Феофаг Проклятогородский (ash_rabbi) wrote in world_of_poetry,
Феофаг Проклятогородский
ash_rabbi
world_of_poetry

Vertinsky

I've just found an interesting translation of Alexander Vertinsky's song Жёлтый Ангел (Yellow Angel) from Russian into English.

RussianEnglish
В вечерних ресторанах,
В парижских балаганах,
В дешевом электрическом раю,
Всю ночь ломаю руки
От ярости и муки
И людям что-то жалобно пою.

Звенят, гудят джаз-банды,
И злые обезьяны
Мне скалят искалеченные рты.
А я, кривой и пьяный,
Зову их в океаны
И сыплю им в шампанское цветы.

А когда наступит утро, я бреду бульваром сонным,
Где в испуге даже дети убегают от меня.
Я усталый, старый клоун, я машу мечом картонным,
И лучах моей короны умирает светоч дня.

Звенят, гудят джаз-банды,
Танцуют обезьяны
И бешено встречают Рождество.
А я, кривой и пьяный,
Заснул у фортепьяно
Под этот дикий гул и торжество.
На башне бьют куранты,

Уходят музыканты,
И елка догорела до конца.
Лакеи тушат свечи,
Давно замолкли речи,

И я уж не могу поднять лица.
И тогда с потухшей елки тихо спрыгнул желтый Ангел
И сказал: "Маэстро бедный, Вы устали, Вы больны.
Говорят, что Вы в притонах по ночам поете танго.

Даже в нашем добром небе были все удивлены".
И, закрыв лицо руками, я внимал жестокой речи,
Утирая фраком слезы, слезы боли и стыда.
А высоко в синем небе догорали божьи свечи
И печальный желтый Ангел тихо таял без следа.
Yellow Angel

In nightclubs and in restaurants,
at cheapest Paris fairgrounds,
in this obscene electric paradise,
all night I'm sadly singing,
with fury and hand-wringing,
and people laugh at how I agonize.

Jazz bands go jingle-jangle,
and vicious monkeys scramble
to show me their crippled teeth again.
I'm cockeyed, drunk, obnoxious,
I ask them to the oceans
and strew the faded blooms on their champagne.

When the morning comes around,
I will trudge through sleepy towns.
Even children, they will frown,
they will run away in fright.
I'm an old and tired clown,
swinging toy swords up and down,
but the bright rays of my crown
force the daylight torch to die.

Jazz bands go jingle-jangle.
The monkeys dance and gambol,
they shout "Merry Christmas!" and "Come on!"
I'm drunk in my nirvana,
asleep at the piano,
despite this crazy celebration drone.

The tower clock is striking
and footmen douse the lighting,
all candles on the Christmas tree are out.
Musicians they are leaving,
here comes the end of evening,
but can I even raise my face I doubt.

In the dark, a yellow angel
quietly jumps off green fir branches.
And he tells me: "Poor Maestro,
you are tired, you are bad.
In the brothels, dens, and night streets,
you are said to sing the tango.
Even here, in good old Heaven,
we are all surprised by that."

And I hark to cruel speeches,
and conceal my wistful features,
wiping tears with my old tailcoat,
tears of shame and tears of pain.
And above, in blue high heavens,
God extinguishes holy candles.
And the sorrowful yellow angel
gently flickers on the wane.


This translation is attributed to qredo. At least it is found in that blog, along with many other similar translations of Vertinsky (prooflink). I like that style. As I already mentioned, I have a soft spot for that 'amateurish' translations where emotion surpasses technical skill and wit. And Vertinsky, because of his ultra-decadent demeanor, is probably a perfect author for that type (Szomorú Vasárnap aside).

And here's that translation performed:


The translation was later adapted and used by The Tiger Lillies (album Urine Palace): http://www.tigerlillies.com/2003/index.php?main=recordings&pubId=22
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YELLOW ANGEL

In bars and in restaurants
In the cheapest Paris fairground
Each night he is found

With fury and handwringing
Each night he’s singing
Until he’s laughed out of town

Jazz band goes jingle jangle
Vicious monkeys scramble
To show their crippled teeth all worn down

He’s drunk and he’s obnoxious
And then he’s feeling nauseous
He spreads his faded blooms upon the ground

He’s drunk on his nirvana
Asleep at the piano
In this crazy celebration drowns

Jazz band goes jingle jangle
Vicious monkeys gamble
Shouting Merry Christmas and come on

The musicians they are leaving
Here comes the end of evening
But he can’t even raise his head to frown

And from the green fir branches
A yellow angel drops down
And says poor maestro you’ve lost your crown

They say you sang the tango
In the brothels dens and night streets
You’re a sad and tired clown

And up in the high heavens
God extinguishes the candles
And the yellow angel drowns

http://www.tigerlillies.com/2003/index.php?main=recordings&trackId=313