La collina (English translation)

  • Artist: Fabrizio De André
  • Song: La collina 7 translations
  • Translations: English #1, #2, #3, #4, French, German, Portuguese

1. The Hill

Versions: #1#2#3#4
Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all are sleeping on the hill.
One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine,
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in a jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,
The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?—
All, all are sleeping on the hill.
One died in shameful child-birth,
One of a thwarted love,
One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,
One of a broken pride, in the search for heart’s desire;
One after life in far-away London and Paris
Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily,
And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,
And Major Walker who had talked
With venerable men of the revolution?—
All, all are sleeping on the hill.
They brought them dead sons from the war,
And daughters whom life had crushed,
And their children fatherless, crying—
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where is Old Fiddler Jones
Who played with life all his ninety years,
Braving the sleet with bared breast,
Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,
Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary’s Grove,
Of what Abe Lincoln said
One time at Springfield.
You can use my translations however you like.
“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
Submitted by Stefano8Stefano8 on Mon, 25/12/2017 - 08:08
Author's comments:

Non al denaro non all’amore né al cielo {Neither to money, nor to love, nor to heaven} is a concept album that was inspired by Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology.
The book is a collection of poems, each one serving as an epitaph on the grave of a dead person. Masters took inspiration from the graveyard of his own town and the stories of the people there. Many characters could be recognized in his poems, and his fellow townsmen weren’t always very happy about it. The stories told by the epitaphs sometimes cross into one another, and they narrate stories of life, death, social problems, emargination, abuse, relentlessly depicting the (good and) bad of that early 1900s American life, which is, after all, not that different from today’s.
De André took some of the poems and turned them to music, usually elaborating a bit more on the subject of each of them. Throughout the album, there is the attention – typical of De André – towards the outcasts and the less “respectable” figures, without ever being judgmental, just narrating them and trying to understand them.
De André came to know Spoon River Anthology thanks to the Italian translation by Fernanda Pivano.
You can find Spoon River Anthology on Project Gutemberg.
The poem The Hill is also the introduction of the book.
All the dead people of the village are now together, buried on the hill, no matter how disparate their lives and their fates were. In the following songs, they are going to tell about their lives.
Next: 28. Frank Drummer

Translation source:

La collina