But the poetry now got lost in translation, you say? Well, what else? But at least you knew your Robert Frost...
Honestly, though, did you really expect me to preserve the sparkle of such a gem, through all that semantic regrinding?
Really? Gee, thanks!
But, honestly, you better learn German. And then ask Freiherr von Eichendorff to forgive his humble admirer and translational macerator...
By the way, maybe Eichendorff was talking not only about the art of the poet but also about the agony of the translator? Finding the magic word - or at least the mot juste - and then waving the magic wand... What transcendental art, what transcending agony!
Later, much later
That simple quatrain, which I had put in this collection for my sheer love of this poem - knowing full well I couldn't do it justice - brought some unexpected responses over the past couple of years or so. I have been asked more often for this than for any other poem, whether readers could reproduce my translation for their book, essay, dissertation, etc. Prominent among them were natural scientists, which warmed my heart.
Anyway, a short time ago I received two inquiries, one from a string quartett and one from a university language department. I answered the chamber musicians that, while they were welcome, I wasn't satisfied with my feeble effort and they might well want to wait for another attempt on my part.
Not that trying to wave the magic wand again worked for me but, nevertheless, below you will find a slightly different version. It may not be better, but three versions - well, one is more of a joke, isn't it? - may be better than one: