A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

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A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby marco on 05 Jul 2011, 20:08

On Girolamo Zorli's www.tretre.it web site, I have found "La Canzona dei Confortini", a (rather obscene) XV century song that mentions a number of card games.
My not so literal translation is on Tarotpedia.

Ironically, on youtube a nice interpretation of the first stanzas is used to introduce a composition in praise of the Holy Virgin.
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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby Pen on 07 Jul 2011, 07:57

Hello Marco,

Hope things are well with you.

Loved the piece on YouTube - thanks for the link... (*)

I couldn't help wondering as I read your translation of the poem if I'd have guessed it was obscene if you hadn't said.

Honey rolls sound good... :smile:


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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby Huck on 07 Jul 2011, 13:36

Thanks, nice work.
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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby SteveM on 07 Jul 2011, 18:49

Pen wrote:
I couldn't help wondering as I read your translation of the poem if I'd have guessed it was obscene if you hadn't said.

Honey rolls sound good... :smile:


Pen


Well if I be reading it right, I like honey rolls too:P Perhaps we need two translations, the 'decent' veneer and the 'dirty' version - but I think knowing it has an obscene meaning is sufficient to recognize the references to menstruation and sodomy (if the women won't 'play' because they are on their period, the men may have to turn to their neighbour? Not sure whether 'neighbour' refers to each other or the womens 'neighbouring' hole? I think both are alluded too, the losers at cards being figuratively buggered, the drawer deciding who is top and who is bottom) - but I am not entirely sure - maybe the double entendres and other obscene figures of speech could be noted? Anyways, thank you for your continuing work on translating these old sources/references Marco - much appreciated!
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby Pen on 07 Jul 2011, 19:03

I think after Steve's outline above I'm quite happy with the honey rolls - thanks for your good work Marco... (*)

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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby SteveM on 08 Jul 2011, 12:14

Very interesting I think as an example of how multilevel meanings were incorporated through burlesque: a language of carnival poetry in which a poem was written with the intention of being able to be read at two different levels of meaning.

I have also seen berricuocoli and confortini translated as spicy buns and sweetmeats. Some of the obvious connotations are a little obscured in interpretative gloss I think, for example instead of 'and she who loses it, as many do/must then perforce use (make do with) little pots' is somewhat different to 'many women waste time and thereafter / they have to be all alone.' I think the underlying salacious suggestion (understood in parallel with the following stanza about 'good neighbours') is that in their season, at the time of loss, (during menstruation) not to compound the misfortune by wasting that time, but to make do instead with the 'little saucepan/cooking pot' (neighbour to the other 'pot') - therefore, unless I am reading it completely wrong, 'to be all alone' seems to change the meaning of the original to me?
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby marco on 10 Jul 2011, 11:47

SteveM wrote: Some of the obvious connotations are a little obscured in interpretative gloss I think, for example instead of 'and she who loses it, as many do/must then perforce use (make do with) little pots' is somewhat different to 'many women waste time and thereafter / they have to be all alone.'


Hello Steve, I have corrected those two lines according to your suggestion.
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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby SteveM on 10 Jul 2011, 13:12

Hi Marco :)

I don't know enough of the language to be making suggestions, more like questions about the double entendres and other obscene figures of speech being used that we may explore ways to make some of the allusions more apparent in English.

As I read it the subject changes from heterosexual sodomy in the first stanzas to one of homosexual sodomy in the card playing stanzas (to put faith in Fortune is crazy / wait but a while, and the bender by turn will be bent) ; however I wonder if the transition is being made at the stanza beginning:

Il far quest'arte è cosa da garzoni :
basta che i nostri confortin son buoni.

In which case I wonder if 'garzoni' should be translated 'boys' instead of 'young people'?
This thing boys make an art of / bring to an art (?)
(sufficient for the good of / good enough for) our sweetmeats / honey rolls. (?)

