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Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitan

Sanjay Sircar 16 Jan 13 - 01:05 AM
Nigel Parsons 16 Jan 13 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Grishka 16 Jan 13 - 08:07 AM
GUEST 16 Jan 13 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,Grishka 16 Jan 13 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Grishka 16 Jan 13 - 08:42 AM
Sanjay Sircar 16 Jan 13 - 06:50 PM
Sanjay Sircar 16 Jan 13 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,Grishka 17 Jan 13 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Jan 13 - 11:38 AM
Sanjay Sircar 17 Jan 13 - 06:38 PM
GUEST,Grishka 18 Jan 13 - 03:42 AM
Sanjay Sircar 20 Jan 13 - 07:45 PM
Monique 21 Jan 13 - 02:26 AM
Monique 21 Jan 13 - 02:28 AM
GUEST,Grishka 22 Jan 13 - 02:28 PM
GUEST,Grishka 22 Jan 13 - 02:34 PM
Monique 22 Jan 13 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,Grishka 23 Jan 13 - 06:31 AM
Monique 23 Jan 13 - 01:23 PM
Sanjay Sircar 24 Jan 13 - 12:11 AM
Monique 24 Jan 13 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,Grishka 24 Jan 13 - 10:17 AM
Sanjay Sircar 25 Jan 13 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,Grishka 25 Jan 13 - 07:05 PM
Sanjay Sircar 26 Jan 13 - 03:19 AM
GUEST,Grishka 26 Jan 13 - 04:34 AM
GUEST,An Octogenerian 08 May 15 - 09:00 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 01:05 AM

In the telemovie "The Double Clue" with David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, the second song, sung in Italian, is set to a melody I remember from my childhood, with the refrain ending

Oh happy life, oh maiden free
Kings on their thrones might envy thee.

But this is probably not the title of the song in translation. I am looking for
(a) the Italian title of the song
(b) sheetmusic for any English words and music for the song, preferably the one I remember.

I apologise for not being more specific.

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 04:51 AM

Best match I can find is at: Here
Which includes the line "Kings on their thrones may envious be" and is from "The Man Who Owned Broadway" Music & Lyrics George M Cohan (1909)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 08:07 AM

Sanjay, I guess you are talking about "Chanson d'Estelle" by Benjamin Godard, as beautifully sung here on YouTube.

The lyrics are in French, by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian, from a "pastoral play" named "Estelle et Némorin". The author also published a version in Occitan, closer to Italian, but not Godard's choice. Estelle is a female character, inquiring about her shepherd lover (see the translation).

Kings like Louis XVI actually acted in such "pastoral plays", so they may have envied shepherds in some aspects. -

The first song in the TV episode is indeed in Italian, "La promessa" from the "Soirées musicales" by Rossini.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 08:29 AM

Here is the English version you were referring to, though not quite up to present-day standards.

Note that the title "Florian's song" or "Chanson de Florian" refers to the author, but it may have helped in transgendering the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 08:30 AM

That was of course a PS to my previous post. GUESTs are not allowed more than two links per post.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 08:42 AM

And here the sheet music with different English lyrics, fairly close to the original (although I ask myself why the translator writes "His love have I" instead of "I have his love" - that must be "powertray").


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 06:50 PM

Thank you all very much.

@Nigel Parsons: that line in "The Man Who Owned Broadway" might indeed be a memory of o allusion to the actual song (though envious kings could indeed be independently engendered).

@Guset.Grishka: There is a deep pleasure in finding "lost" thnigs from one's childhood. Interesting how "high culture" can become something else over the years (from opera to infantschool song: though not learnt tere byme). And extra information of the sort one would never dream of finding, the worldwideweb notwithstanding, gives rise to "the experience of grace", or something like it.   

I apologise for not being able to distinguish between the Rossini Italian of the first son in "The Double Clue" from the French of "Chanson d'Estelle" by Benjamin Godard, words by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian, from a "pastoral play", "Estelle et Némorin", alternative form btsa in Occitan, closer to Italian, where Estelle inquires about her shepherd lover.

I do not remember whether the fictive speaker was female or male, an Estelle or a mistaken Florian, but it matters not.   

I am grateful for the YouTube French and English singing, and for the sheet music, and the powertray appended...

