[Modern Greek] The Siren's Song

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mingshey
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[Modern Greek] The Siren's Song

Post by mingshey » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:15 am

I find it difficult to get the English translation of the lyrics to the famous "Siren's Song(aka "With my white handkerchief")" by Manos Hadjidakis.
Since I bought the CD containing this song as sung by Nana Mouskouri, circa 1992, I searched for it in vain. Now having learnt a bit of MG and with the help of Dictionary I try the translation:

Με τ' άσπ?ο μου μαντήλι --With my white handkerchief
θα σ' αποχαι?ετήσω -- I'll bid farewell to you
και για να μο? '?θεις πίσω -- And for you to come back to me
στην εκκλησιά θα μπω. -- I will enter the church.
Θ' ανάψω το καντήλι -- I will lit up the lantern
και το κε?ί θα σβήσω, -- And put off the candle,
τα μάτια μου θα κλείσω -- I will close my eyes
και θα σ' ονει?ευτώ. -- And I will dream of you.

(*refrain)
Γιατί είσαι λυπημένο, -- For you are sad,
και δε μιλάς κι εσ?, -- And you also do not say
πουλί ταξιδεμένο -- A bird traveling
σε μακ?ινό νησί. -- To a far away island.

Είχα τα δυό σου χείλη, -- I had your two lips,
κ?υφό τη ν?χτα αστέ?ι, -- secret star of the night, <<--- ???
μα το δικό μου αστέ?ι -- by my own star
μην παί?νεις απ' εδώ. -- don't take it from here.
Σου χά?ισα κοχ?λι -- I gave you a sea shell,
να το κ?ατάς στο χέ?ι, -- for you to hold in hand
ώς τ' άλλο καλοκαί?ι -- until another summer
που θα σε ξαναϊδώ. -- when I will see you again.

(*)

I'm not quite sure about my translation, especially about the refrain. And I regarded τη ν?χτα as the archaic dative of possession, with no confidence.

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Post by IreneY » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:48 am

Very, very impressive I must say! Very few mistakes.

a) καντήλι. I wouldn't translate it as "latern". "Oil lamp" maybe? These are some images of "kandili(a)".

b) The "γιατί" in the refrain is "why" and the whole verse is a question. I think.

c) και δε μιλάς κι εσ? = and you don't talk either

d) πουλί ταξιδεμένο = no article; "well traveled bird". She's actually talking to this "bird"

e) μα το δικό μου αστέ?ι = but ....

f) ώς τ' άλλο καλοκαί?ι = until next summer

As for your question, "κ?υφό τη ν?χτα αστέ?ι", verbatim it's "star hidden at night", but it doesn't make much sense unless the poet who wrote the lyrics refers to the sun. As for the meaning of the whole thing, well, you got me there. It's poetry after all (turn into song).
In general, it's genitive that has "assumed" most of the functions of the dative.


Exceptionally good as I said, especially since I don't know how much ancient Greek can help in this case!

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Post by mingshey » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:35 am

Great thanks, Irene! :-)

Could you explain to me why she would light the oil lamp while she puts off the candle? This was another mystery to me. By the picture of the kandilia I guess the kandili is not used for lighting up the room? Is it an object to burn something like incense?

Thanks in advance!

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Post by IreneY » Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:46 am

For ambiance? :lol:

Seriously, I have no idea. In a kandili, as far as I know, it's oil you burn but it's a sort of votive lamp thing burning in front of the icons in a church (or a house). People actually light votive candles so the idea of actually blowing one off while lighting the kandili (which should be lighted at all times) is as weird to me as to you.
Gatsos (the poet) is noted for beautiful imagery but it is often that I cannot make much actual sense of his poems/lyrics.
Oh well!

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Post by ThomasGR » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:00 am

κ?υφό τη ν?χτα αστέ?ι

my secret guiding star through the night

It comes form sea sailing, where sailors used a star, most often it was the polar star, as a point of reference.

Γιατί είσαι λυπημένο

This is both a question, and a statement. Γιατί can be translated both as "Why" and "Because, For". The meaning is somewhere in-between.

Θ' ανάψω το καντήλι -- I will lit up the lantern
και το κε?ί θα σβήσω, -- And put off the candle,

She lights the oil lamp and a candle too, waits until the candle is almost burned down, to put it off before the end. It is a precaution, to prevent fire burning. Lighting an oil lamp and candles is an offer to the saints.

