"Музе" – Анна АхматоваКогда я ночыо жду ее прнхода,
Жнзнь, кажется, висит волоске.
Что почести, что юность, что свобода
Пред милой гостьей с дудочкой в руке.
И вот вошла. Откинув покрывало,
Внимательно взглянула на меня
Ей говорю "Ты ль Данте диктовала
Страницы Ада?" Отвечает. "Я."
"The Muse" Anna Akhmatova
When at night I await her coming,
|Euterpe, "Giver of delight", is the muse of lyric and
elegiac poetry and also of music and song and is usually seen carrying a flute. She will
have read and heard some of Anna's poetry and wonder whether she might be good enough to
be one of her inner circle of poets. She has made an appointment to visit Anna to check
Anna is on tenterhooks honours, youth, freedom, in fact, anything and everything are meaningless and as of nothing. All depends on this meeting with the muse!
Euterpe arrives and looks intently at Anna, studying her, preparatory to putting some questions to her. By assessing Anna's answers, Euterpe will decide whether to bring Anna into her fold or dismiss her as of no consequence. But before Euterpe can put her first question, Anna asks Euterpe a question.
Anna: "Did you dictate to Dante the pages of his Inferno?
What a question! It would have surprised Euterpe. Where did it come from? What triggered it? What does it signify? For we mere mortals, Dante wrote the Inferno but Anna is of the belief it was not written by a poet, not by Dante, though he was a poet genius, but that it is poetry of a goddess. The question she asks could be answered either affirmatively or negatively but she pretty well knows the answer before she asks the question, which is a bit like a good lawyer in court who already knows the answers to the questions he puts to the witness.
Instantly, Euterpe would realise that Anna's question could only have arisen because of the depth of Anna's insight into the poetry of the Inferno. Anna's question tells Euterpe all she needs to know about Anna. There is now no need for Euterpe to ask her questions for she knows the answers Anna would give.
One might argue that the muse could have answered "No, I did not!" in which case the author of the Inferno would instantly be seen as Dante and Dante alone.
Here is the Stanley Kunitz and Mark Hayward translation of "The Muse."
All that I am hangs by a thread tonightFrom Poems of Akhmatova by Stanley Kunitz with Mark Hayward here is a perceptive insight extracted from Kunitz's A Note on the Translations:
Some wonderful points have been made here, the first paragraph to translations in
general and the second to Akhmatova in particular. The arguments for "Respect the
text!" and "Make it new!" make sense, but in making it new it is imperative
that the storyline of the original be respected. I think their "The Muse"
translation fails to do so.