I's been a while since I've translated any Vasile Voiculescu, and that's because I don't own any books by him here in the States, and because it's, let's admit it, extra hard! I did the following translation when I was in Romania, but only partially; there were a few rhymes and stubborn extra syllables that I simply couldn't make fit. Last night, in a bout of insomnia, I started straightening out those kinks, and this morning I think I have found some solutions--so here it is:
Nu-mi cerceta obârșia, ci ține-n seamă soiul,
FROM: The Last Imagined Sonnets of Shakespeare, In the imaginary translation of V. Voiculescu
~in the hyper-imaginary translation of Cristina Hanganu-Bresch~
Forget my humble ilk, retain my type,
Ok, so now for what the sonnet actually said ("straight-up" translation):
Don’t search for my origins, but consider my kind,
You taste the fruit, and not the stalk, even though it were gilded…
My forefathers in name wielded the pitchfork,
But today I handle the quill, a thousand times heavier.
The purest proof of my nobility/ennoblement
Is you and your permission to let me love you
More than [one loves] a friend, with the same passion[s]
One adores the lover eternally together.
And so I sing my luck, and raise epithalamia,
And for the dedication that I bow my head to
I pick up azure and rays and roses from the branches
So that my master, that I chose, I can adorn with glory:
My nation of thoughts, senses, dream, body, yearning
I now proclaim you king above them all.
So! Last time I translated one of these imaginary sonnets (what Voiculescu imagined Shakespeare could have continued writing, except, you know, in Romanian!) I faced the same problem of the syllable count--the Romanian sonnet is made of a wavy 13/14 syllable variation, whereas the English sonnet is based on a strict 10 syllable verse. Unlike the last time, the rhyme is now more traditional (abab, as opposed to abba).
Certain obvious "glitches"--the non-existence of perfect rhymes for "ennoblement"--and the futility of the rhymes for "nobility," which I considered using. "Ennoblement" could not come anywhere else in the verse except in the last stress position--it feels right, plus it's a more accurate translation of "innobilarii" because it invokes the process of becoming noble (as opposed to the quality of being noble, nobility)--which is exactly what the amorous voice of the sonnet wants to say. Sadly, no perfect rhymes for that; the stress position that rhymed with "ennoblement" should have been "passions" or something like that, which became "passionate excitement." I've revised that particular verse 20 times maybe, to get the syllables right, although the emphasis is not quite right (it's a little off-rhythm, and you need to consider "mere" one syllable, otherwise it really won't work).
I definitely couldn't fit "epithalamia" in there--it would have taken up half the verse (5 syllables) and I needed to economize in English, although the lovely wedding connotations are thus lost.
I was initially worried but then relieved that the z-r alliteration in Romanian ("Culeg
azur și raze și roze de pe ramuri") translated pretty well into English ("Azure
and rays and roses from the branch") without much of a transgression (except the singular of "branch"). Well, there is a transgression, I couldn't get in the verb ("culeg"="I collect/gather/pick up")--so instead I said that I "braid" said things for the coronation, etc. Those verses needed a lot of tinkering as well, and yes, more could be done, but I'll leave those revisions for another day. For now, I'm fairly happy with how it sounds (sonnet-y!).