사뿐히 즈려 밟고 가시옵소서

Sammo

Senior Member
English
Hello.🙂

Here is a line from the famous Kim Sowol Poem "Azalea" that was also used in the song of the same name by singer Maya:

가시는 걸음 놓인 그 꽃을 사뿐히 즈려 밟고 가시옵소서

Link to the full lyrics of Maya's song.

There are many translations out there for Kim Sowol's poem but the specific question I have is how the tone of this line should be translated.

In some translation they are like this:

Please step on those flowers lightly as you walk away

At each step of your way, may your gay feet gently tread on those flowers as you go


and in other translations it's like this:

With parting steps on those strewn flowers treading lightly, go on, leave.

Those flowers laying under footsteps, softly step on them and continue on your way


The big difference I am wondering here is the tone. In translations like in the first set the part about the person leaving is phrased as a description ("as you walk away" or "as you go") but in the others it's translated as a command ("go on, leave" or "softly step on them and continue on your way").

Which tone here is the correct one? Is there actually a "Please" here and that it's like "as you walk away" or "as you go"? Or is it more of a command like in the second set of translations ("go on, leave" or "softly step on them and continue on your way")?


Thanks in advance.
 
  • Tomato potato

    New Member
    Korean
    Tough question!
    If I have to select one, I'll choose the latter.
    My feeling is rather 'I'll willingly let you go but you'll have to break my heart completely. How dare you dump me and leave. Leave me if you can."
    But most readers may feel it differently. If it's a class exam that I have to select an answer, I'll choose 'Please'.

    Anyway, the translation must express the sorrow of to be treaded flower which represents the poet's heart
    as well as poet's mind to let him/her go and her/his wish to be with him/her.
     

    Sammo

    Senior Member
    English
    Hi, Tomato potato. 🙂

    Thanks for replying but I am confused. Here:
    If I have to select one, I'll choose the latter.

    when you say "latter" I assume you mean as a command ("go on, leave" or "softly step on them and continue on your way").

    But then here:

    If it's a class exam that I have to select an answer, I'll choose 'Please'.

    you're saying choosing the other one (phrased as a description ("as you walk away" or "as you go") ).

    So which is the accurate one?

    And is it actually saying "Please" or is "Please" added as a loose translation?
     

    CharlesLee

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hello, Sammo

    Historically, flower symbolizes women, and the Korea Empire in Korea.

    In Joseon, or Choson dynasty, there are 9 grades of flowers.

    Kim So-wol's Poem, Azalea, indicates the woman.

    The reason why she spreads the flowers on the path is that she wants to bless him and at the same time,

    doesn't want him to leave her inwardly. To tread softly or lightly implies that please don't break my heart

    as you go away because the flowers are, figuratively speaking, the woman. So on his way, he will leave

    physically damage on the flowers, which are the woman, but in fact she will be mentally damaged.

    Personally, in my opinion, I don't like the way to use the verb 'to walk away' in that part.

    'With parting steps on those strewn flowers treading lightly, go on, leave.' It seems right to me.

    I would change from 'under footsteps' to 'each step', or remove 'under' using 'footprints'.

    In addition, I'm personally thinking about changing from 'treading' to 'tread'


    because there are the following bare form of the verbs, but it doesn't matter since it's a participial phrase.

    It doesn't need to change it. But when changed does it really sound weird? I don't think so.

    It will act as a prepositional phrase with a comma.

    Of course you'd like to reorganize the verb again when removing under and using footprints.

    Lee
     
    Last edited:

    Tomato potato

    New Member
    Korean
    I like Charles's posting.

    If the sentense is not a part of the poem, almost everybody will understand the mood of '~옵소서' as 'Please'.
    '~소서', '~하시옵소서', and '~하소서' which are used in literary style contains the meaning of 'Please'.
    It's far from commanding.

    But sentences used in poem may come differently to every person.
    I meant standard translation is likely to be the former but my feeling is more like the latter.

    My English is not good enough to feel every hidden nuance of the translations. But I can say there must be something missing in exampled three translations.
     

    CharlesLee

    Senior Member
    Korean
    ~소서 is can be expressed in poetry form as well as in biblical passages.

    Yes, I agree on that with Tomato potato.

    So putting 'please' in front of 'go on' makes it better.

    "Please give me power!" = "내게 힘을 주소서!"

    Lee,
     
    Last edited:

    CharlesLee

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hi, Tomato potato. 🙂

    Thanks for replying but I am confused. Here:


    when you say "latter" I assume you mean as a command ("go on, leave" or "softly step on them and continue on your way").

    But then here:



    you're saying choosing the other one (phrased as a description ("as you walk away" or "as you go") ).

    So which is the accurate one?

    And is it actually saying "Please" or is "Please" added as a loose translation?

    Hello,

    I gather it wasn't the meaning 'to go on', to continue "on your way"

    but rather 'to continue to be in the same situation or relationship'.

    Please go on or leave.

    She's a strong woman but she will cry like a baby or shed tears if he leaves her behind.

    She's not the kind of one who pleads with him not to go to his face but secretly doing with him not to go!

    If it was meant to continue on your way, it would merely express her tough characteristics.

    I guess you can make it better by putting her strong and tender personality at the same time.

    Lee,
     

    Sammo

    Senior Member
    English
    So to Tomato potato and CharlesLee, thank you both for helping me. 🙂

    Based from what I understood from the both of you, I tried this wording:

    Please tread lightly on those flowers that have been laid on your path and go away

    Do you think that's good?
     

    Fort Lee

    Member
    Korean
    Hi, Sammo, your translation looks very good. If I can add a little more,
    she is saying 'leave me treading lightly on those flowers' and means 'you can leave me. I will not beg you to stay with me. You can leave me treading on those flowers (which is me, my heart, my love) lightly (you don't have to bother leaving me. Your steps can be light, though it still treading my heart)

    She wants him to stay with her so badly. Her heart is being broken. She is just saying he can leave, but her heart will be still treaded, but just saying don't bother.
     
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