No hay abandono Asomada en mi misma contemplo mi rescate, que me vuelve a la vida en tu destello Amor callado y lejos Nuestras dos juventudes hacia el viento estallaron. La misma pared siente que ha bajado a llamarte entre mis labios. Va gritando tu nombre entre mis ojos, el mismo mar inquieto y constelado. Algo llueve en mi rostro las corolas del llanto. Las rosas de mi amor se conmueven, y no encuentran la nota de la pena en sus labios. La palabra no puede con mi carga de angustia, y no cabe en mi verso mi dolor exaltado.
Un dolor esperando Todas las horas pasan con la muerte en los hombros. Yo sola sigo quieta con mi sombra en los brazos. Sola, desenfrenada en tierra de sombra y de silencio. Soy agotada y turbia espiga de abandono. Soy desolada y lloro Todo lo ha dado, todo Es gesto casi exacto a la entrega de Dios.
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Entretanto, la ola Soy derrotada Alba tanto distante, que hasta mi propia sombra con su sombra se ahuyenta. Soy diluvio de duelos, toda un atormentado desenfreno de lluvia, un lento agonizar entre espadas perpetuas. Si mi amor rompe suelos, disuelve la distancia como la claridad, ataja mariposas al igual que luceros, y cabalga horizontes como cruza un rosal Es tonada de espumas en los labios del mar Ya para el salto estoy dispuesta.
Casi no puedo con el mundo que azota entero mi conciencia No quiero que hasta el amor se me desprenda Todo sonar se ha muerto en mis pupilas, a mis ojos no inquietan las estrellas, los caminos son libres de mi rumbo, y hasta el nombre del mar, sorda me deja. Hoy, cenizas me tumban para el nido distante. Casi voy por la vida como gruta de escombros. Ya ni el mismo silencio se detiene en mi nombre.
Mi Ultimo Adios
Como muertos sin sitio se sublevan mis voces. Como si me tuvieras nadando entre tus brazos, donde las aguas corren dementes y perdidas. The Whitmanian word Camerado presents an interesting challenge to Vasseur's vaguely homophobic sensibilities, and perhaps represents something of a cop-out in his attempts to maneuver around openly gay love. Camerado is a defunct term borrowed from Renaissance Spanish, and is the root of the English comrade , Whitman's basic denotation. But Vasseur's frequent equivalent, the contemporary Spanish word camarada , is unusual insofar as it is functionally neutral, but suggests a feminine subject because of its female-gendered ending, "-a" camarada is in fact grammatically a collective feminine.
Hence it first meant bedfellow, then more generally a companion or friend. In "An Oak in Louisiana," a poem focusing on male love, Vasseur opts for camarada. But Vasseur translates "lover" as " camarada ," a dodging of the issue. It is possible that Vasseur is here influenced by the Italian rendition, which chose camarata for camerado. The Italian bedfellow kisses and hugs, and fills the house with white towels.
The Spanish companion is merely affectionate and caressing, and leaves white towels that brighten alegran , rather than more sensually "swell[ing]," the house with their plenty.
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It is, of course, possible that Vasseur simply finds camarada the best translation for bedfellow. The gender agreement for "caress" does indicate that the bedfellow is male. At times Vasseur's changes evince a general fidelity to the integrity of Leaves of Grass , but remain puzzling. Why, for example, does he render "Endless unfolding of words of ages! Multitude is in keeping with Whitman's famous lines about contradiction, but the very use of multitude later in the original suggests Whitman meant something particular in choosing "En-Masse" in the earlier line. The choice is the more puzzling because in his version of "Song of Myself" Vasseur uses the term " en masa ," an equivalent of en masse , to describe the killing of captured soldiers in the poem's thirty-fourth section ed.
As evidenced in Vasseur's insertion of additional exclamation points, something of his Romantic stylistic tendency persists and breaks through at moments. But Vasseur laments two times where Whitman does once" These flourishes can be almost comical, as when Vasseur adds to Whitman's line "my faith is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths" the superfluous addition "like the tail of a comet. An additional trilingual comparison of the Whitman, Gamberale, and Vasseur versions offers intriguing evidence that Vasseur was working with an English edition as well.
