 

To burst out its clamour at the great throne of God, 

While the Kings, adorned with their rich substance, 

In pomp and feasts deceived their own conscience, 

Stuff their grand ruins on others, 

Fat with innocent juices, rejoicing in boredom, 

Stupid, without taste nor pity nor wonders 

For tears and cries without eyes and without ears.

 

Agrippa d'Aubigné

(16th century — PRINCES)

 

TRANSLATION AND ADAPTATION BY JULES LETAMBOUR.

 

 

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languages....

NOTE FROM JULES LETAMBOUR, TRANSLATOR, HISTORIAN, GEOGRAPHER:

Languages diversity is not a curse. 

Language can induced contempt — or shall I say, habit of misunderstanding.

In many instance, language is used to dominate us aka Big Brother (1984). Words become slanted with unmeaning.

Translation of works such as the one above are challenging, that is to say, one needs to find the new lingo-words that convey the original meanings without betraying the elegance nor the shock value contained — which to some extent can become incomprehensible in the original language... The concepts are often over the head of the readers, who are too young, too eager to move on to the next amusing follies. The ideas above seem old yet unfortunately they are still in our mist.

Poems such as the one above were studied at school by French pupils who had no idea about the depth and meanings expressed... 

Agrippa d'Aubigné is also somewhat ignored by the French literati for he did not conform. He was a staunch Protestant, and a warrior who hated war...

 

Meanwhile, American English is being used by the American Empire to subdue everyone else.... Beware.

 

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