The poet as the translator
The French poem Moonlight by Paul Verlaine was beautifully translated by Carlyle Ferren MacIntyre. He spend a lot of time, translating poems and writing his own poems.
Are they better translators?
Are poets better translators? Compared to those who translate texts. That is not an easy question to answer. The poet as the translator leaves us with someone, who truly understands poetry. But, is it necessary to write your own poetry?
Translating texts is a skill. It requires insight in the language to translate from and to. MacIntyre was capable of translating poems in a very good way. He is well-known for his translations of Paul Verlaine, Charles Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Stefan George.
One can ask the question, why we would use such a long introduction for someone who only translated the poem from French to English. Should we give more credits to Paul Verlaine? We will do this in some other article. In this case, we want to give more credit to the one translating this poem and making it readable for more people. This is also very important.
Carlyle Ferren MacIntyre was born on July 16, 1890, in Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Southern California. As a teacher, he was employed by the University of California, Berkeley, the Los Angeles Polytech High School and the Occidental College – to name a few educational institutions. He received his doctorate in Marburg (Germany)
He spend many years in Europe before the Second World War. He translated many poems written by Goethe and also made a successful effort to translate Goethe’s masterpiece Faust to English.
Before he died in 1960, after suffering from a stroke, he lived in Paris (France).
Your soul is like a painter’s landscape where
charming masks in shepherd mummeries
are playing lutes and dancing with an air
of being sad in their fantastic guise.
Even while they sing, all in a minor key,
of love triumphant and life’s careless boon,
they seem in doubt of their felicity,
their song melts in the calm light of the moon,
the lovely melancholy light that sets
the little birds to dreaming in the tree
and among the statues makes the jets
of slender fountains sob with ecstasy.
Are you a translator?
So, we can do with a lot more translations! Are you a translator of poetry or do you want to give it a try? We would love to read the results! Send us an e-mail to inform us about your aspirations! Remmeber, we give everyone a fair chance!