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 07:59 PM

@Guest Grishka: The title of the song, "Florian's Song" began to niggle in my head, for I was sure I had seen it in some longlost songbook, and sung it, in a translation resembling but different from the recent one to which you referred me, and eiter like or the same asthesheetmusicwhich you appended. Curiously, I had sung it without recognising it as what turns out to be the transgendered version as sung by Tauber (words by???) to which you directed me.

I put in the title and "mien" on google, got heaps of irrelevance with "mein", then put in just "Florian" and "mien" and got this:

Estella: a Pastoral Romance - Page 70 - Google Books Result
books.google.com.au/books?id=VpUyAQAAMAAJ

And this gives us the whole story of this pastoral romance as an extra bonus.

If the Tauber form is the first appearance of the male-speaker words, then they cannot have been remembered in "The Man Who Owned Broadway"...

Thank you both again.

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 06:37 AM

Yes, Sanjay, there seem to be various interesting connections to various genres of European and US culture. "Kings on their thrones may envious be" sounds like enough of a cliché to be reused as needed.

So is the semi-comical topos of a naïve lover describing the lost beloved one in terms of love poetry. I guess Florian was not the first to use it, and Charlie Rich in "The Most Beautiful Girl In The world" not the last. Country music is a legitimate heir to pastoral poetry. -

The elves may add "(Chanson de Florian)" to the thread title, so that our friend Monique will be attracted, to give us more insight to the Occitan connection. -

What interested me personally, and why I took the trouble to watch the whole TV episode, is the idea behind the incidental music. The script writers (or was it Agatha Christie herself?) set the theft during a private concert where these two songs are performed. The concert is only poorly interwoven into the plot, so that I guess its true function is a different one: to prepare the viewer for the possibility that M. Poirot's "Latin lover" genes may break through. (The detective is not in the audience, but the topic of love & marriage has been addressed before between him and Hastings.) More precisely, the first song is about assuring true love (though not too credibly), the second one about "languishing". Agatha Christie's original readers essentially wanted a detective superhero, with some personal traits, but no real weaknesses; nowadays, even the cheapest crime-fiction TV episode is required to display some true personal involvement of the detectives. --

French art songs ("mélodies") from the fin de ciècle are often apparently simple, compared to their German counterparts. The reason was to allow the singers to display their art to sound very refined, yet erotic and "languishing". Usage at infant schools takes away most of the magic. Maybe that is the effect you are describing, Sanjay: we heard something in our childhood and had the strong feeling that there must be something behind it which we are not told, or which possibly the teachers and parents did not understand themselves. Mudcat is largely about revealing such secrets, often unfolding the magic, sometimes destroying it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 11:38 AM

Thank you for supplying the links, Grishka. I enjoyed listening to Maggie Teyte sing while following the printed music.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 17 Jan 13 - 06:38 PM

@GUEST Grishka...

1. What we need, then, is a few more enthroned kings envying shepherdesses or shepherds or similar, to have a proper "motif" (I hate the post-structuralist use of "trope" for this phenomenon, though doubless they have their reasons for it).

2. When a fictive simple swain/maiden describes their lover in the terms of love poetry, the interesting thing is, how conscious are they that they are doing so, i.e. how overtly self-conscious is the text? Pastoral is inherently stylised and about cardboard figures doing cardboard things in a cardboard countryside. Their simplicity is of a piece with their diction and doings (both deliberately "faux", if you see what I mean), so they and theseare only semi-comic if you see them outside the terms of the genre.   

3. I do not know Charlie, Rich "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", but do you think that Country Music is always and everywhere as deliberately, flauntingly "self-conscious" as pastoral work. Don't we NOT suspend disbelief with pastoral, while we DO suspend it with Country Music?

4. I hope the elves do alter the thread title, thus attracting Monique... I wonder whether the French and the Occitan words mirror each other...

5. I wonder if anyone else sang the Tauber words and who wrote them. I prefer them to the "real" translation/s of the real text, but then I would, having heard them first.

