Annie Ebrel - Ar sorserez (English translation)

Breton (Brezhoneg)

Ar sorserez

[e brezhoneg / en breton:]
Lâret din-me, Marianig, lâret ar wirionez
Gant piv ho peus desket ober an traoù fall-se ?
Gant tri c’hloareg yaouank ‘n ti ma mamm ha ma zad
O deus desket din an droug kentoc’h evit ar vad
O deus desket din an droug kentoc’h evit ar vad
Hag a gase ‘c’han’ bemnoz da selaou ar Sabat
Hag a gase ‘c’han bemnoz e-lec’h ma oa o soñj
E-lec’h ne gleven netra nemet sorserezhoù
Re-se ‘noa ma lakaet da zerc’hel ar gouloù
Nag e-pad an amzer ‘oant ‘ober o louzoù
 
[e galleg / en français:]
Dites-moi Marianne, dites-moi en vérité
Qui vous a appris à faire ces mauvaises choses?
Ces sont trois jeunes clercs dans la maison de mes parents
Qui m’ont appris le mal plutôt que le bien
Qui m’ont appris le mal plutôt que le bien
Et m’emmenaient chaque nuit écouter le Sabbat
Ils m’emmenaient chaque nuit où ils voulaient
Là où je n’entendais que des sorcelleries
Ils m’avaient mise là à tenir les lumières
Pendant tous le temps qu’ils faisaient leurs philtres
 
[e brezhoneg / en breton:]
Lâret din-me, Marianig, lâret ar wirionez
Gant petra e vez graet al louzaouenn-se ?
Gant kostez kleiz un touseg ha gant ur beg mal-bran,
Gant gwriziennoù radenn glas dastumet ‘raok Gouel Yann
An had demeus ar radenn da Ouel Yann deus an noz
Me am oa he dastumet war taol an hanternoz
Me ‘m eus ur c’houfrig balan er gêr e ti ma zad
Ha ‘n hini en digorey ‘no brasañ kalonad
Ennañ ‘zo lapousigoù hag a zo maget mat
Nan eo ket gant kig konifl, kennbeut gant kig gad
Nan eo ket gant boued ar razhed e vagan ar re-se
Nemet gant boued roayal, gwad an inosanted
Hag a zo bet deut ganin da goring ar porched
‘Hont da vezañ bade’et gant ur beleg gwisket
 
[e galleg / en français:]
Dites-moi Marianne, dites-moi en vérité
Ces philtres, de quoi sont-ils faits ?
Du flanc gauche d’un crapaud et du bec d’un corbeau mâle
De racines de fougère verte ramassées avant le Saint Jean
De la graine de fougère ramassée la nuit de la Saint Jean
Que j’ai ramassée quand sonnait la minuit
J’ai un petit coffre d’ajonc à la maison chez mon père
Celui qui l’ouvrira aura le cœur brisé
Dedans il y a des oiseaux, qui sont bien nourris
Et pas avec de la chair de lapin, ni de la chair de lièvre
Je ne les nourris pas avec de la chair de rat
Mais avec du sang royal, du sang des nouveaux-nés
Que j’ai emporté dans un recoin du porche
Alors qu’ils allaient être baptisés par un prêtre en habit
 
[e brezhoneg / en breton:]
Pa oan aet da Bariz ‘vit desko ar galleg
O me na oaren netra nemet ma chapeled
Met bremañ ec’h on desket, gout ‘ran skrivo ha lenn
Ha harzo ‘r beleg da lâret e overenn
Ha harzo ‘r beleg da lâret e overenn-bred
Ha konsakriñ an osti ma vez din permetet
Me ‘m eus ur bernig keuneud e gêr, e penn ma zi
Lakan ma c’houfrig balan en e greiz da leskiñ
Be’añ ‘ra ‘barzh teir aer viper o c’horiñ ur serpant
Hag ‘intano ar bed-mañ perpetuelamant
Hag ‘intano ar bed-mañ perpetuelament
Kredit ‘ta, kristenien, ‘traoù-se ‘zo ‘n dra estlamm
 
[e galleg / en français:]
Quand je suis allée à Paris pour apprendre le français
Où je ne savais rien à part mon chapelet
Maintenant je suis lettrée, je sais écrire et lire
Et empêcher le prêtre de dire la messe
Et empêcher le prêtre de dire la grand’ messe
Et consacrer l’hostie si cela m'est permis
J’ai un petit tas de bûches au bout de ma maison
J’y place le coffret d’ajonc à brûler, au milieu
Il y a dedans trois vipères qui couvent un dragon
Elles enflammeront ce monde-ci pour toute l’éternité
Elles enflammeront ce monde-ci pour toute l’éternité
Croyez-moi, chrétien, c’est une chose effrayante
 
