by Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki (1880 - 1918), as Guillaume Apollinaire
Translation © by Laura Prichard

Dans le jardin d'Anna
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG GER
Certes si nous avions vécu en l'an dix-sept cent soixante
Est-ce bien la date que vous déchiffrez, Anna, sur ce banc de pierre

Et que par malheur j'eusse été allemand
Mais que par bonheur j'eusse été près de vous
Nous aurions parlé d'amour de façon imprécise
Presque toujours en français 
Et pendue éperdûment à mon bras
Vous m'auriez écouté vous parler de Pythagoras
En pensant aussi au café qu'on prendrait 
dans une demi-heure

Et l'automne eût été pareil à cet automne
Que l'épine-vinette et les pampres couronnent

Et brusquement parfois j'eusse salué très bas
De nobles dames grasses et langoureuses

J'aurais dégusté lentement et tout seul 
Pendant de longues soirées
Le tokay épais ou la malvoisie

J'aurais mis mon habit espagnol
Pour aller sur la route par laquelle
Arrive dans son vieux carrosse
Ma grand-mère qui se refuse à comprendre l'allemand

J'aurais écrit des vers pleins de mythologie
Sur vos seins, la vie champêtre et sur les dames
Des alentours

J'aurais souvent cassé ma canne
Sur le dos d'un paysan

J'aurais aimé entendre de la musique en mangeant
Du jambon 

J'aurais juré en allemand je vous le jure
Lorsque vous m'auriez surpris embrassant à pleine bouche
Cette servante rousse

Vous m'auriez pardonné dans le bois aux myrtilles

J'aurais fredonné un moment
Puis nous aurions écouté longtemps les bruits du crépuscule

First published in Vers et Prose vol. XXXV in 1913.
Note (courtesy of Laura Prichard): the Poulenc song is dedicated to Reine Bénard, a French model, and companion of French poet Mireille Havet (Apollinaire’s protégé) in the 1920s. She lived in Washington DC after WWII, and hosted Poulenc during his first North-American tour in 1948.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Ingrid Schmithüsen) , title 1: "In Annas Garten", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ENG English (Laura Prichard) , title 1: "In Anna’s Garden", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 34
Word count: 220

In Anna’s Garden
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
To be sure, had we lived in the year seventeen hundred and sixty,
Isn't that the date you see, Anna, on this stone bench

And by some mischance, if I’d been German
But through good luck I’d been close to you
We would’ve spoken of love in an imprecise way
almost always in French 
And hanging passionately on my arm
You would’ve listened to me tell you of Pythagoras
While also thinking about coffee we would taste
in half an hour

And [that] autumn would've been similar to this autumn
Which, [with] berry bushes and grapevines is crowned

And abruptly at times I would’ve bowed deeply
To noble ladies, both stout and languorous

I would’ve sipped slowly, all alone,
During the long evenings
Some thick Tokay or some Malmsey wine

I would’ve donned my Spanish cape
To go out along the road, where
[She] would arrive in her old carriage
My grandmother who refuses to understand German

I would’ve written verses full of mythology
About you breasts, about pastoral life, and about the ladies
Of the neighborhood

I would’ve loved to have broken my cane
Over the back of a peasant

I would’ve loved to hear music while eating
Some ham 

I would’ve sworn in German, I swear to you,
When you caught me by surprise, kissing on the mouth
That red-haired serving maid

You would’ve pardonned me in the mrytle wood

I would’ve hummed for a moment
Then we would’ve listened for a long time to the sounds of twilight

Translator's notes:
Title: Anna - Annie Playden, a young girl with whom Apollinaire was infatuated from 1901-1904. He wrote the poem in 1901, during the first month of their sojourn in Germany, and sets the poem in Alsace. Alsace was lost to Germany in 1870, and only recovered its French status after WWI.
Line 2-6: Pythagoras - a Greek philosopher and mathematician of the sixth century B.C. who developed multiplication tables, decimal system, and geometrical theories
Line 3-2: "Épine-vinette" is a bush with edible, wine-colored berries.
Line 3-2: "Pampre" is a branch of vine including its leaves and grapes.
Line 5-3: Tokay is an Alsatian wine made from vines imported from Hungary.
Line 5-3: Malvoisie is a sweet wine originating from Greece.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2016 by Laura Prichard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
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Based on

 

This text was added to the website: 2016-04-13
Line count: 34
Word count: 251