Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Non al denaro non all'amore nè al cielo:
   La collina - The Hill

Dove se n'è andato Elmer
che di febbre si lasciò morire
Dov'è Herman bruciato in miniera.

Dove sono Bert e Tom
il primo ucciso in una rissa
e l'altro che uscì già morto di galera.

E cosa ne sarà di Charley
che cadde mentre lavorava
dal ponte volò e volò sulla strada.

Dormono, dormono sulla collina
dormono, dormono sulla collina.

Dove sono Ella e Kate
morte entrambe per errore
una di aborto, l'altra d'amore.

E Maggie uccisa in un bordello
dalle carezze di un animale
e Edith consumata da uno strano male.

E Lizzie che inseguì la vita
lontano, e dall'Inghilterra
fu riportata in questo palmo di terra.

Dormono, dormono sulla collina
dormono, dormono sulla collina.

Dove sono i generali
che si fregiarono nelle battaglie
con cimiteri di croci sul petto

dove i figli della guerra
partiti per un ideale
per una truffa, per un amore finito male

hanno rimandato a casa
le loro spoglie nelle barriere
legate strette perché sembrassero intere.

Dormono, dormono sulla collina
dormono, dormono sulla collina.

Dov'è Jones il suonatore
che fu sorpreso dai suoi novant'anni
e con la vita avrebbe ancora giocato.

Lui che offrì la faccia al vento
la gola al vino e mai un pensiero
non al denaro, non all'amore né al cielo.

Lui sì sembra di sentirlo
cianciare ancora delle porcate
mangiate in strada nelle ore sbagliate

sembra di sentirlo ancora
dire al mercante di liquore
"Tu che lo vendi cosa ti compri di migliore?"

La collina © 1971 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/
Nicola Piovani


"The Hill" is the opening poem of The Spoon River Anthology and sets the stage for the book's 240 poems from 212 different characters that follow.

Where’d Elmer go,
who left himself to die of fever?
Where’s Herman, burned in a mine?

Where are Bert and Tom,
the first one killed in a brawl
and the other who got out of jail dead already?

And what of Charley,
who fell while working?
From a bridge he flew, flew onto the road.

They’re sleeping, they’re sleeping on the hill,
they’re sleeping, they’re sleeping on the hill.

Where are Ella and Kate,
both dead by mistake,
one from an abortion, the other of love?

And Maggie, killed in a brothel
by the caresses of a brute?
And Edith consumed by a strange illness?

And Lizzie who pursued life
far away, and from England
was carried back to this palm of earth?

They’re sleeping, they’re sleeping on the hill,
they’re sleeping, they’re sleeping on the hill.

Where are the generals,
who decorate themselves in the battles
with cemeteries of crosses on their chests?

Where the sons of the war,
departed for an ideal,
for a fraud, for a love that ended poorly?

They sent home
their remains in the barriers,
bound tight so they seemed of one piece.

They’re sleeping, they’re sleeping on the hill,
they’re sleeping, they’re sleeping on the hill.

Where is Jones the player,
who was surprised by his ninety years
and would still have played with life?

He who offered his face to the wind,
his throat to the wine, and never a thought
to money, to love, nor to heaven.

Yes, it seems one can hear him
still prattling on about the crap
eaten on the streets in the wrong hours.

It seems you can still hear him
saying to the liquor merchant,
“You who sell it, what do you buy for yourself that’s better?”

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Non al denaro non all'amore nè al cielo, released in 1971, is a concept album inspired by poems from The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, published in 1915 and translated into Italian in 1943 by Fernanda Pivano. Each poem tells the story, as an epitaph, of one of the denizens of the fictional small town Spoon River. De André read and liked the book when he was 18, and when he re-read it years later was again struck by the relevance of the stories and the lives therein. He wanted to show, with the nine poems he chose, some aspects of life related to envy, love and the failure of science. The album was an immediate success upon its release.
The Hill – Edgar Lee Masters

Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom, and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine,
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife--
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie, and Edith,
The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?--
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

One died in shameful child-birth,
One of a thwarted love,
One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,
One of a broken pride, in a search for a heart's desire,
One after life in faraway London and Paris
Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag--
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Uncle Issac and Aunt Emily,
And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,
And Major Walker who had talked
With venerable men of the revolution?--
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

They brought them dead sons from the war,
And daughters whom life had crushed,
And their children fatherless, crying--
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where is old Fiddler Jones
Who played with life all his ninety years,
Braving the sleet with bared breast,
Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,
Of the horse-races long ago at Clary's Grove,
Of what Abe Lincoln said
One time at Springfield.

Back to Album List         Back to Song List

No comments:

Post a Comment