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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it's queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.




לויט ראָבערט פראָסט

אָפּשטעלנדיק זיך אין פאַרשנייטן וואַלד


איז וועמענס וועלדל דערקען איך דאָ?

זיין שטוב – אין דאָרף און ער – ניטאָ.

ער וועט ניט זען ווי כ'שטעל זיך אָפּ,

באַטראַכט זיין וועלדל שנייאיק בלאָ.


מיין פערדל קלערט אַז כ'בין צעדרייט

זיך אָפּצושטעלן כ'ווייס ניט וואו

צעווישן וואַלד און סטאַוו פאַרשנייט

פאַר נאַכט, דער לענגסטער צודערצו.


ער גיט אַ טרייסל זיין געשפּאַן

מיט גלעקלעך פרעגנדיק: "מסתם

פאַרבלאָנדזשעט?" ס'הערט זיך נאָך אַ קלאַנג

אַן איינציקער פון שניי וואָס פאַלט.


ס'איז טיף דער וואַלד מיט חן און בלאָף,

נאָר כ'האָב נאָך פליכטן אָן אַ סוף ,

אַ לאַנגן וועג ביז כ'גיי צום שלאָף,

אַ לאַנגן וועג ביז כ'גיי צום שלאָף.



(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Sep. 9th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)
kerbale wrote:
Sep. 9th, 2008 07:41 am (UTC)
Re: Stopping by Woods on Snowy Evening
I agree with you that my humble attempt leaves much to be desired and probably deserves to be disliked by you and others.

Yet, I respectfully disagree with your high praise for the other translation. Of the four lines you cited only the first one is fine, whereas, from viewpoint of Yiddish, "nor ikh muz ba mayn tsuzog shteyn", is contrived beyond the call of duty. The stylistically helpless "ba mayn tsuzog (sg.) shteyn" certainly does not convey the sense of the original and very natural "promises to keep". The last line (twice repeated which by itself is of course fine) is also quite awkward. At least at first glance it looks quite convoluted: is it a nonsensical "shlofn mayln", or perhaps even "geyn shlofn mayln"? However, it may well be that the actual text has a long dash in the mid-line position: "un eyder shlofn – mayln geyn".

Having said that, this translation is probably still far superior to mine. Also, I haven't seen it in its entirety. It is, nevertheless, important to remember that a seemingly good or better translation is not necessarily so good unless it can stand on its own as a good poem in the language into which it was translated.

Many thanks for your comment. It is frank and quite concomitant with my own doubts concerning the quality of my, alas, abysmal attempt to translate this wonderful poem into Yiddish.

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