Dec 142012
 

One day someone will appreciate my wistful compilation of amateur translations of Yehuda ha-Levi’s love poetry. Probably as some sort of a scared straight cautionary tale for wayward youth. “Children, this is what happens if you have a hidden yen for romantic poetry in obscure languages.”

Yehuda ha-Levi (1075? – 1141?)
Graceful Gazelle, With Your Glory

Graceful gazelle, with your glory you captured me
And made me a slave toiling in your captivity
And since the day of our parting divided we two
I find no one at all to compare to your beauty
Crimson apples sustain me, their fragrance recalls
The myrrh of your breath and your lips, sweet and balmy
They’ve the shape of your breasts, yet they also appear
Like your cheeks, the shade of a ruby.

יהודה הלוי / يهوذا اللاوي
צבית חן שביתני בצביך

 
צְבִיַּת חֵן שְׁבִיתִנִי בְּצִבְיֵךְ
בְּפֶרֶךְ הֶעֱבַדְתִּנִי בְּשִׁבְיֵךְ
וּמִיּוֹם הַנְּדֹד בָּא בֵין שְׁנֵינוּ
דְּמוּת לֹא אֶמְצְאָה נִמְשָׁל לְיָפְיֵךְ
וְאֶסָּעֵד בְּתַפּוּחַ אֲדַמּדָּם
אֲשֶׁר רֵיחוֹ כְּמֹר אַפֵּךְ וְעֶדְיֵךְ
וְתַבְנִיתוֹ כְשָׁדַיִךְ וְעֵינוֹ
כְּעֵין אֹדֶם אֲשֶׁר נִרְאָה בְלֶחְיֵךְ.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Tzeviyát ḥein shevitíni be-tzivyéikh
Be-férekh heʕevadtíni be-shivyéikh
U-mi-yóm ha-nedód ba vein shenéinu
Demút lo ’emtza’áh nimshál le-yofyéikh
Ve-‘esaʕéid be-tapúaḥ ‘adamdám
‘Ashér reiḥó ke-mór ‘apéikh ve-ʕedyéikh
Ve-tavnitó khe-shadáyikh ve-ʕeinó
Ke-ʕéin ‘odém ‘ashér nir’áh ve-leḥyéikh.

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