Jan 022013
 

Should the World to Come ever, y’know, come, the children of Israel and the righteous among the nations will be able to find me in a corner somewhere, drinking and talking smack with the Franceses.

Immanuel Frances (1618? – 1710?)
Epitaphs

For a Hunchback:
Fortune! Was it not enough that I carried
A hump while alive, before I was buried?
For after my death, like a foe you attack —
By setting this stone on top of my back!

For a Beautiful Girl:
A maiden more fair than all other girls were
Is now sleeping here, but you never would find
Among all her lovers, a man now inclined
To sleep with or even to be with her.

For a Wife:
Not as a memorial, but as a weight
These stones I have placed on the grave of my spouse
Lest after her death, God forbid, my late mate
Should rise from her tomb and return to my house.

For a Dwarf:
Here lies a dwarf of a man; on his behalf
Was placed on his tombstone this grave epitaph
As soon as they buried him, I can affirm
He was swallowed up whole by one single worm.

For a Doctor:
Reader, give thanks to the Rock, your creator
That to this doctor you saw no admission
You wouldn’t be reading these words, now or later
If while he lived, he had been your physician.

For a Fat Woman:
Here lies a woman with enough fat to sate
The worms have quit eating her flesh, they’re so flustered
Therefore, so they don’t puke up all that they ate
Please put beside her a small bowl of mustard.

For a Man with a Big Nose:
Why’d they put up this grave for a man who was found
Among all living men to be slowest to wrath?1
For he’d have a tombstone that was bigger by half
If they’d left his nose sticking out of the ground.

For an Angry Fool:
Here lies a man quick to anger, lacking all sense
If you should pass by, keep a bowshot away2
Lest in all his great fury, he’d be so incensed
That with this stone he would bash in your head today.

עמנואל פראנשיס
ציוני קבר

 
לגבן
לֹא דַי לְךָ מַזָּל אֲשֶׁר הָיִיתִי
נוֹשֵׂא חֲטוֹטָרָה בְּעוֹד חָיִיתִי
כּי אַחֲרֵי מוֹתִי לְאוֹיֵב קַמְתָּ
עָלַי וְאֶבֶן זֹאת בְּגַבִּי שַׂמְתָּ.
 
לנערה יפה
עַלְמָה יָפָה מִכָּל־עַלְמָה
תִּשְׁכַּב פֹּה אַךְ לֹא יִמָּצֵא
מִדּוֹדֶיהָ אִישׁ שֶׁיִּרְצֶה
לִשְׁכַּב אֶצְלָהּ לִהְיוֹת עִמָּה.
 
לאשה
גַּל זֶה לְמַשָּׂא לֹא לְמַצֵּבָה
שַׂמְתִּי לְאִשְׁתִּי עַל קְבוּרָתָהּ
פֶּן חָס וְשָׁלוֹם אַחֲרֵי מוֹתָהּ
תָּקוּם וְאֶל בֵּיתִי תְּהִי שָׁבָה.
 
לננס
צִיוּן זֶה אֶל־אָדָם נַנָּס
בָּזֶה הוּבָא לִקְבוּרָתוֹ
וּבְבַת אַחַת עֵת פֹּה נִכְנַס
תּוֹלָע אֶחָד בָּלַע אוֹתוֹ.
 
לרופא
תֵּן הוֹדָאָה קוֹרֵא לַצּוּר בּוֹרְאֶךָ
שֶׁלִּידֵי רוֹפֵא זֶה מֵאָז לֹא בָאתָ
כִּי כָעֵת צִיּוּנִי זֶה לֹא קָרָאתָ
אִם עַד־שֶׁחָיָה הָיָה הוּא רוֹפְאֶךָ.
 
לאשה שמנה
אִשָּׁה שְׁמֵנָה פֹּה וְהַתּוֹלָע
כִּמְעַט בְּשָׂרָה מֵאֱכֹל חָדַל
לָכֵן לְבַל־יָקִיא אֲשֶׁר בָּלַע
שִׂימוּ בְצִדָּהּ קַעֲרַת חַרְדָּל.
 
לבעל חוטם גדול
לָמָּה צִיּוּן הַלָּז בָּנוּ עַל־גֶּבֶר
מִכָּל־אַנְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹ אֶרֶךְ אַפָּיִם
כִּי הָיָה לוֹ צִיּוּן גָּדוֹל כִּפְלָיִם
אִלּוּ נִשְׁאַר חָטְמוֹ מִחוּץ לַקֶּבֶר.
 
לאיש כסיל ורגזן
פֹּה אִישׁ חֲסַר דֵּעָה וּמִתְעַבֵּר
כִּמְטַחֲוֵי קֶשֶׁת רְחַק עוֹבֵר
פֶּן בַּחֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ בְּאֶבֶן זֹאת
אֶת רֹאשְׁךָ הַיּוֹם יְהִי שׁוֹבֵר.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Le-gibéin:
Lo dai lekhá mazál ‘ashér hayíti
Noséi ḥatotaráh be-ʕód ḥayíti?
Ki aḥaréi motí le-‘oyéiv kámta
ʕalái ve-‘éven zot be-gabí sámta.

Le-naʕaráh yafáh:
ʕalmáh yafáh mi-kól ʕalmáh
Tishkáv po ‘akh lo yimatzéi
Mi-dodéiha ‘ish she-yirtzéh
Lishkáv ‘etzláh liheyót ʕimáh.

Le-‘isháh:
Gal zeh le-masá lo le-matzeiváh
Sámti le-‘ishtí ʕal kevuratáh
Pen ḥas ve-shalóm ‘aḥaréi motáh
Takúm ve-‘él beití tehí shaváh.

Le-nanás:
Tziyún zeh ‘el ‘adám nanás
Ba-zéh huvá li-kevurató
U-ve-vát ‘aḥát ʕeit poh nikhnás
Toláʕ ‘eḥád baláʕ ‘otó.

Le-roféi:
Tein hoda’áh koréi la-tzúr bor’ékha
She-lidéi roféi zeh mei’áz lo váta
Ki kha-ʕéit tziyuní zeh lo karáta
‘Im ʕad she-ḥayáh hayáh hu rof’ékha.

Le-‘isháh shemeináh:
‘Isháh shemeináh po ve-ha-toláʕ
Kimʕát besaráh mei-‘ekhól ḥadál
Lakhéin le-vál yakí ‘ashér baláʕ
Símu ve-tzidáh kaʕarát ḥardál.

Le-váʕal ḥótem gadól:
Lámah tziyún ha-láz banú ʕal géver
Mi-kól ‘anshéi doró ‘érekh ‘apáyim?
Ki hayáh lo tziyún gadól kifláyim
‘Ílu nish’ár ḥotmó mi-ḥútz la-kéver.

Le-‘ísh kesíl ve-ragzán:
Po ‘ish ḥasár deiʕáh u-mitʕabéir
Ki-metaḥavéi késhet reḥák ʕovéir
Pen ba-ḥarón ‘apó be-‘éven zot
‘Et roshkhá ha-yóm yehí shovéir.

  1. This pun doesn’t work in English, but it’s funny in Hebrew. The epithet ‘erekh ‘apayim, frequently used in prayer as one of the divine attributes, means “slow to wrath,” but can also be understood as “long of nose.”
  2. Genesis 21:16

  One Response to “Immanuel Frances, “Tziyunei Kever””

  1. […] Segal (2001) p. 562.  The excellent Soul and Gone provides anti-medical satire in Hebrew poetry from Hillel ben Shmuel (first half of the 13th century – 1295?), Yaakov Frances (1615 – 1667), and Immanuel Frances (1618? – 1710?). […]

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