Quatrain 7, Come fill a cup


Come fill your cup, and in the fire of spring

Come fill a Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-cloak of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has little time to sing
To flutter – and once again is on the Wing.

French translation

Viens remplir une coupe, et au feu du printemps
Votre manteau de douleur jeter:
L’oiseau du temps a peu de temps pour chanter
Pour flotter – et encore une fois sur l’aile.

German translation

Kommst! Auffüllen Sie ein weinglas, und im Feuer des Frühlings
Dein Wintermantel der Bedauern wegschmeißen:
Der Vogel der Zeit hat wenig Zeit zum Singen
Zu flattern – und noch einmal fliegt weg

Spanish translation

Ven a llenar una copa, y en el fuego de la primavera
Su Invierno-capa del arrepentimiento tirar a la basura:
Ay, el pájaro del tiempo, pero un poco de tiempo canta
Para volar – y una vez más está en sus alas.

Notes. Ah, a quatrain that is straight forward – Time is fleeting as the sparrow.

A few minor changes to Fitzgerald’s language include: delete the first comma in the first line, substitute “cloak” for “garment” in the second line, in the third line add “sing” to complete the rhyme, and in the fourth line, add “once again” to refer to the cycle of life.

I would have switched to grief or regret for repentance, but give the author a break.

In the French translation, the “winter” coat is implied for sake of brevity. Sadness sounds so much better than repentance.

In the German version, “Kommst!” is a familiar command. Wegschmeißen is a mouthful, but it contains “weg” which repeats as the last word of the quatrain.

What do you think of the Spanish?

Really now, sometimes I feel like the little red hen who found some seeds of wheat on the ground and had an idea. She would find some help and plant them. Not me, said the cat, the dog, and the goose; and the little red hen did it herself, but when it was time to eat the cake made from the wheat, everyone wished to join in.



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