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The Comet [English Translation]

by LeutnantSchweinehund

This is a translation of a Czech song/ballad titled "The Comet," by Jaromír Nohavica. As such, I take no credit as its author, merely as a translator. Here is a link to the original:

Translating this work proved very challenging, because of the essential syntactic differences between Slavic and Germanic languages. However, having done my best to retain the original message, and having confidently retained it very well, along with the meter and form, I feel quite satisfied with the translation.

This song touched me very deeply, and since Czech is such an unknown, yet beautiful language, I wanted others to be able to share this poetic joy with me. So, behold, The Comet...

The Comet

I glanced at the comet, in excellent beauty drawn,
as I rushed forth to sing, I saw then that it had gone,
gone like a gentle doe in the great woodland maze,
mere golden specs and jewels now reflect in my gaze.

Those lustrous gemstones I buried beneath a tree,
when it next passes by, we all shall withered be,
yes, we'll all withered be, oh petty human pride,
I glanced at the comet, with sorrowful woe I cried.

Of the seas, of the grass, of the trees,
of our deaths, with which we shan't ever be at peace.
Of ancient love, of the Earth, of our woes,
and every soul that from this fine world once arose.

Wagons do shudder upon the sky's railway,
as Kepler wrote the laws for the star gone astray,
as he searched, 'till he found lying amidst the stars,
secrets of space which we fervently guard as ours.

Greatest of nature's myths, timeless in secrecy,
that every man is born of woman's decency,
that roots and branches together do raise an oak,
blood of our hopes and dreams throughout space softly spoke.

I spotted the comet, as if carved from mountains gray
by hands of artisans who long since have passed away.
I climbed to the heavens, my hands reached out in despair,
vanity stripped my soul all but completely bare.

Like David from marble carved, glistening as a dove,
I stood in awe, gazing there, gazing right up above -
when it next passes by, oh vain pride, ever-strong,
we'll all have perished then, but another shall sing our song,

Of the seas, of the grass, of the trees,
of our deaths, with which we shan't ever be at peace.
Of great love, treachery, of the Earth,
this is a song about us and the Comet's birth.

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128 Reviews

Points: 1067
Reviews: 128

Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:58 pm
AutoPilot wrote a review...

Hello friend!

It's always harder for me to leave reviews on works that are done by someone other than the YWS author who published it. But today, in honor of review day, and in an effort to get as many world out of the Green Room as possible; I'm leaving a review.

As ThePenultimateGinger said, it's rare that a song translates from such a different language into English, so well. I know from translating numerous essays, it can be really hard to directly translate out while keeping the original form and grace.

Congrats my friend!!
Great job and keep on writing,

User avatar
15 Reviews

Points: 353
Reviews: 15

Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:59 am
ThePenultimateGinger wrote a review...

Thank you for translating this (I feel very blessed now, lmao.) It's gorgeous, and I agree, it does still hold its form and rhythm very well. I loved how you translated it into English, but still made it lyrical and flowing. It's been pretty difficult for me to find translations of songs that still hold their structure and music.

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