[e brezhoneg / en breton:]
Ma ‘me bet c’hoazh da vevo ur bleiadig pe daou
Ma lakehe Breizh-Izel da droeiñ war e genoù
Ma ‘e bet c’hoazh da vevo daou vleiadig pe tri
Me gargehe ar bed-mañ o nag a loustoni
Ma ‘me bet c’hoazh da vevo tri bleiadig pe pe’ar
Me lakehe an dud-mañ da vont e dezesper
Ma ‘me bet c’hoazh da vevo pe’ar bleiadig pe pemp
Me lakehe ar vein da faouto war ma hent
Ma lakehe entanaat kerc’h, segal, gwinizh du
Evel an aour melen o tiwan el ludu
 
[e galleg / en français:]
Si je pouvais vivre encore un an ou deux
Je mettrais la Basse-Bretagne le cul par dessus tête
Si je pouvais vivre encore deux ans ou trois
Je remplirais ce monde d’ordure
Si je pouvais vivre encore trois ou quatre ans
Je pousserais les gens au désespoir
Si je pouvais vivre encore quatre ou cinq ans
Je ferais se fendre les pierres sur mon chemin
Je ferais brûler l’avoine, le seigle, le sarrasin
En regardant l’or jaune croître au milieu des cendres
 
[e brezhoneg / en breton:]
O nag aze ‘ta, plac’hig, na trawalc’h ho peus graet
Kar seizh lev en-dro deoc’h ne diwan greunenn ed
Kar seizh lev en-dro deoc’h ne diwan greunenn ed
Ha bugel bihan ganet a zo bet bade’et
 
[e galleg / en français:]
Oh non, jeune fille, vous en avez fait assez
À sept lieues à la ronde ne pousse pas un grain de blé
À sept lieues à la ronde ne pousse pas un grain de blé
Et pas un seul enfant n’a été pas baptisés
 
Prenez garde, jeune fille, prenez garde à votre âme
Car si ce monde-ci est à vous, l’autre monde est à Dieu
 
[e brezhoneg / en breton:]
Diwall ‘ta plac’hig yaouank, diwal dag ho ene
Kar marc’h eo ar bed-mañ deoc’h an all ‘zo da Zoue
 
Submitted by tdwarms on Fri, 03/11/2017 - 01:30
Last edited by tdwarms on Sat, 04/11/2017 - 21:25
Align paragraphs
English translation

The Witch

[in Breton:]
Tell me Marianne, tell me truly
Who taught you to do these evil works?
These three young clerics in the house of my mother and my father
They taught me wickedness instead of good
They taught me wickedness instead of good
They sent me every night to listen to the Sabbat1
They sent me every night to wherever they wanted
To where I heard nothing but witchcraft
They charged me with holding the light
During the entire time that they made potions
 
[in French:]
Tell me, Marianne, tell me truly
Who taught you to do these wicked things?
These three young clerics in the house of my parents
Who taught me evil instead of good
Who taught me evil instead of good
They took me each night to listen to the Sabbat
They took me each night wherever they wanted
There where I heard nothing but witchcraft
They put me there to hold the light
During the time that they made their potions
 
[in Breton:]
Tell me Marianne, tell me truly
With what were those concoctions made?
With the left side of a toad and the beak of a he-crow
With the roots of green fern picked before Saint John’s Day2
With the seed of fern picked on Saint John’s Eve
I gathered it at the sound of midnight
I have a wicker chest3 in the house of my father
Whoever opens it will have a broken heart
Inside I have little birds that are well fed
Not with the flesh of rabbits, nor the flesh of hares
They are not fed with the food of rats
But with a royal meal: the blood of innocents
And I went to a dark corner of the porch4
While they went to be baptised by a priest in vestments
 
[in French:]
Tell me Marianne, tell me truly
These potions, of what are they made?
Of the left side of a toad and the beak of a he-crow
Of roots of green fern gathered before St. John’s Day
Of the seed of fern gathered St. John’s Eve
That I gathered when midnight chimed
I have a little chest of silver at the house of my father
Whoever opens it will have a broken heart
Inside there are birds that are well fed
And not with the flesh of rabbits, nor the flesh of hares
I don't feed them with the flesh of rats
But with royal blood: the blood of newborns
That I took in a dark corner of the porch
While they went to be baptised by a priest in habit
 