6. I really cannot see how I did not recognise the tune of "Florian's Song" when I sang it, as being the same as the "Oh happy life" of my childhood... No, there *was* indeed magic (though perhaps more innocent and less languishingly erotic) in my mother singing it in my infancy, either from hers early 1930s) or from my sister's nursery school (late 1950s). Neither admit to remembering it now, or of mother singing it. But as you saw, I do. Either way, whoever's childhood/school inheriting it was (Tauber was not mentioned, though well known to us), it is an interesting example of colonial-period cultural transmission of a sort that ended with my own post-colonial generation (and even then, one had to belong to a certain sort of Anglophone social sphere, always considered dubious by the mainstream). We were told NOTHING about the songs we imbibed, bar what we could find in the fat wooden covered vol. _The World of Music_, but the magic either in the songs themselves (C#-folk, art-, "coon-", musical-comedy, the lot...), or in the childhood itself, or a combination, have led me to "never let them go". I hope it is not just naive nostalgia operating, but a modicum of taste with it... More information always adds to magic, I think..., for even an illusion-destroying magic is (or can be) itself magic..

7. I too thought the songs were badly integrated into the television rendition, though they might indeed have the thematic and "characterological" (sic) functions you ascribe to them. I was just glad they were there, because my no-Italian and less-French notwithstanding, they sounded good.   

Thank you for taking the trouble to re-watch, and to educate thereafter.

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 03:42 AM

1. Enthroned kings, like almost everybody else, sometimes complain about their sad fate, and express their "envy" of persons apparently leading a simple life. That is in fact one of the raisons d'être of pastoral poetry - and, surely, of Country music. However, if kings might envy someone, that means they would have reasons to do so, if they knew. In other words, it is a way to say someone is very fortunate.

2. Of course you are right: realism is not the category of the genre. Neither it is of comedy. Still, I feel those authors, definitely including the authors of the Beautiful Girl, did have a sense of the funny side of their work.
Hey, did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world?
And if you did, was she crying, crying?
Hey, if you happen to see the most beautiful girl that walked out on me
Tell her, "I'm sorry."
3. The song can be easily googled, e.g. here on YT. It was a world hit, clearly taken seriously in its emotion - and yet the comic aspect would have been very hard to overlook. As I wrote, it is a long tradition, not only in the pastoral genres.

4. So do I, but I think I can safely say myself that the two versions of the chansons are quite similar.

5. That is yours to research. I would be very surprised if the words had been newly written for Tauber.

6. Colony or not, the globalized world is flooded with bits of culture that are not properly understood. Most of it, but not all, is in English language. I am an "intercultural" person too, but even natives can be quite naïve concerning their ancestors' culture.

7. The songs were poorly integrated into the whodunit plot. My point was that present-day TV watchers are no longer riddle-solvers, but expect more athmosphere and personal involvement. The script writers did a reasonably good job there, without severely irritating the Christie fans.

By writing, we educate ourselves and others.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'O, happy life, oh maiden free'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 20 Jan 13 - 07:45 PM

Godard, Benjamin. "Chanson de Florian". In _New and Old Favourites: A Collection of Popular Old and Recent New Songs_. New York: Richard A Saalfield, c. 1888. pp. 72- 74. [translator does not appear to be given?]:

At morning light when lambs awaken
And water-lilies open wide
Along the mountains' grassy side
Her way the shepherdess has taken
Oh happy life! oh maiden free!
Kings on their thrones might envy thee!

Her plenteous ditty softly singing
Along the dewy meadshe goes
She loves to seethe flocks repose
To hear the sheep-bells gaily ringing
Oh happy life! oh maiden free!
Kings on their thrones might envy thee!

Same text and music, as Tauber sang it, in:
Godard, Benjamin "Chanson de Florian" "Song of Florian". New English verson [trans.] M. C. Gillington. London: Joseph Williams Ltd: 1908. © 1891. 4 pp.

One or other text appears to be in -
Horatio Parker, McConathy, Birge and Miessner, compilers. _The Progressive Music Series: Book Four_, for Eighth Grade. Silver Burdett and Company, 1915. See p.15.

Charles A. Fullerton. _One Book Course in Elementary Music and Selected Songs for Schools_ (Grades 1-8). Des Moines: Wallace Publishing Co., 1925

And compilations deriving:
Mabrlle Glenn. Helen Leqvitt, Victor Rebman, compilers. _Song Parade Grades I-VIII_ (The World of Music Series). Ginn & Co., 1941,1952

Irving Wolfe, Margaret Fullerton, compilers (based on the original work of Charles A. Fullerton). _Together We Sing_ (All Grades Edition). Illus. Mary Gehr. Follett. 1950, 1952 [?].

Wolfe, Krone, Fullerton, compilers. _Music Sounds Afar_ (Together We Sing Music Series) , illus. Gordon Laite. Follett Pub. Co., 1958.