Also a slang term for 'money' (quattrini - penny) such as 'dough' or 'bread' maybe more in keeping with the baking metaphor - it is better to play and spend your dough.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
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Location: Turkey
Favorite Deck: Crowley/Harris Thoth
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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby marco on 10 Jul 2011, 16:11

Hello Steve,
I included "this thing boys make an art of": I guess you are right and garzoni stands for young men in this verse. Anyway, I don't think that this stanza is alluding to homosexuality (but to active sex made by "garzoni" in general). For "quattrini" I prefer "money", because in the Italian text no "double entendre" is associated to this word.
It seems to me that your interpretation of the text is excellent, but I guess it could be useful to provide a complete translation of the 22 footnotes in Zorli's web-page. I will consider adding them in the future.
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Re: A Carnival Song by Lorenzo de' Medici

Postby SteveM on 10 Jul 2011, 19:33

marco wrote:Hello Steve,
I included "this thing boys make an art of": I guess you are right and garzoni stands for young men in this verse. Anyway, I don't think that this stanza is alluding to homosexuality (but to active sex made by "garzoni" in general).


Yes, I think I understand it better now, in context of the previous verse in which the woman are extorted not to waste time making their own; the boys as apprentices are forbidden to reveal the secrets of the 'baker's art' :

Ladies, we have spiced rolls and sweetmeats,
if you want some, then ours are a treat.

We ought not teach how to make them,
a season is lost, much time is wasted still,
and whoever loses time, as many do,
it’s better we make use of their little pots.

When it’s your time, then do as you will,
and don't feel embarrassed or dirty:
who hasn’t the way, win over the neighbour;
good neighbours give to each other.

This thing young men (the boys, journeymen, apprentices) make an art of:
it is enough that our (sweetmeats/honey rolls) are good.
Do not (wait/expect) (for someone to give you one/for someone to give you a gift/to receive a present)
it is (proper/fitting/becoming) to play and (spend/pay/will - should cost) (a pretty penny/good money).

This thing we young men make an art of:
it's enough that our sweetmeats are good.
Don't wait for someone to give you one:
be good sports - spend a penny and play!

I am unsure of the meaning of convien here, as proper, fitting, appropriate, becoming, behoves or as needs/wants must, perforce - I think the sense of advice here, as you have it it is better to play is probably the best one, but the condition of having to pay a pretty penny to play sounds less harsh in English if the line is inverted I think - it is better to (pay/spend) (a pretty penny/good money) and play. I wonder also, as in the example above and below, if 'play' could be interpreted as 'sport'? Are the ladies being asked to pay for a sweetmeat here, or to gamble some money to win one? If so perhaps something like 'place a bet and play your pretty penny' may make this aspect clearer?


needs must play and will pay good money.
it is becoming to play and to pay good money.
it is better to pay a pretty penny and play.
seize the day - pay a penny and play!
seize the day - spend your penny and play
be a sport and spend your good money.



For "quattrini" I prefer "money", because in the Italian text no "double entendre" is associated to this word.


I wasn't thinking of it as double entendre here (though there maybe, doesn't the sausage seller say something along the lines of 'spender bei quattrini' in Aristophanes "Knights"? Can't remember the context off hand - in English there is a double meaning to be had in 'to be spent' - not sure whether the same applies in Italian - and also the connotation of bread/dough 'rising') but as maintaining the bakery metaphor as a poetic device - but I agree with you if bread/dough is not figurative of money in idiomatic Italian as it is in English (infatti il termine inglese usato per quattrini, dough, e in forma di slang.) Similarly, as it would be too hard I think to maintain the meter and rhyme scheme (though I haven't tried to do so, it may be possible with time on one's hands) of the original maybe to use other poetic devices where possible such as alliteration and assonance: penny and play, give you a gift, or faith in fortune is crazy (for the alliteration of 'f' sounds and assonance of 'ay' in faith and crazy ) and also, remembering that it is a song, to give it some form of 'cantor', even if one can't maintain that of the original.

Ironically, on youtube a nice interpretation of the first stanzas is used to introduce a composition in praise of the Holy Virgin.


Hmmmm... the holy virgin, money and sodomy - reminds me of something - oh yes:

"Putanna madonna, che ci dia i quattrini! Ho ragione? Culo rulto!"
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot
SteveM
 
Location: Turkey
Favorite Deck: Crowley/Harris Thoth
Aliases: kwaw, koy deli,

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