November 21, 2009

Here I am, browsing the internet, minding my own business and I come across an excerpt from Jabberwocky. Following the rest of the conversation I found someone had read Jabberwocky in Russian and I was totally astounded. Jabberwocky is a wonderful nonsense poem written by Lewis Caroll in 1871. It is used in English classes to teach students about various parts of the language including nouns and verbs. I love the poem specifically because it means nothing and yet people try to read meaning into it.

It’s an amazing poem and very hard to translate yet people have endeavoured to do so. Martin Gardiner has two versions in his book The Annotated Alice in French and German, but it’s also been translated into Chinese and Bengali. I can’t help wondering how it fares being translated into these languages. Until tonight, though, I’d never heard of it being translated into Russian. Russian is a gorgeous language and I hope it sounds all right.

Anyway, here it is, pinched directly from this website:

Бармаглот (1967 г)

Варкалось. Хливкие шорьки
Пырялись по наве,
И хрюкотали зелюки,
Как мюмзики в мове.

О бойся Бармаглота, сын!
Он так вирлеп и дик,
А в гуще рымит исполин –
Злопастный Брандашмыг!

Но взял он меч, и взял он щит,
Высоких полон дум.
В глущобу путь его лежит
Под дерево Тумтум.

Он стал под дерево и ждет,
И вдруг граахнул гром –
Летит ужасный Бармаглот
И пылкает огнем!

Раз-два! Раз-два! Горит трава,
Взы-взы – стрижает меч,
Ува! Ува! И голова
Барабардает с плеч!

О светозарный мальчик мой?
Ты победил в бою!
О храброславленный герой,
Хвалу тебе пою! и тд.


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