Page 85 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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STEINBACH / ON THE ART OF TRANSLATION
75
fied imitation. I believe with John Dryden that “it is impossible
to translate verbally and well at the same time.” In order to
transplant the
effect
of the Hebrew into corresponding English
idiomatic structure, it often becomes necessary not only to
change the word order but to give priority to the
sense
rather
than to the words. Ignoring this principle will inevitably result
in a flawed translation, as is evidenced by the two translations
of Shlonsky’s biblical poem
N eder
(The Vow).
,’Ywy “in iy —
xh
w
Vo^n
m
m w ’r y nyi
by
,a;f73 iy ,
d
*?
d
“W
“iw iy
,rrown ’a1? *?y mpyr wayi
Version I Translated by Dov Vardi:
By these eyes that have seen the woe and grief,
their outcries heaving to my heart’s embrace,
by this my compassion which taught me: forgive,
till the time did come too awful for grace—
I have taken this oath: as I breathe and live
to forget not a thing of that which took place.
Till the tenth generation—forget no jot,
till each of my insults be completely assuaged,
till the last of my lashes has chastened their lot.
Cry heaven, if in vain passed that night of rage,
Cry heaven, if by morning I resume my trot,
Not learning the lesson taught me by this age.
Version 2 Translated by S. J. Goldsmith:
My eyes have seen desolation and grief
And heaped anguish upon my heart;
My goodness begged and urged to forgive
But the infinite horror forbade a new start.
I vow to remember as long as I live;
Forgiveness to me is lost as an art.
To the tenth generation not to forget,
Until the offense has abated and also the vow,
And my wrath has faded and finally set,
I promise to carry in me all I know,
.naia ’ant?
i
V
d
’ ny
,Vna^ m i ’am njrr
by
,rfro^a la’ijff D’a’ mn iy
,bnn
rm
m b
:-mn w n
,Dyrn
>b
nay’ pn1?
dk
nnp
m o 1? nrrm npn*? ox
nnp
.oysn aa l a ’m K*? omai
.nrw5? x1? w > —“13T1?