Homage to Catalonia

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

20 November 2012

ODA A LA PÀTRIA

Adéu-siau turons, adéu-siau per sempre,

Oh serres desiguals, que allí, a la meva pàtria,

Vos distingia de lluny els núvols del cel,

Per al repòs etern, pel color més blau.

Adéu tu, vell Montseny, que des del teu alt palau,

Com un guàrdia vigilant, cobert de boira i neu,

Guaites per un forat la tomba del Jueu,

I la nau mallorquina al mig de l’immens mar.

 

Com pogués conèixer la font dels meus parents,

També coneixia el so de tots els torrents,

Com la veu de la meva mare o el plor dels meus fills.

I després arrencat per perseguidors fats

ja no conec ni sento com en millors vegades;

així d’arbre migrat i a terres apartades

els fruits perden el gust i les flors són perfum.

 

Que val que m’hagi tret una sort enganyosa

a veure de més a prop les torres de Castella,

si la meva orella no sent el cant del trobador,

ni despertar en el meu pit un record generós?

Jo em transporto en ales a un país dolç

I vaig del Llobregat a platja serpentina

Que de cantar fóra en llengua llemosina,

No em queda més plaer, no tinc altre conhort.

 

Em plau encara parlar la llengua d’aquells savis,

Que ompliren l’Univers de llurs costums i lleis,

la llengua d’aquells forts que acataren els reis,

defengueren llurs drets, venjaren llurs agravis.

Mira, mira l’ingrat que, en sonar ens els seus llavis,

per estranya regió l’accent natiu, no plora,

Que en pensar en els seus llars, no és consum ni s’enyora,

Ni cul del mur sagrat la lira dels seus avis!

 

En llemosí sonà el meu primer vagit,

quan del mugró matern bevia la llet dolça;

en llemosí pregava cada dia al Senyor,

i somiava cada nit càntics llemosins.

Si quan em trobo sol, parlo amb el meu esperit,

En llemosí li parla, que no sent una altra llengua,

I ni la meva boca ni la ment saben mentir,

Perquè surten més raons del centre del meu pit.

 

Perquè, per expressar l’efecte més sagrat

Que l’home pugui gravar la mà del cel en el seu cor,

Oh llengua més dolça que la mel dels meus sentits,

Que em tornes les virtuts de la meva edat innocenta.

I, crida pel món que mai el meu cor ingrat

Cesarà  de cantar la glòria del meu patró

I passa per la per la teva veu el seu nom i la seva memòria  

Als propis, als estranys, a la posteritat.

 

This coming Sunday 25 November 2012 the Spanish region of Catalonia will hold elections to the regional parliament, the Generalitat. The elections have been called by the current President of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, to gauge Catalan support for his proposal that, unless the relatively wealthy region of Catalonia gets a better economic deal from the central government in Madrid, paying lower contributions than at present to the central government, Catalonia should secede from Spain. It seemed fitting then, in advance of this historic vote, to publish here in full the most well-known poem in the Catalan language, Oda a la Pàtria (Ode to the Fatherland), the poem that kick-started the Catalan cultural renaissance (Renaixença) when it was published in the daily newspaper, El Vapor, in 1833. The poem was written by Bonaventura Carles Aribau i Farriols (1798-1862), who was also an economist and politician. It was intended to sing the praises of Catalonia but also to offer homage to the poet’s patron, the Catalan banker Gaspar de Remisa (1784-1847). The poem is composed of six octets of alexandrine (iambic hexameter) verse. It incarnates a nostalgia for Catalonia – Aribau, like Remisa, spent a lot of his life in Madrid – and an absolute commitment to the Catalan language. As a result, it represents the poetic epitome of Catalan nationalism.

Unfortunately, at this juncture, we can only supply an English translation of the first, fourth and fifth octets (taken, with modification, from “Barcelona” (1992) by Robert Hughes). Translations of the whole poem that are available on the net, clearly “machine-translated”, are worse than useless.

 ODE TO THE FATHERLAND

“Farewell hills, forever farewell,

O jagged ranges, there in my native land,

ranges that stand out from clouds and distant sky

in their eternal peace, by their deeper shade of blue.

Farewell, ancient Montseny, like a sentinel

on a high rampart, wreathed in fog and hail,

watching, through a crevice, the tomb of the Jew

and the Majorcan fishing-smack in the immense sea.

 

“Let me speak again the tongue of those wise men

who filled the world with their customs and laws,

the tongue of the strong men who served the kings,

defended their rights and avenged their insults.

Beware, beware the ungrateful man who does not weep when his  lips utter his native accent in a far-off country,

who thinks of his origins without pangs of yearning

and who does not take his forefather’s lyre from the holy wall!

 

“My first infant wail was in Catalan

when I sucked the sweet milk from my mother’s nipple;

I prayed to God in Catalan each day

and dreamed Catalan songs every night.

When I find myself alone, I talk with my soul,

it speaks Catalan, it knows no other tongue,

and then my mouth does not lie, or know how to lie,

and my words well up from the centre of my breast.”

——–

 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012) 

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.

——-

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