μην παί?νεις απ' εδώ

"πά?ε απ' εδώ" Can also be a colloquial expression, meaning "go away".

μα το δικό μου αστέ?ι -- by my own star
μην παί?νεις απ' εδώ. -- don't take it from here.

By my (own) star, don't go away.

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Re: [Modern Greek] The Siren's Song

Post by Swth\r » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:04 am



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Post by mingshey » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:08 am

Thanks to all of you!
Not having the grammar at hand I wasn't sure of τη. I dropped by the library a couple of hours ago and checked that it was in accusative. :D

Με τ' άσπ?ο μου μαντήλι --With my white handkerchief
θα σ' αποχαι?ετήσω -- I'll bid farewell to you
και για να μο? '?θεις πίσω -- And for you to come back to me
στην εκκλησιά θα μπω. -- I will enter the church.
Θ' ανάψω το καντήλι -- I will light the oil lamp
και το κε?ί θα σβήσω, -- And put off the candle,
τα μάτια μου θα κλείσω -- I will close my eyes
και θα σ' ονει?ευτώ. -- And will dream of you.

(*refrain)
Γιατί είσαι λυπημένο, -- For you are sad(or Why are you sad),
και δε μιλάς κι εσ?, -- And you don't talk either,
πουλί ταξιδεμένο -- Well-traveled bird
σε μακ?ινό νησί. -- To a far away island.(or ?)

Είχα τα δυό σου χείλη, -- I had your two lips,
κ?υφό τη ν?χτα αστέ?ι, -- secret (guiding) star in(or "through") the night,
μα το δικό μου αστέ?ι -- but my own star
μην παί?νεις απ' εδώ. -- don't go away.
Σου χά?ισα κοχ?λι -- I gave you a sea shell,
να το κ?ατάς στο χέ?ι, -- So that you hold it in (your) hand
ώς τ' άλλο καλοκαί?ι -- until the next summer
που θα σε ξαναϊδώ. -- when I will see you again.

Who will be her "own" star distinguished from her secret star who may be the one who departed? Got some idea?

I guess, from the sad bird which traveled to a far away island, the one she wished the return of had probably died, that is, her secret guiding star has gone away. And she wishes her own star, her own life to go on? Or are they the same star?

Sorry for bothering you about the interpretation of a poem. 8)

By the way, I borrowed "Βίος και πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζο?μπά" at the library. It should be a great challenge for me to read it. But prose must be straight forward in its meanings. :)

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Post by IreneY » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:19 am

Sorry but it makes no sense to me.
"I had your lips, star hidden during the night", it says. "But don't take from here/don't take away my own star".
The only way I can make sense of it is star #1 (the hidden one) is a person. He/she begs that that person does not take away (metaphorically) his/her own guiding? star.

No problem at all,

The candle thing, I am not sure I agree with Thomas' interpretation.

Zorbas and Kazandzakis in general are quite challenging if you ask me since he really likes colloquialisms and idioms! I have a friend who decided to read it though when more or less at your level of Greek and although he did encountered some difficulties, he just loved it. Good luck and remember that we are always here to help (and if we are told off here meet us elsewhere :D )

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Post by mingshey » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:29 am

IreneY wrote:Sorry but it makes no sense to me.
"I had your lips, star hidden during the night", it says. "But don't take from here/don't take away my own star".
The only way I can make sense of it is star #1 (the hidden one) is a person. He/she begs that that person does not take away (metaphorically) his/her own guiding? star.
Hmm, if the star hidden at night means (superficially) the sun, the two lips must be the half suns, one at its rise and another at its set? :)
Last edited by mingshey on Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Modern Greek] The Siren's Song

Post by Swth\r » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:03 am



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Post by ThomasGR » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:16 am

Είχα τα δυό σου χείλη, -- I had your two lips,
κ?υφό τη ν?χτα αστέ?ι, -- secret (guiding) star in(or "through") the night,
μα το δικό μου αστέ?ι -- but my own star
μην παί?νεις απ' εδώ. -- don't go away.

This is the beauty of poetry, that's to say, one is carried away by the words to dreamed lands. Every person understands different things, words don't have a precise meaning at all.

