La città vecchia (English translation)

  • Artist: Fabrizio De André
  • Song: La città vecchia 6 translations
  • Translations: Croatian, English #1, #2, French, Greek, Russian

The Old Town

Versions: #1#2
In the streets on which the sun the good Lord made refuses to shine –
keeping people warm in other parts of town takes up all his time –
a young girl sings the song that whores have used so long to broadcast their charms:
what you still don’t know is something I can show you only here between my arms.
And if, with her young years, her competence is clearly open to question
a little practice will give her all the skill she needs for perfection.
Ah by Juno how it used to be so different in days of yore
when a person had to have a real vocation just to be a simple whore.
One leg over here, one leg over there, bloated with wine
four retired old boys (and one and all half-poisoned), passing the time.
And come rain or shine, this is where you’ll find them, always together
Bibulously guzzling, fouly imprecating women, government and weather.
They’re just searching for a little happiness, inside a glass
in order to forget the many times that they’ve been kicked in the ass
Some small joy there’ll be, in their agony, with wine on their lips
and across their face a little smile will race, as they all cash in their chips.
Elderly professor, in that darkened hallway, who comes to meet you?
Could it be the only one who still has got something to teach you?
The one of whom, by day, with great contempt you say that she’s a wife-at-large;
the same one who by night, adjusts to your delights the prices that she’s going to charge.
As you close the door, you’ll feel you need some more if you’re to get your fill,
putting off until the last day of the month paying the bill.
And when you cash your pension check you’ll find there’s nothing left to enjoy.
You pay 10,000 lire just so you can hear her tell you you’re a naughty boy.
Down towards the port, where the air is fraught with smells of decay
thieves of every kind and murderers you’ll find, come night or day.
And if you can brave the narrow alleyways along the old wharf
you’ll see the crazy guy who, for three thousand lire, sold his mother to a dwarf.
An upright citizen’s opinion of such men is bound to be harsh:
You’ll probably think that they should all be locked away to die behind bars.
But if you look at them from top to bottom then you’ll certainly see
if they’re not pure inside, they’re still their mothers' pride; they’re victims of society.
Submitted by Juha RämöJuha Rämö on Wed, 08/03/2017 - 22:39
Last edited by HampsicoraHampsicora on Thu, 09/03/2017 - 17:35
Author's comments:

English translation by Simon Evnine


La città vecchia

More translations of "La città vecchia"
English Lady_A
English Juha Rämö
Idioms from "La città vecchia"
See also