[in Breton:]
When I went to Paris to learn French
Of which I didn't know any apart from my rosary
But now I am learnèd, I can write and read
And stop the priest from saying Mass
And stop the priest from saying the High Mass
And from consecrating the host if they let me
I have a small pile of wood at home, at the front of my house
I put my wicker chest in the middle to burn
There are inside three air vipers hatching a dragon
They will raze this world forever
They will raze this world forever
Believe me, Christian, it will be a terrifying thing
 
[in French:]
When I went to Paris to learn French
Of which I didn’t know any apart from my rosary
Now I’m lettered enough that I can write and read
And stop the priest from saying Mass
And stop the priest from saying High Mass
And from consecrating the host if they let me
I have a little pile of wood at the end of my house
I place the little wicker5 chest to burn there, in the midst
There are three vipers inside that are hatching a dragon
They will burn this world for all eternity
They will burn this world for all eternity
Believe my, Christian, it’s a terrifying thing
 
[in Breton:]
If I could live another year or two
I would deal Lower Brittany such a dizzying blow 6
If I could live another two years or three
I would cover this world with filth
If I could live another three years or four
I would drive these people to despair
If I could live another four years or five
I would make the stones in my path split
I would cause to burn the oats, the rye, the buckwheat
While the yellow gold blossoms in the ashes
 
[in French:]
If I could live another year or two
I would knock Lower Brittany on her ass
If I could live another two years or three
I would fill this world with filth
If I could live another three or four years
I would push people to despair
If I could live another four or five years
I would make the stones split in my path
I would burn the oats, the rye, the buckwheat
While watching the yellow gold grow in the middle of the ashes
 
[in Breton:]
Oh no, young girl, you have done enough
Within seven leagues, not a grain of wheat will sprout
Within seven leagues, not a grain of wheat will sprout
And not a single little child has been baptised
 
[in French:]
Oh no, young girl, you have done enough
Within seven leagues, not a single grain of wheat will sprout
Within seven leagues, not a single grain of wheat will sprout
And not a single child has been baptised
 
Beware, young girl, beware for your soul
Because if this world belongs to you, the other belongs to God
 
[in Breton:]
Beware, young girl, beware for your soul
Because if this world is yours, the other is God’s
 
  • 1. the Witches’ Sabbat
  • 2. Midsummer
  • 3. literally, a chest made of broomstraw
  • 4. of a church
  • 5. lit.gorze
  • 6. lit. spin to the lips
Submitted by tdwarms on Fri, 03/11/2017 - 01:32
Last edited by tdwarms on Sun, 05/11/2017 - 02:00
Author's comments:

Many thanks to user petit_élève for correcting transcription errors and making me aware of problems with my translation!

Idioms from "Ar sorserez"
See also
Comments
petit élève    Fri, 03/11/2017 - 02:19

André Markowicz is one of the finest living French literary translators.
He re-translated many 19th century Russian authors, notably the complete Dostoievsky, also many Tchekov and Shakespeare plays.
I had no idea he was also interested in Celtic languages, but there is no doubt his translation will be extremely faithful to the Breton.

I fixed small transcription errors, nothing that would require a rewriting, except maybe "trois vipères couvant *un* dragon"

Je ne les nourris pas avec de la chair de rat -> you skipped this rather gruesome line Wink smile

When I to Paris to learn French -> went ?

Où je ne savais rien -> "où" would refer to the language, like "a domain (of knowledge)" : "of which I knew nothing but...".
But maybe the English "where" works the same?

coffret d’argent -> the French says "d'ajonc" (gorze, close to wicker)

le coup par dessus leurs têtes -> le cul par dessus la tête
"turn Lower Brittany upside down", though the French is as colourful as "knock Lower Brittany on her ass" Regular smile

À cette fueur, le monde -> à sept lieues à la ronde (in a seven leagues radius)

tdwarms    Fri, 03/11/2017 - 02:19

You are my hero! I was going Crazy trying to figure out how they went from "balan" to "argent!"

I had no idea about André Markowicz either, to be honest, so that was very interesting to learn.

All of your other suggestions are correct, of course. Give me one moment to fix things here... Wink smile

tdwarms    Fri, 03/11/2017 - 02:23

The Breton tripped my French up too, because "seizh" can mean "seven" or "anger." Should have gone with my gut. Wink smile

Metodius    Sun, 12/11/2017 - 18:51

What a beautiful song. Thank you for translating it. Regular smile

tdwarms    Sun, 12/11/2017 - 21:16

My pleasure. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Regular smile