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitan
From: Monique
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 02:26 AM

Here are both the original version of the song (in its original spelling)

Cansouneto

Aï ! S'avès din vostré villatge
Un jouin'é tendré pastourel
Qué voùs gangn'o proumiè co d'uel
E pié qu'à toujours voùs engatge.
Es moun ami, rendés lou mé,
Aï soun amour, el a ma fé.

Sé sa vouès plantivo e doucèto
Faî soupira l'eco dous bos
E sé lou soun dé soun ouabos
Faï sounja la pastoureleto,
Es moun amic, rendés lou mé,
Aï soun amour, el a ma fé.

Sé, quan n'aouso pa vous rèn diré,
Sa guignado vous atténdris
Pieï, quan sa bouquéto vous ris,
Sé vous déraoubo un dous souriré,
Es moun amic, rendés lou mé,
Aï soun amour, el a ma fé.

Quan lou paouré s'en vèn pécaïré
En roudan proucho soun troupel,
Li dire baïla mé un'agnel,
Si lou baïlo enbé la maïré,
Aï qu'es bèn él ! Rendes lou mé,
Aï soun amour, el a ma fé.

Here is the French translation (not totally literal)

Ah ! S'il est dans votre village
Un berger sensible et charmant
Qu'on chérisse au premier moment
Qu'on aime ensuite davantage
C'est mon ami, rendez le moi,
J'ai son amour, il a ma foi.

Si par sa voix tendre et plaintive
Il charme l'écho de vos bois
Si les accents de son hautbois
Rendent la bergère pensive
C'est encor lui, rendez le moi,
J'ai son amour, il a ma foi.

Si même n'osant rien vous dire
Son regard sait vous attendrir ;
Si sans jamais faire rougir,
Sa gaieté fait toujours sourire,
C'est encor lui, rendez le moi,
J'aii son amour, il a ma foi.

Si passant près de sa chaumière,
Un pauvre en voyant son troupeau,
Ose demander un agneau
Et obtienne en plus sa mère,
C'est encor lui, rendez le moi,
J'ai son amour, il a ma foi.

Quite literal English translation of the original song:

Ditty

Aye/Ah! If you have in your village
A young and nice shepherd
Who wins you (wins your love) at first sight
And then [whom]you love [lit. commits] forever.
He's my friend, give him back to me.
I have his love, he has my faith.

If his plaintive and sweet voice
Makes the echo of the woods sigh,
And if the sound of his oboe
Makes the shepherdess dream,
He's my friend, give him back to me.
I have his love, he has my faith.

If, when he dares not say anything to you,
His look* moves you,
Then, when his little mouth laughs (= ~ smile) to you
He steals you a tender smile,
He's my friend, give him back to me.
I have his love, he has my faith.

When the poor man comes, poor dear**,
When roaming near his flock,
And tells him "Give me a lamb",
He gives it/one along with its mother,
Ah! it's him! Give him back to me,
I have his love, he has my faith.

*his look = his glance, gaze... not the way he looks like.
** about pecaire, Cf. note at the bottom of this Avignon carol


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitian
From: Monique
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 02:28 AM

Yikes! 1st verse, 4th line: commit, not commits.


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitian
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 02:28 PM

The following I read in various sources:

The Occitan and the French version are both by Florian. The novel (not play) is completely in French; Florian later published this song in Occitan. He had learned that language only at the age of 12, but felt it to be closer to the roots of his identity than literal French. One author writes, approvingly, that Florian has provencalized the language.

Now, Monique, my questions: what does that mean? Is the language of the poem archaic, compared with the usage of his contemporaries? And is it more literal? (These sheep will never excrete any droppings, will they?)

In my opinion, the Occitan version may well be the earlier one, given the powerful rhyme pastourel - co d'uel, which does not work in French. On the other hand, the nice variation C'est encor lui (translating: "That's he once more" or "That's still he") adds to the sublimely comic effect I was referring to, and is missing in the Occitan.


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitian
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 02:34 PM

Of course I mean literary, not literal. (I should not read three languages simultaneously ...)


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitian
From: Monique
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 06:43 PM

Grishka, In this document they say he learned it with his nurse, so I suppose it was well before he was 12.

If you wonder what it means in this sentence "Cette chanson d'Estelle constitue un exemple unique de la langue provençale provençalisant." I take it to mean that it's an example of a Provençal work in Provençal, not just mentioning it was in Provençal but written in French.

