In 2014 one can safely declare that English is taught in every single Italian high school. The same could not have been said in the 70s, and even the 80s, when in many Licei, apart from Ancient Greek and Latin, French or German, being the national languages of neighbouring countries, were thought to be more appropriate modern languages for young Italians. With the advent of English in our Licei, we Italians started absorbing the anglophone canon, also in terms of literature. We learned to like or hate Chaucer, to love Shakespeare (still Dante is always Dante), we were puzzled with Joyce, enthused with Dickens and Austen, we dreamt with (or were sick of) Romantic poetry and, most of all, we struggled to pronounce that one unpronounceable surname during the all-too-ordinary interrogazioni di letteratura inglese (the English oral literature tests): William W-O-R-D-S-W-O-R-T-H. Just impossible for our Neo-Latin tongues, I am afraid. In honour of this memory, which many fellow Italian students of English literature share with me, I have translated one of Wordsworth’s most famous poems, ‘A Slumber did my Spirit Seal’ (Lyrical Ballads, 1800) into my native dialect, el Dialèt Bresà.
Downloadable audio file available here.
‘Na son la m’ia seràt sö el cò
(TRADUSIÙ DELA VALENTINA GOSETTI)
‘Na son la m’ia seràt sö el cò;
De niènt me pòra ghire piö:
La parìa ‘n èser che no ’l sènt
dei agn teré el toc o ’l segn.
Adès la se möf piö, l’è fiàca;
Niènt la vét e niènt la sent;
‘Nteràda zò n’dei dé che pàsa,
Coi baloč le prée e coi ciprès.
A Slumber did my Spirit Seal
A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.
Click here to read this poem on Poetry website.