Thursday, June 10, 2010

Translations from Francisco Balagtas Baltazar's Florante at Laura

        For Celia (Kay Selya)

(1) If I should venture from my thoughts peruse

Those days of love, bygone and deeply mourned,

Be it obscure, could I a word disclose

Except of Celia, in my heart enthroned?


(2) The selfsame Celia did always provoke

Wild apprehensions that she might betray

Our love betrayed, perforce endure the yoke

Of fate to sink in endless misery.


(3) Could I have strength to such perusal waive

Such poignant annals of broken romance:

Her tender loving care, to me she gave,

The which I paid for with perseverance.


(4) Sweet days are gone, those days of bliss replete,

With nothing left save love's unquenched fire;

Within my heart shall love reverberate

Until this soul from carcass shall retire.


(5) Now that I find myself in state forlorn

I summon strength to countermand my grief,

In recollecting days when love was born,

Else in your portrait find grief's sweet relief.


(6) That portrait which by love's own pencil writ,

In my own heart and soul do I engrave;

The treasure which to me did love bequeath,

With me remains until beyond the grave.


(7) This selfsame soul did frequently adjourn

And tarry at locales you would frequent:

At the Beata river made sojourn,

At Hilom shallows many visits spent.


(8) My recollection oftentimes would seek

Our rendezvous beneath the manggo bough:

You would a manggo bunch attempt to pick;

While I, by you, a Hedonist enow!


(9) When you with serious illness stayed behind,

My being was reduced to helpless sighs.

To heaven's grace my heartbeat I consigned,

Your room bedeemed a treasured paradise.


(10) With mine own, I lavished with caresses

Footprints you left on the rock platform shore

Of the Makati which we both cherish

Your image did I worship evermore.


(11) There often I returned in search for some

Illusive whims of happy yesteryears:

A bather waits not for the splash to come

But to the water heads, lest bath forbears.


(12) I hear it still, your words reverberate:

"Full three days now, each other we've not seen",

And my reply to you without regret:

"For each, how many times prepared we've been!"


(13) Indeed, there's not a stone that's left unturned

Brooding on fate of sweet rapture faded.

"Woe is me!" so groaning, myself I scorned

Torrential tears with mine moans cascaded.


(14) Where is Celia, the sunshine of my heart?

Why did we fail to nurture our romance?

Whither the days when life and soul were part

Of that heaven begotten of her glance?


(15) I wonder why, now that we are apart,

Should not this wretched life of mine expire?

Since, Celia, from my heart you must depart

Death's sweet relief is my one last desire.


(16) Lacking the strength to endure injury

From joy's desertion you on me impose,

I venture sing this life of misery

My verses may my suffering dispose.


(17) Surfeit of silence, Celia, I beseech

Thee to hear me with ears and open mind

My muse, if ignorant and faint of speech,

Pray, grant that she should your indulgence find.


(18) Bereft may be of lettered elegance

These first buds of my prudence immature,

My dedication take with tolerance,

Your faithful servant does of you implore.


(19) Should any line thereof be deemed offensive

My humble efforts find worthy excuse

That if resentment should its reading give

Pardon the author, pray, without abuse.


(20) To merrymaking nymphs of Bai Lake,

To mermaids with sweet enchanting voices,

My humble muse does her petition make

That all their charms and talents may possess.


(21) Mother Nature, hear my supplication:

Your lyre's tune may to my lyrics lend,

Lyrics which speak of love's aspiration

To transcend Time's ruins through to life's end.


(22) Dear heart, flower of my meditation,

Celia with the initials M.A.R.,

May the Virgin Mary his petition

Grant who for your welfare prays Baltazar.


To the Reader

For reading, love, accept my gratitude

That you, this, my endeavor worthy find.

Virtue if lacked, as my solicitude,

Reward may yet bestow the searching mind.


A quick glance may deem it bitter and raw,

Its peel may some unripe looks exhibit,

But if tasted past the external hue,

Indulgent readers may yet find it sweet.


Neither that you should this poem treasure

Nor do I ask that you should scorn disguise.

Do as you will and fulfill your leisure,

But pray, the verses you should not revise.


If you should find many a verse obscure,

Before your stamp of condemnation put,

If you but pause, between the lines explore,

Perchance you find it clear and right to boot.


Betimes you'll find markers for notation

Applied on some language of subtler breed,

Consult the footnotes for explanation,

Renders the meaning clearer as you read.


And here I pause, genius of a reader,

Lest Segismundo's fate might inherit

Nor platitudes make my verses clearer,

Revisions can its self-defeat commit.


Of Words Replete


(1) Amidst a gloomy forest desolate

With thorny underbrush so thickly grown,

The which so rough as hard to navigate

Even by him who is of Phoebe born.


(2) Huge stately tall trees the scene's offering,

Air of affliction, anguish and sorrow,

Birds sing not but a tune so depressing

Even for one with cheerfulness thorough.


(3) Each tree branch does sport its own adornment

Of twining vines richly wrapped treacherous

With hairy fruit and sharp thorns as garment

The lightest touch would mortal pain impose.