Monday, April 25, 2016

José María Eguren: Los delfines/ The Dauphins

Es la noche de la triste remembranza;
en amplio salón cuadrado,
de amarillo iluminado,
a la hora de maitines
principia la angustiosa contradanza
de los difuntos delfines.
Tienen ricos medallones
terciopelos y listones;
por nobleza, por tersura
son cual de Van Dyck pintura;
mas, conservan un esbozo,
una llama de tristura
como el primo, como el último sollozo.
Es profunda la agonía
de su eterna simetría;
ora avanzan en las fugas y compases
como péndulos tenaces
de la última alegría.
Un Saber innominado,
abatidor de la infancia,
sufrir los hace, sufrir por el pecado
de la nativa elegancia.
y por misteriosos fines,
dentro del salón de la desdicha nocturna,
se enajenan los delfines
en su danza taciturna.

José Maria Eguren

The Dauphins

Arrives the night of gloomy reminiscence
in the broad square ballroom
flushed in yellow light

With the stroke of midnight matins
begins the anguished countredanse
of dead dauphins and heirs apparent

Sport they opulent medallions
and gilt fillets

By dint of blue blood
through radiance
they step out from Van Dyck--

but only as cartoons-- as a call of sadness, like the first, like the last sob

Deep the agony of their deathless symmetry,
now advancing in fugues and strains
like diehard pendulums slowing to closing glee

Nameless savoir-faire,
slaughterer of childhood
makes them suffer--suffer for the sin
of elegance inborn

and toward some hidden end
in this ballroom of night's misery
in the air of its taciturn dance
these inheritors--these dauphins--these dolphins are carried away


E. A. Costa       April 25, 2016      Granada, Nicaragua
N.B. In Spanish delfín--”dolphin”--after French dauphin—signified
not only the creature but, through its appearance in heraldry, heirs 
apparent to throne or title. Though originally applied to morning 
services, night service matins, including vigils, gradually moved 
back into the middle of the night, ending at dawn with what was 
originally the morning service. Eguren, whose verse is dense with
music and painting, thus summons up what clearly is a series of
nocturnes, divided into three parts in one version of the night services.
One notes also that the translation, toward various ends, in effect takes
the liberty of ignoring the first semicolon of the original, bringing
to the surface the cryptotype of place--the ballroom--resumed and made
evident in the last four lines.

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