In her study of Gamberale's translation, Grazia Sotis points out that some of the idiosyncratic or more streetwise English words give the Italian translator trouble The famously barbaric yawp, for example, becomes a mere shriek or scream in the stanza that ends "I, too am untranslatable," which Gamberale faithfully renders "intraducibile. Perhaps Vasseur was, in the very act of translation, refuting Whitman's claim, and honoring Whitman's "dearest dream" for "an internationality of poems and poets binding the lands of the earth"?
My captain! My Captain! Oh pioneers! O Pioneers! Translating into English Vasseur's Spanish version of "Song of Myself," itself based on the Italian translation of Leaves of Grass and perhaps other translations, felt like straining to hear a muffled and distant voice. Much of Whitman's meaning and even words remained surprisingly intact, however, throughout the course of the poem's linguistic transmutations. Comedy ensued; it has been said that many of the improbable mis-translations came not from consultation of a Portuguese- English dictionary but from a French-English dictionary.
This translation is designed more to stimulate critical comparison than to be aesthetically innovative or elegant. It attempts to strike a balance between offering as literal as possible a translation rather than trying to refract the style or flavor of Vasseur's version , and rendering words plausibly cognate with Whitman's original in that form. That is, after undertaking a first stab at back-translation, I corrected any synonyms I may have chosen that were slightly, but not meaningfully, different than Whitman's original.
This should permit readers consulting this English version of Vasseur to discern the more significant changes proper to Vasseur's version. That said, however, as much as meaning would permit, and even when a difference was as small as an article, I attempted to conserve it in the translation. Whenever possible, I have also transferred Vasseur's punctuation and layout to my translation. The layout, using paragraph instead of hanging indentation, follows Vasseur's practice in Poemas. Paragraph indentation is not uncommon for Spanish language poetry, but by Vasseur's time poets were manipulating such layout conventions as a way of making meaning.
It was not possible, however, to preserve line segmentation. In cases in which Vasseur's choice of gender seemed clearly significant in relation to the original, a footnote indicates the designation. Finally, as Salessi and Quiroga note , Vasseur often renders Whitman's "you" in the plural form, vosotros, which, while not always mitigating the intimacy of Whitman's famous "I and you" moments, does introduce different potential meanings. Titles of books and names of authors mentioned have been rendered in their best-known English versions; titles of specific editions cited are left in the original Spanish.
The poems whose Spanish adaptation I offer to my readers were written between the years — The first edition of the Leaves of Grass , in modest octavo, was no longer than one hundred pages. Whitman himself, being an old typographer, composed his own work 1. The poet, who was born in Long Island—an island situated across from New York—the 31st of May, , was then thirty-five years old. Stimulated by Emerson's essays, he had many times dreamed of a lyrical form —capable of descending to the most trivial, quotidian details and of soaring to all the spiritual heights—falling back on neither traditional prose nor traditional poetry.
It was a desire analogous to that which Baudelaire describes in the preface to his Prose Poems.
The difference lies in the distinct temperaments with which one and the other teased out his execution. Classically rhythmatic clauses and sober adjectivization in the Frenchman; grandiloquent phrases, redundant and barbarous in the American. The said form did not seem to have other precedents than certain liturgical ejaculations, some isolated pages of Chateaubriand, Kempis's exhortations, the axioms of the great French thinkers—Pascal and La Rochefoucauld—swift and musical like poems, and overall, the verses of the Bible, and of the fragments of Orphic and Vedic hymns 1 as they circulate in the translations of modern languages.
The "Great Idea" that Whitman was forging for himself, about how he had to be the singer of democracy, could not be projected along the lines of New World schools, after they deformed themselves on slender, trendy poetical frameworks. He had to begin by breaking the mold of Medieval metre. To achieve this it was necessary to renounce the European poetic tradition; make a tabla rasa of its themes and its tinkling verbal musics; return to the most ancient, to fling himself into the unknown.
Walt Whitman, guided by his extraordinary poetical instinct, reached the same fountains as had the great gospels, true lullabies of the races. He had to be the evangelist of the continent-in-formation, creator of new values, hero, prophet and companion of men.
