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  Top » Catalog » Pages » Webzine
July 10: Idler and glutton: A poem in Occitan by Victor Gélu

From the anthology of Occitan literature, edited by James Thomas, to be published by Francis Boutle Publishers in 2011 as part of the Lesser Used Languages of Europe series

Victor Gelu (1806-1885)

Fenian é Grouman (an extract)

Touei lei souar ma bousso de maire
Mi renourié: sies un voourien!
Aimes mangea bouen, voues ren faire;
Un jou feniras maou, Guïen!
                  Lou feniantugi,
                  Lou groumandugi
An dé tou ten desavia lei jouven!...
                  Maire, li dieou,
                  Pa tan bedeou,
Per v’escouta, dé mi leva la peou!
Basto qué lou marteou proucure
Dé qué chiqua... rame qu’a fan!
Qu’es pa fenian, qu’es pa grouman,
Qu’un tron dé Dieou lou cure!

A luego dé neisse canaïo,
L’enfan d’un paoure ouvrié massoun,
Perqué sieou pas sorti dei braïo
D’un negoucian vo d’un baroun!
                  Ieou,  tan coouvasso!
                  Oh!  qué vidasso!
Oh!  qué challa!  s’avieou agu dé ploun!
Ti l’oourieou fa juga, lou restelié!
Mai foou qué Guïen si mesure!...
S’oou-men m’avien fa capelan!...
Qu’es pa fenian,  qu’es pa grouman,
Qu’un tron dé Dieou lou cure!

L’iver, lou bou dei dé vou siblo;
L’estieou, dé suzou sia nega:
Ana un paou manegea la tiblo,
Lei man gobi, lou san giela!
                  Mai en goguèto,
                  A la guingèto,
Rire, canta, gusegea, fa tuba;
                  Pui la broucheto,
                  Pui lei carteto,
Pui eme Chouazo oou lié si radassa!
L’a ti v’un bregan qué mi jure
Qu’aco es pa lou plesi dei san?
Qu’es pa fenian, qu’es pa grouman,
Qu’un tron dé Dieou lou cure!

L’an passa, doou ten dei Carèno,
Éri rede coumo un palé:
Juna, per ieou es troou dé peno,
E surtou juna per Nouvé!...
                  Oou courretié
                  Zou! Trei camié
N’en retireri mei nounanto pié!
                  N’agueri proun
                  Per un capoun;
Ero de buerri! m’ané ei vint oungloun!...
Qu voou jouï foou qué n’endure:
Fasieou gin-gin lou lendeman;
Mai es egaou: qu’es pa grouman
Qu’un tron dé Dieou lou cure!

Mi fa suza lei bassaqueto
Quan vieou certein richas booumian,
Per espragna quoouqueis peceto,
Pati doou souen é dé la fan!
                  Es pa peca
                  Dé s’espïa
Quan lou besoun vou li reduise pa!
                  Manges un uou,
                  O viei couguou!
E poues avé dé gamato dé buou!...
Voues pa qué lou mesquin marmure
Quan lou Cresus vieou en mandian!
Qu’es pa fenian, qu’es pa grouman,
Qu’un tron dé Dieou lou cure!

E noueste cura, qué san cesso
Oou prone ven degoubïa
Contro la taoulo é la paresso!
                  L’isto pa ben,
                  Oou citouïen,
D é coumanda lou juni ei parrouassien!
                  Es tou redound,
                  A sè mentoun,
Lou nazarè rouge coumo un pebroun!
Foou que ma testo si madure,
Qué li dirieou: ô charlatan!
Creido pu leou: qu’es pa grouman,
Qu’un tron dé Dieou lou cure!

Vui cadun parlo poletiquo:
M’en meli pa, l’entendi ren;
Mai s’en fasen la repebliquo
Lou paoure avié toujou d’argen!
                  S’en pa triman,
                  Avié tou l’an
Bouen lié, bouen vin, bouen fricò, bouen pan blan,
                  Leou, leou, dirieou:
                  Vengue un fusieou!
Espooutissen leis rei, marrias de Dieou!
E qué la repebliquo dure:
Sieou lou proumié de sei rouffian!...
Qu’es pa fenian, qu’es pa grouman,
Qu’un troun dé Dieou lou cure!

