Un matto (dietro ogni scemo c’è un villaggio) (English translation)

  • Artist: Fabrizio De André
  • Song: Un matto (dietro ogni scemo c’è un villaggio) 8 translations
  • Translations: English #1, #2, #3, #4, French, Japanese, Polish, Spanish

A Madman (Behind Every Idiot There Is A Village)

Versions: #1#2#3#4
What if you had a world in your heart
and you weren’t able to express it with words,
and the daylight was splitting
between a laughing village and you – the idiot who passes by,
and not even the night left you alone:
the others would dream about themselves and you would dream about them.
And yes, you too would go looking
for the foolproof words to make them listen to you:
to astonish for half an hour, all you need is a history book;
I tried to learn the Encyclopedia Britannica by heart;1
and after ‹macebearer›, ‹machinery›, ‹made-up›,
they carried on until they read me ‹madman›.
And without knowing whom I owed my life to,
I gave it back in a madhouse;
here on the hill I’m sleeping unwillingly,
yet there is light in my thoughts now;
here in the dim light I invent words now,
but I regret one light, the sunlight.
My bones still give to life,
they give it blooming grass.
But life has remained in the muffled voices
of those who lost the idiot and are crying for him on the hill,
of those who still whisper with the same irony
‟A merciful death took him away from madness”.
  • 1. Treccani is the most famous Italian encyclopedia (here is their very good online dictionary), so De André used it as a translation for the less well known (in Italy) Encyclopædia Britannica.
    The song literally says
    and after ‹pig›, ‹Majakóvskij›, ‹misshapen›,
    following an alphabetical order take makes sense only in Italian.
    Majakóvskij was a Russian poet.
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 - 08:10
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.
Someone who is different (here, someone with mental problems) is marginalized and mocked, with no consideration for his feelings. He desperately tries to be like the others, but that just causes more laughing at him. People even think that his life is worthless like that, and that death is desirable, while the madman likes to live even more than the others.
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Un matto (dietro ogni scemo c’è un villaggio)

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