Guide of guides, consoler of the afflicted, terror of despots, a marvel to children, beloved of the young, friend of wives, counselor of fathers, glorifier of life and of death. For him, to live was not to conserve oneself, as Schopenhauer understood it, nor to defend oneself in order not to perish, as Darwin postulates. To live is to develop—not at the expense of others and oneself—as Nietzsche would say a quarter of a century later, but out of oneself. And since the individual life takes root in an egocentric substrate as absorbent as the personality is imperious—resulting in altruism—it illuminates its most sordid depths.
Walt Whitman carried within himself the thirst for life and love that Wagner incarnated in Siegfried. His character made blossom in the midst of his youth the grain of wisdom that Faust harvested in old age: to love life over the images of it that withered between the pages of books.
To project from himself the fantastic dawns of suns for the rejoicing of humanity present and future. After having studied the greatest teachers of the ages, to wish that they could come to his time to study him. To manifest himself in everything like a God. To hit upon a literary form adequate to the tone and the multiple senses of his "new good" was an undertaking before which all of Hercules's paled. Forty years passed, dense, electric, before Whitman would definitively cast the torrential and often contradictory intuitions of his temperament. Ten editions of Leaves of Grass saw the light in Whitman's lifetime.
With each new edition the book grew, transformed, became more and more monumental. But always it was the same book. The leveling idea, the love for common men, the ennobling of all varieties of the profanum vulgus , the passion for Nature and human liberty, the religious cult of manual labor, bursting out in hymns to all occupations, the apotheosis of fecund sensualism and of physical beauty, flash out in his poems like the sword of the Archangel at the entrance to Milton's Paradise Lost.
Certain passages in some of his songs outdo in spirit and transcendence the most heroic of all times. Only Nietzsche in the poem of "The Seven Seals" achieves the elevation and lyrical flight of the Yankee. In spite of his silence in this respect, more than once I have believed I recognized seedlings of Leaves of Grass ripening on Zarathustra's mountainside. The poems of Walt Whitman were known in Germany before The poet Freiligrath had already published a study of the democratic singer in the Allgemeinen Zeitung. Nietzsche found himself in those days in Leipzig.
He had not yet been named Professor of Philosophy at Basel His first work, The Birth of Tragedy , appeared in ; the Gay Science in ; The Dawn in ; and the first part of Zarathustra he wrote in The four known parts of the said epic appeared from to XII , Zarathustra was meant to consist of six parts. The final chapter of the sixth part cuts, in the most thorough way, the old knot of its contradictions.
In it, Zarathustra announces to the men congregated around him that class conflict has come to an end, as has the moral rule of the dominators. He affirms that at this level of evolution, the human species shares one lot and one ideal. After reiterating his hope for the appearance of the Superman, he proclaims his new faith: that life would return to its commencement 1. All answer: Yes! And Zarathustra dies of joy. The Yankee cosmos was, in its life and nature, that which the German poet had dreamed to be: force and sweetness, beauty and disinterest.
Walt Whitman practiced as a volunteer nurse during the War of Secession. In Washington's hospitals he contracted the disease that, undermining his titanic constitution, degenerated over thirty years into paralysis. Nietzsche was also a nurse during the Franco-Prussian War To the emotions of this epoch and to the subsequent abuse of chloral hydrate is attributed the dementia that reduced him to idiocy in his final years.
Both are, in my judgment, the chief lyricists of the past century. The German, with the limitations imposed by his philosophical criticism and the complexities of his great classical culture. The Yankee with the brilliance of his religious transcendentalism and the ingenuities of his august autodidacticism. That one, concentrated and explosive, like the flammable ordnance of the Prussian arsenals; this one, overflowing and for moments monotonous, like the cataracts of his country. Poets, in the most conventional and European sense of the word. The influence of W.
Whitman is already universal. Translated into Italian, German, French, Spanish , his images and adjectival couplings retain their primitive texture.
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Modern verslirismo is one of the many effects of his work. I could have followed silently such illustrious examples without risking passing for a tradittore. Blessed be the tempest of his art, if it manages to clear the Hispanoamerican literary atmosphere, so overburdened with clucking and crowing! In addition to those thanked in the footnotes, the editors would like to thank Ralph Bauer, George Handley, Hugo Achugar, and the directors of the Walt Whitman Archive for reviewing this introduction and making suggestions that much improved it.