October 1838, from Œuvres complètes de Victor Gelu, Tome 1, Marseille et Paris, 1886, pp. 2–8.


Idler and glutton (an extract)

Every night, my goose of a mother
Starts to mutter: you’re a scoundrel!
You live for eating, won’t lift a finger;
You’ll come to a bad end, Guilhem!
                  Sloth and Idleness,
                  Greed and Gluttony
Have for all time led the young astray!
                  Mother, I frown,
                  Don’t be a clown,
To please you, I’d need to be skin and bone!
As long as the rake unearths something
To chew on...dig in and pig out!
Who’s not an Idler, who’s not a Glutton?
Hellfire burn your insides rotten!

Instead of to the rabble born,
The child of a humble mason,
Why didn’t I sprout from the breeches
Of a merchant or baron?
                  I’d be a lounger!
                  A sluggard and sponger!
What raptures if only I’d had some brass!
                  Pleasure on tap!
                  My old chap!
I’d have been chomping at the bit!
But Guilhem must show some decorum!
If only, at least, they’d made be a priest!
Who’s not an Idler, who’s not a Glutton?
Hellfire burn your insides rotten!

Winter, your fingertips are blasted;
Summer, you’re drowning in sweat:
You pick up the trowel for a tick,
All swollen hands and frozen blood!
                  But out on the spree
                  In a tavern or three
Laughing, singing, guzzling and a smoke;
                  Then the spit-roast
                  Cards and a toast
Then off with Sophie to bed for a ride!
Is there one outlaw out there who swears
This is not the pleasure of saints?
Who’s not an Idler, who’s not a Glutton?
Hellfire burn your insides rotten!

Last year, at the Christmas feast,
I was as stiff as a stake:
Fasting, for me that’s too much labour,
Not least for yuletide’s sake!
                  Off to the ragman
                  Three shirts to lose!
I came away with my ninety sous
                  Enough for a flutter
                  And a capon with butter
That filled me right up to my twenty claws!
We must all endure what we enjoy
The next day I was all ginned up!
But who cares?  who’s not a Glutton,
Hellfire burn your insides rotten!

It’s enough to make my brass bags sweat
When I see these rich, vagabond nobs
To be sparing with their small change
Suffer sleepless nights and hunger
                  Isn’t it a sin
                  To rein things in
When you’ve got no reason nor need to?
                  You eat cuckoo eggs
                  My old cuckold egg
When you could have your full plate of beef!
You won’t want the poor man to grumble
If your Croesus lives by begging!
Who’s not an Idler, who’s not a Glutton?
Hellfire burn your insides rotten!

And what of our curate, who on and on
Spews forth his spleen at the pulpit
Raging against good food and sloth!
Hearing him sets me all of a tremble!
                  It suits him well
                  See this citizen swell,
As he orders his parishioners to fast!
                  He’s fleshy as sin
                  With his seven chins,
And a big red conk, like a stuffed pepper!
But I should ripen my brains a bit,
Else I would tell him: Hey, hypocrite!
Shout out instead: Who’s not a Glutton
Hellfire burn your insides rotten!

 These days they’re all talking politics:
I keep well out, I don’t understand;
But if by building a republic
The poor man had money in his hand!
                  If without daily grind
                  He had all year round
A good bed, good wine, good grub and some bread,
                  I wouldn’t trifle
                  Fetch me a rifle!
Let’s make mincemeat of the King and Queen,  
And long live the Republic!
I’ll be the leader of those hotheads!
Who’s not an Idler, who’s not a Glutton?
Hellfire burn your insides rotten!

Translation copyright ©James W Thomas 2010

>See details of the anthology of Occitan literature edited by James Thomas

>See details of the Lesser Used Languages of Europe series

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