As I understand this abstract, her lover ("the two lips") is her guiding star through the angst and the heartthrobs of the night, and this star shall not fade away (at the morning dawn), not for any other reason, but just because it belongs to her and it is her secret star. (But than again, all my interpretation could be quite wrong and misleading.)

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Post by Swth\r » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:17 am

Another thought about the stars just came in my mind...

She imagines in the night sky his lips as a star, and he is doing the same in a far away island: he imagines her own lips as another star... So she begs him not to stop doing the same thing, because a kiss could not be possible this way, not even imaginary.

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Post by Swth\r » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:23 am



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Post by ThomasGR » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:49 am

μα <B>εσ?</B> μην παί?νεις απ' εδώ.
μα <B>αυτό</B> μην <B>το</B> παί?νεις απ' εδώ.

I have my doubts. "μην το παί?νεις απ' εδώ" can be translated as "don't take it away", but since "το" is missing, the meaning can also be "don't go away".

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Post by mingshey » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:14 am



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Post by Swth\r » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:30 am



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Post by Swth\r » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:40 am



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Post by modus.irrealis » Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:57 pm

I tried to listen to the song and the version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb2lOMUmTYs has

Είχα τα δυό σου χείλη,
παντοτινό μου ταί?ι,
μα της κα?διάς τ' αστέ?ι
μην παί?νεις από 'δώ.

instead of

Είχα τα δυό σου χείλη,
κ?υφό τη ν?χτα αστέ?ι,
μα το δικό μου αστέ?ι
μην παί?νεις απ' εδώ

I don't know if one's more correct than the other. By more correct, I mean closer to the original.

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Post by mingshey » Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:23 am

Thanks for another version of the song, modus.irrealis!
Actually the lyric was from a website I don't remember where, and just now I listened to Nana Mouskouri's singing carefully.
And she sang

krifo tiz nihtasteri

instead of

krifo ti nihta asteri.

So I searched for another lyric and it read

krifo tis nihtas teri.

It seems to be

κ?υφο της νυχτας ται?ι -- secret companion of the night (vocative?),

less poetic but more concrete wordings.

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Post by Swth\r » Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:14 am



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Post by mingshey » Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:23 pm

Είχα τα δυό σου χείλη, -- I had(regarded) your two lips,
κ?υφό της ν?χτας ταί?ι, -- (as) secret partner of the night

Some sites(ex. http://kafedaki.blogspot.com/2007/11/blog-post_14.html ; see number 61) have a comma after the first line of this, some(ex. http://www.mouskouri.de/metaspromou.htm) don't. The comma would break up the meaning and affect the interpretation, I think. Without it, it would mean what our good friend Swth\r suggests.

Okay, combining all your comments and new finds, I have this now(according to the Nana Mouskouri version, from her album "Songs Of My Land"):

Με τ' άσπ?ο μου μαντήλι --With my white handkerchief
θα σ' αποχαι?ετήσω -- I'll bid farewell to you
και για να μο? '?θεις πίσω -- And for you to come back to me
στην εκκλησιά θα μπω. -- I will enter the church.
Θ' ανάψω το καντήλι -- I will light up the oil lamp(or rather kandili)
και το κε?ί θα σβήσω, -- And put off the candle,
τα μάτια μου θα κλείσω -- I will close my eyes
και θα σ' ονει?ευτώ. -- And I will dream of you.

(*refrain)
Γιατί είσαι λυπημένο, -- For you are sad,(Why are you sad,)
και δε μιλάς κι εσ?, -- And you don't talk either(and why don't you talk either,)
πουλί ταξιδεμένο -- Well-traveled bird
σε μακ?ινό νησί. -- To a far away island.(? or !)

Είχα τα δυό σου χείλη, -- I had(regarded) your two lips,
κ?υφό της ν?χτας ταί?ι, -- (as) secret partner of the night,
μα το δικό μου αστέ?ι -- but my own star
μην παί?νεις απ' εδώ. -- don't take from here.
Σου χά?ισα κοχ?λι -- I gave you a sea shell,
να το κ?ατάς στο χέ?ι, -- for you to hold in (your) hand,
ώς τ' άλλο καλοκαί?ι -- until the next summer
που θα σε ξαναϊδώ. -- when I will see you again.

(*)

Can I teach this to my CA students? 8)

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