Basing his judgment on John Delancey Ferguson's assessment of Whitman scholarship in Ferguson's American Literature in Spain , Gay Wilson Allen concluded that, "to judge from the representative examples which Ferguson has provided, Spanish criticism of Walt Whitman has been as intelligent and perceptive as that of any other foreign country,—more intelligent, in fact, than that of most of the infatuated disciples in France, Germany or even the United Status" Allen quoted in Aizen de Moshinsky, Walt Whitman , Vasseur's rough contemporary, the Uruguayan poet and critic Alberto Zum Felde, similarly argued that Vasseur's translation "was the one I knew in those years, as it was the one that circulated in Uruguay, and surely elsewhere in Latin America.
Knowledge of this translation influenced [my own work]" Visca-Arturo, Conversando , , our translation. See John Englekirk, "Notes," See Allen, Handbook , See Ferguson, American Literature in Spain , See Zum Felde, El proceso intelectual , Indeed, Vasseur hints at one of the origins of his translation, as well as his professional anxiety about turning Whitman's translator instead of writing poetry inspired by him, at the conclusion of the preface to the first edition.
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It has seemed to me more original to take this last risk. Vasseur chooses to render the word "traitor" in Italian when we expect the word "traductor," evoking the ironic saying, "traduttore, traditore," or "translator, traitor. See Allen, Walt Whitman Abroad , Thanks to Grazia Sotis for clarifying these details. Vitale for auxiliary literal English translations. In the preface to the sixth edition Vasseur does mention his friend Dr. Vitale's role in familiarizing Vasseur with English-language literature, including Whitman, but says nothing about Vitale as a consultant in translation.
Further, he mentions visiting Vitale in Montevideo—but Vasseur undertook the Whitman translation in Spain. Singularmente, en aquella primera etapa hispano-anglo-francesa" [My concerns tended to be quite varied and simultaneous. Singularly so, in that first Hispano-Anglo-French moment]. This signals the possibility that one of the "versions" or translations of Leaves of Grass consulted was the French. In addition to these sections, omitted altogether, many verses were excluded from the translated sections" Walt Whitman , , our translation. At times, it should be noted, Vasseur manages to out-Whitman his master, or to put a verse into words that may seem truer to Whitman's own spirit.
Take, for instance, Vasseur's decision to translate "imbue" as "impregnate" in a line from "Song of Myself. The U. South in New World Studies , ed. Several critics have argued on behalf of the innovation of Vasseur's interpretation of Whitman. These 'unfaithful' versions of Whitman, foundation-texts of his Latin American cult, confirm the alienated, second-order quality of such discourse" Citing a fragment of Vasseur's translation of "To a Locomotive in Winter," they write that in translation "Whitman's locomotive is turned into an erotic manifesto that is already not without a certain Marinettian flair.
In the original, the body is more mechanical" For example, it is true that several of the titles Vasseur changes were also slightly changed in the Italian. But the changes are not consonant, suggesting that at most Vasseur was inspired by Gamberale's adaptations to make his own, or that indeed the changes may be merely coincident or derived from another source such as the French translation. Perhaps more strangely, as if to balance out Whitman's male-focused gaze, Vasseur fantasized the poem "The Poet's Grandmother" ["La Abuela del Poeta"] into existence, constructing it from a section of Whitman's poem "Faces" Poemas , One can only speculate about whether or not he read Vasseur's translations in the meantime.
Whitman quoted in Allen, Handbook , Many of Whitman's poems are titled "Thought"; "Pensamiento" corresponds with the poem on page of Whitman, Leaves of Grass Vasseur both made selections from "Song of Myself" and reordered the lines within those sections. Vasseur translates sections 6, 7, 10, and 11 of this poem as it appears in Leaves of Grass These lines are excerpted from section 14 of "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," as it appears in Leaves of Grass , This poem is excerpted from section 5 of "Faces," Leaves of Grass , This poem is excerpted from section 9 of "Passage to India," Leaves of Grass , This poem is excerpted from "So Long!
In Spanish the plural is conserved despite the comma following "tongue. Literally, make happy alegran. Here Vasseur makes the invisible character described unambiguously the lady. Literally, salaams. The phrase is ambiguous in the Spanish: defenderlo could be "defend it"; "defend that" the august nature ; or possibly even "defend itself" as it is in the original , in a strange kind of reflexivity in which the soul would be a direct object to itself. Pedestral is likely a typographical error for pedestal.