About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green.

  • lolecki

    Member
    English United States
    "en provenance de" is usually "from", or "coming from" (d'origine).

    maybe it's "autour de" because in this context "about" is the same as "around"
     
    Thank you, but it's the second part of the sentence that confuses me more. "Happy as the grass was green" means that the speaker is happy to the exact same extent that the grass is green ... I didn't happen to translate that correctly up there, did I? I don't think so.
     

    Canard

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    That "en" makes me hesitate, and I'm tempted to do without it. I'd also replace "gazon" with "herbe" since it's talking about the grass and not specifically the lawn/yard, in addition to the first bit according to my own interpretation:

    Dans la maison en cadence et aussi heureux que l'herbe n'était verte.

    The last part is definitely tricky though... I'm not at all confident on my suggestion ;)
     

    lolecki

    Member
    English United States
    It sounds good to me. I struggle with the "freedoms" of poetry interpretation/translation. That's the thing for me, is that I first have to make sense of it, then put it into French.

    Where are our French friends? That's what we need. :)
     
    That "en" makes me hesitate, and I'm tempted to do without it. I'd also replace "gazon" with "herbe" since it's talking about the grass and not specifically the lawn/yard, in addition to the first bit according to my own interpretation:

    Dans la maison en cadence et aussi heureux que l'herbe n'était verte.

    The last part is definitely tricky though... I'm not at all confident on my suggestion ;)
    Thank you. :) But, you see, I don't think "dans" would be correct, since it means "inside," and the poem is set outdoors.

    The whole thing is here, if it helps: http://www.bigeye.com/fernhill.htm

    Autour la maison chantante et aussi heureux que l'herbe n'était verte. --- this is what sounds the best to me, but it needs to be confirmed by a francophone.
     

    Canard

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Ah. "about" there seems to describe his position, but the impression I get from the poem is that it is a fixed position (under the boughs, near the house), so I suggest "Près de la maison".

    What's your interpretation? :) Poetry is always so tricky to translate!
     

    PepinMalin

    Senior Member
    French (France), English (USA), Arabic (Lebanon)
    Thank you, but it's the second part of the sentence that confuses me more. "Happy as the grass was green" means that the speaker is happy to the exact same extent that the grass is green ... I didn't happen to translate that correctly up there, did I? I don't think so.
    Are you sure it means that the speaker is happy to the same extent that the grass is green? Doesn't it mean that he is happy because the grass is green?
     

    Canard

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    PepinMalin: I don't think so. Given the rest of the poem, which is reminiscent of e.e. cummings's style, the clearest interpretation to me is that he was happy to the same extent that the grass was green. It serves to accentuate both of those facts, rather than presenting one as the cause.
     

    PepinMalin

    Senior Member
    French (France), English (USA), Arabic (Lebanon)
    I see, Canard. Then "Près de la maison chantante (or mélodieuse) et aussi heureux que l'herbe n'était verte" (that you suggested) sounds good to me.

    (By the way, Méshémée, in the translation that you suggested with "autour", the correct form would be "autour de la maison".)
     
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