I am just a poor boy, though my story is seldom told

Gianfry

Senior Member
Italian
Hello!

The Boxer, famous and celebrated song by Simon&Garfunkel. The opening lines seem very simple, but they still puzzle me a bit: "I am just a poor boy, though my story is seldom told". "Seldom" means "rarely", but if he's just a poor boy, why shoud his story be remembered? Therefore, why "though"? Unless "seldom" means "every now and again". Provo quindi con due diverse traduzioni. Qual è quella giusta?

Sono solo un povero ragazzo, ma la mia storia viene raccontata raramente.
Sono solo un povero ragazzo, ma ogni tanto qualcuno racconta la mia storia.

Grazie a tutti per l'aiuto.
G.
 
Last edited:
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Looking at the lyrics, I'd say that the "though" phrase isn't supposed to be taken as a logical continuation of "I am just a poor boy." I see it as "I am just a poor boy. Although my [kind of] story is seldom told, [I'm going to tell it now, and here it is]: I have squandered my resistance....."
     

    Gianfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you very much, theartichoke. Very interesting comment, although when you listen to the song there seem to be a close connection between the verses I have quoted. But this could just be a matter of musical accents... Regardless, would you confirm that "seldom" could by no means be meant as "evey now and again"?
     

    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    Hi.

    Believe it or not, I've often wondered about this too.

    Eventually I came to the same conclusion as @theartichoke, i.e. "though" had to refer to the following line.

    I'm just a poor boy [but] [,] even though my story is seldom told, I have squandered my resistance. The implication being: although I'm nothing but a poor boy, hence why my story is not often told, I think that it was so terrible / painful / etc. that it would be worth reporting it more often.


    Sono solo un povero ragazzo; seppure la mia storia si racconti raramente, ho sprecato la mia resistenza ...
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thank you very much, theartichoke. Very interesting comment, although when you listen to the song there seem to be a close connection between the verses I have quoted. But this could just be a matter of musical accents... Regardless, would you confirm that "seldom" could by no means be meant as "evey now and again"?
    Well, "seldom" does mean "every now and again"--if something happens "seldom," it happens rarely, but not never. I'm not sure I understand the question.
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I think Gianfry was asking if the meaning of seldom is closer to rarely or to every now and then. I'd say it's closer to rarely and I think TC91 is spot on. Although it could easily be ...and though my story's seldom told...
     

    ohbice

    Senior Member
    A me (non so per quale motivo :cool:) quando ascolto questo incipit viene in mente una qualche citazione letteraria: "Sebbene sia un poveraccio, la mia storia non somiglia a quella di un eroe di Dickens o di Twain e non viene raccontata molto spesso..." ;)
     

    Gianfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hello everyone, thank you very much for your comments!

    @TheCrociato91: good to see it's not just me! :)
    @theartichoke: yes, the sense of my question was as per @rrose17's reply (thanks!)
    @ohbice: nice and very cultivated one ;)

    In the end, still not sure what the real meaning is: you all gave me sensible options to think about...

    @Holymaloney: hello! Yes, one of my favourite songs ever, as a few more by S&G ("America" is another one that beautifully conveys a sense of uncertainty, bewilderment and anguish). And yes, I moved to Spain as every real Englishman does at some point in life ;)
     
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