Jul 062013

How many Hebrew sonnets have I translated? What am I doing with my life?

Shabtai Ḥayim Marini (1690 – 1748)
Vainly, O Mountains

Vainly, O mountains, you seethe and you crumble;
Vainly, O heaven’s foundations, you blare, yet
Vainly, you pour hail and rain in your torrent,
Fleeting as smoke, the world empty shall tumble.

Steadfast’s my pillar, which those who are humble,
Pure-hearted, clean-handed, surely will merit,
Vast worlds within they will doubtless inherit;
All those who ask may take hold and ne’er stumble.

Silence, foundations of heaven! Don’t wear your
Praiseworthy mantle, endowed with its savor.
Be filled with shame today, odium and terror.

Foes of injustice, take hold and don’t waver,
Rally while grasping the roots of my succor;
Know you shall ride forth atop heights of favor.

שבתאי חיים מאריני
שווא תרגזו הרים

שָׁוְא תִּרְגְּזוּ הָרִים וְהִתְקַלְקָלוּ
שָׁוְא תִּרְעֲשׁוּ אַדְנֵי שְׁמֵי שָׁמַיִם
שָׁוְא תִּשְׁטְפוּ בָרָד וְזֶרֶם מָיִם
לָרִיק פְּנֵי תֵבֵל כְּעָשָׁן כָּלוּ.
עַמּוּד נְחוּשָׁה לִי וּבוֹ יִנְחָלוּ
כָּל אִישׁ טְהוֹר לֵבָב נְקִי כַפָּיִם
בֹּו יִמְצְאוּ עוֹלָם רְחַב יָדָיִם
בּוֹ יַחֲזִיקוּ כֹל אֲשֶֹר יִשְׁאָלוּ.
דֹּמוּ יְסוֹדֵי רוֹם וְלֹא תִלְבָּשׁוּ
מַעְטֵה תְהִלָּה בַאֲשֶׁר יָאָתָה
הִכָּלְמוּ הַיּוֹם וְהִתְבּוֹשָׁשׁוּ.
הִתְחַזְּקוּ כָּל שֹוֹנְאֵי עַבְלָתָה
עַל מוֹסְדוֹת עֶזְרִי וְהִתְאוֹשָׁשׁוּ
כִּי תִרְכְּבוּ עַל בָּמֳתֵי עֶזְרָתָה.


Shav tirgezú harím ve-hitkalkalú
Shav tirʕashú ‘adnéi sheméi shamáyim
Shav tishtefú varád ve-zérem máyim
La-rík penéi teivéil ke-ʕashán kalú.

ʕamúd neḥusháh li u-vó yinḥalú
Kol ‘ish tehór leiváv nekí khapáyim
Bo yimtze’ú ʕolám reḥáv yadáyim
Bo yaḥazíku khol ‘ashér yish’alú.

Dómu yesodéi rom ve-ló tilbashú
Maʕtéih tehiláh va-‘ashér ya’atáh
Hikalmú ha-yóm ve-hitboshashú.

Hitḥazkí kol son’éi ʕavlatáh
ʕal mosdót ʕezrí ve-hit’oshashú
Ki tirkevú ʕal bamotéi ʕezratáh.

  7 Responses to “Shabtai Ḥayim Marini, “Shav Tirgezu Harim””

  1. Shabbetay Hayyim (Mi)Marini was not born in 1690 simply because in 1685 he already got his medicine degree from the University of Padua and 1686 he received the title of haver from the Paduan rabbinate. One source says that he was born in 1662, another in 1660 (Moise Soave says that Marini died in 1748 at the age of 88), but again no document has proven either date. Meir Benayahu supposed he might have been born between 1660 and 1665 and so far this is the most accurate suggestion we can make about it. No family document related to Shabbetay Hayyim side of the family has been found so far, so we have very few details about him.
    This poem might be a qinah but it has not been found in a printed nor manuscript version with dedication so we do not know for which occasion nor figure was composed for.
    Published by Hayyim Schirmann in his anthology of Jewish Italian Poetry. The Ashkenazi transliteration does not fit the Italian metre….

  2. My God, you must be an absolute blast at parties.

    Perhaps on your planet things are different, but if you want to offer criticism on the Internet without coming off as a total cazzo, you don’t basically say, “Hey asshole, you’re wrong you’re wrong you’re wrong you’re wrong look at all this stuff I know and also you’re wrong.” The way to do it in order to get your point across is to start by saying something nice, like, oh, I don’t know, “Hey, I like your site” or “Hey, I appreciate all this work you’re doing on your own free time to bring an underappreciated school of Hebrew poetry to light” or “Hey, good on you for being the only person in the world translating Italian Hebrew poetry to English.” Then, instead of just launching into the barrage of facts, soften it by saying, “Maybe I have access to some more up-to-date information that you don’t, and according to that, etc.” Then you just come off as an interested person sharing information, not an ass, and your desired corrections get made too! Bonus! Try it some time, you might be surprised how much more smoothly things go for you out here in the wilds of the web.

  3. Here, I’ll even give you an example, in hopes it doesn’t fall on blind eyes. Here we see our friend Noam correcting a mistake of mine. You see how he does it? First he says something nice, then he points out the error in a way that doesn’t make him look like he’s whipping out his knowledge-dick and waving it in everyone’s faces, and then he even says something nice again! What a mensch! And I immediately fix the mistake, and thank him for pointing it out, and everyone leaves happy. He’s in fact called me out on plenty of other things since then, and I am always glad to hear him out, because he’s a nice guy who clearly loves and cares about Hebrew poetry. See how that works? All I get from comments like yours is that you’re serious as cancer about which particular decade of the 17th century a dead poet was born in.

  4. I think I am in the wrong place. I should not have intervened in this kind of blog. I see too many people are interfering with scholarly research.
    Your comments are a simply slurs. I have posted my name and family name. I don’t even know if your name is real. Please cancel all my comments or I will proceed further.

  5. You clearly are in the wrong place. My concerns as a poet are aesthetics and beauty – and also translating Hebrew works that have never been seen in English, so that others might see a glimpse of that beauty (how translating poems into English interferes with scholarly work, only you and God know). You, apparently, are devoted to poring over manuscripts so we might know better exactly which year some poet died in – who gives a fuck if anyone actually reads his poems? That would be interfering with Important Research.

    As far as your name and family name, you have nobody to blame but yourself for that. And you have no right to tell me to delete comments made freely on my own website. Your insipid obsession with irrelevant details will stand for as long as this site does. Proceed away. בהצלחה

  6. Still insults and slurs. This gives the idea of who you really are. And you always have the last word, since you are the owner of this blog. Period.

  7. Yes. It “gives the idea” of who I really am: someone who likes cussin’. Kindly fuck along now.

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