No, the language of the poem isn't archaic at all, someone could have written in nowadays. The language hasn't changed much in the last 400-450 years (check the Provençal carols). It isn't more literary either, it's everyday life Oc. I agree that the Provençal version is more likely to be the original one: the French version sounds more affected but it was written 250 years ago so they might have felt differently from what I may feel now; besides he needed to make the lines rhyme. Anyway, if he'd written the French first, the Provençal wouldn't sound so "easy going".


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitian
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 06:31 AM

Thanks, Monique, that helps a lot. The document you mentioned was indeed the one I referred to. (Please note that I have no interest in the game of "claiming" poets or musicians for an ethnic group, which unfortunately renders so much scientific work questionable.)

If the language "isn't more literary either, it's everyday life Oc", then this makes for yet another ironic contrast to Sanjay's well-put observation "Pastoral is inherently stylised and about cardboard figures doing cardboard things in a cardboard countryside." If I were a satirist, I could compare it to the Africans in loincloths exhibited in 19th century zoos, together with gazelle etc.


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitian
From: Monique
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 01:23 PM

@ Grishka: Well, even if the language is everyday life Oc -no affected words or patterns- the literary aspect is that shepherdesses in real life wouldn't have worded it with all this "♪ plaintive voice, ♫ echo in the woods, ♫ oboe tones...♪ " thing. A literal translation of the French doesn't show much difference between both versions and my English isn't good enough to make a nice one so that you could see how more affected it sounds now. No idea of how it sounded then. But you know French, so you can judge by yourself.


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Subject: RE: 'Florian's Song'; 'new version'/originals
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 24 Jan 13 - 12:11 AM

If M C Gillington's "new English version", which is now about the shepherdess and not in her voice, and takes out any sorrow of separation, dates back to at least 1888, then it is quite possible that it is a direct source for the line in "The Man Who Owned Broadway" (it could also be a common cliche, or anidependently generated one). I wonder whether the melody of the last line in "Florian's Song" is echoed in "The Man Who Owned Broadway". How would one get to the sheetmusic for the latter. I can manage searching for ordinary texts, but not "words and music".

I still feel that anything comic in the original French/Occitan might be potential or inherent in the "affectation", as Monique so felicitously puts it), of the genre as a whole (because it is emphastically not a mirror to life), not particularly in this song itself. (What this does for "pastoral tragedy", which does exist, e.g "The Sad Shepherd", I do not know, though.) But I can only go by the English translation in the sheetmusic.

[It is apparently a mark of "realism" in Shakespeare that his shepherd says "Our hands are greasy" in "As You Like It", though it doesn't strike me as all *that* realistic, myself.]

Affected sounding French (then and/or now) and ordiary sounding Occitian, in parallel versions of the same text, is most interesting.   

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitan
From: Monique
Date: 24 Jan 13 - 05:18 AM

Now I think of it, both Fr and Oc, 3 1st verses, 5th line "Es mon amic"/"C'est mon ami" that I literally translated by "He's my friend" then meant "He's my beloved". Today it MAY mean "He's my companion" or "He's my boyfriend" which includes both romance and sex. If he's an actual friend (no romance, no sex), we say "c'est un ami" = "he's a friend (of mine)".


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitian
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Jan 13 - 10:17 AM

I am not sure how cardboard shepherds procreate, but romance is their favourite pastoral pastime. Actually both sexes are quite "possessive" - a property which has fallen in disgrace only since late 20th century. "Give him back to me!" says it all. (Does she think/feel the villa[t]gers hold the boy prisoner??)

The topic of love poetry is often the very essence of love, deliberately "purified" of any rationality, to make it look stronger. Known examples go back to the Canticles of the Bible (Cant3.3: "The watchmen that go about the city found me. 'Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?'") and do not end with "The Most Beautiful Girl" mentioned above.

The pastoral/rural genre goes back (at least) to ancient Greek and Latin. The idea, still in vogue, is "Oh, if we were not as sophisticated as we are, but as simple as countryfolk, we would live in harmony with our inner self and thus be happier!" Needless to say that the real countryfolk were not convinced.

Those who are grateful to Florian for using Occitan in this connection, may be mistaken: the suggestion to his readers could well have been that Occitan-speakers ("natives") actually are naive, where French-speakers must affect it. Even those readers who are envious, will not really be respectful. If Florian had wanted to raise the prestige of modern Occitan, he could have been more successful by connecting it to medieval poetic Provençal, which was as "affected" and prestigeous a language as poetic French. --

Alas, Sanjay, Gillington's version is a sore abuse of Godard's melody, and Tauber makes it even worse. Transgendering is not the problem, and the pastoral topic is superficially preserved, but the typical languishing (not primarily "sorrow of separation") of the late-19th-century music is betrayed.


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitan
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 25 Jan 13 - 08:11 AM

I cordially & heartfeltly disagree on Gillington's verse: I call it "sweetly pretty", and no abuse of the melody at all. ("Tell me I'm crazy, maybe I know".) No, of course transgendering is not a problem - the new pastoral words could even be sung by another maiden (a princess on the run?, not necessarily a man of low or high degree) about the nameless shepherdess, with a languishing (or plaintive) note about her enviable happiness. Gillington's shepherdess herself does not languish, but let her be happy before Cupid's dart strikes her bosom: that's what I say, for all is fleeting, youth, beauty, happines, freedom,even in Arcady (even there is He). So languishing is probably in store for the poor maid in her happiness, anyhow. I don't see why everyone should themselves languish because this is typical of the music of its time; others (like those singing about them) can languish about them quite as well. Anyhow, come and hear me sing Gillington's words to Godard's music, and I will make both languish quite sufficiently enough to suit the sternest critic. I do concede that Tauber tends to bellow out his admiration of her, and while his Teutonic tones suit other lyrics, they might be a little misplaced-sounding here.   

It would be nice to have a list of recordings of Gillington's words, but I do not know how to start making one.   

When monogamy went out ("My beloved is mine and I am his"), romantic love went out with it.

I will learn "The Most Beautiful Girl" if you will teach it to me (and in three languages, if you wish).

It is highly likely that when a poet chooses a non-standard language, old and affected or new and unaffected, over a standard one, he chooses (faux-naively, perhaps) to convey his fictive speaker's naivete.   What is the difference between how the two languages sound when the song is sung in them?: that is what I'd like to hear for myself.

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitan
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 25 Jan 13 - 07:05 PM

Sanjay, who am I to destroy your magical memories. Feel free to sing what you like, and be happier with it than kings on their thrones.

As for the two languages, we must first keep in mind that Godard is one century later than Florian. He only considered the French version, and in fact his topic was not natural naivete, but (possibly "crazy") love.

For a tune contemporary to Florian, attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, see YouTube. To sing it with the Occitan lyrics would still be daring, but I bet it has been done many times, probably even with folk instruments accompanying. I am not sure whether I really want to hear it.

Non-standard: a difficult problem, and often burdened with emotions that survive the centuries - for example in the essay linked by Monique. I think decent cardboard shepherds, well-parfumed, should only speak the most refined poetic language, most artificially trimmed for sublime simplicity. That is what their ancestors did in Greek and Latin.

Country music such as "The Most Beautiful Girl": just an example, not my recommendation.


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitan
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 03:19 AM

I was just trying to convince you than an alterative view to yours on those lyrics might have some validity, but putting forth reasons, andsaying that a singer's treatment of those words mightbring to them the emoional qualities that they might be thought to lack...

Nevertheless, the Occitian might still fit Godard (just as at least one tramnslatin does?), no?

Is there not naaivete in all crazy love, be it in pastoral or otherwise?

Is there no such thing as the equivalent of "stage rustic" in pastoral, though? I cannot think of any heroes and heroines, as against clowns, but someone else might have a good example...

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitan
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 26 Jan 13 - 04:34 AM

The Occitian version fits the Godard tune, if viewed as a tramnslation. All translations of art songs, even the best ones, take something away. ("Translator - traitor" is the saying, Italian "traduttore, traditore".)

When crazily in love, refined dandies and shepherds are more alike than normally, which made Florian's lyrics fit for Godard to compose. The aesthetical concepts are quite distinct, though. (Note that the 19th century refined languisher is as much of a cliché as the earlier shepherd.)


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Subject: RE: Florian's Song' 3 translations, awaiting Occitan
From: GUEST,An Octogenerian
Date: 08 May 15 - 09:00 AM

For many years I have wanted to know all the words to this song that we used to sing in school, during the war. Today I found this whilst browsing. I heard it during a Poirot episode and it started me again wondering what the words were.
Thank you Sanjay Sircar. Much appreciated.


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