Monday, June 2, 2014

Canzoni:
   Delitto di paese - Small Town Crime (Brassens)

Non tutti nella capitale
sbocciano i fiori del male,
qualche assassinio senza pretese
lo abbiamo anche noi in paese.

Qualche assassinio senza pretese
lo abbiamo anche noi qui in paese.

Aveva il capo tutto bianco
ma il cuore non ancor stanco
gli ritornò a battere in fretta
per una giovinetta.

Gli ritornò a battere in fretta
per una giovinetta.

Ma la sua voglia troppo viva
subito gli esauriva,
in quattro baci e una carezza
l'ultima giovinezza.

In quattro baci e una carezza
l'ultima giovinezza.

Quando la mano lei gli tese
triste lui le rispose,
d'essere povero in bolletta
lei si rivestì in fretta.

D'essere povero in bolletta
lei si rivestì in fretta.

E andò a cercare il suo compagno
partecipe del guadagno
e ritornò col protettore
dal vecchio truffatore.

E ritornò col protettore
dal vecchio truffatore.

Mentre lui fermo lo teneva
sei volte lo accoltellava
dicon che quando lui spirò
la lingua lei gli mostrò.

Dicon che quando lui spirò
la lingua lei gli mostrò.

Misero tutto sotto sopra
senza trovare un soldo
ma solo un mucchio di cambiali
e di atti giudiziari.

Ma solo un mucchio di cambiali
e di atti giudiziari.

Allora presi dallo sconforto
e dal rimpianto del morto,
si inginocchiaron sul poveruomo
chiedendogli perdono.

Si inginocchiaron sul poveruomo
chiedendogli perdono.

Quando i gendarmi sono entrati
piangenti li han trovati
fu qualche lacrima sul viso
a dargli il paradiso.

Fu qualche lacrima sul viso
a dargli il paradiso.

E quando furono impiccati
volarono fra i beati
qualche beghino di questo fatto
fu poco soddisfatto.

Qualche beghino di questo fatto
fu poco soddisfatto.

Non tutti nella capitale
sbocciano i fiori del male,
qualche assassinio senza pretese
lo abbiamo anche noi in paese.

Qualche assassinio senza pretese
lo abbiamo anche noi qui in paese.

Text of Delitto di paese © 1965 Fabrizio De André based on
L'assassinat © 1962 George Brassens


"Delitto di paese" is a mostly faithful translation of "L'assassinat" by Georges Brassens, with only a few small changes (notably there's a reference to Baudelaire with De André's change to "flowers of evil," the title of an early volume of poetry by the French writer). This was the first of many translations De André would do of songs by Brassens, who was a major influence on De André both for his music and for his political and philosophical points of view. Both men considered compassion and forgiveness the most powerful human forces for good, reflected in this song by the killers' admittance to Heaven after they genuinely shed tears of remorse for their crime.

Not only in the capital
do flowers of evil bloom.
Some modest killing
even we have in the village.

Some modest killing
even we have here in the village.

His head was all white
but his heart, still not tired,
returned to him to throb fast
for a young girl.

It returned to him to throb fast
for a young girl.

But his desire, too lively,
quickly exhausted
in four kisses and a caress
his final youthfulness.

In four kisses and a caress,
his final youthfulness.

When his hand she held,
he responded to her, sad
for being poor, flat broke.
She got back dressed in a hurry.

For being poor, flat broke,
she got back dressed in a hurry.

And she went in search of her companion,
sharer in the earnings,
and returned with a protector
to the old trickster's place.

And she returned with a protector
to the old trickster's place.

While he, standing, held him,
she stabbed him six times.
They say when he spent his last breath
she showed him the tongue.

They say when he spent his last breath
she showed her companion the tongue.

They turned the place upside down
without finding a penny,
only but a pile of bills
and court judgments.

Only but a pile of bills
and court judgments.

Then, taken by the discomfort
and regret of death,
they got down on their knees by the poor fellow,
asking him for pardon.

They got down on their knees by the poor fellow
asking him for pardon.

When the gendarmes entered
they found them crying.
Some tears were on their faces
to give them heaven.

Some tears were on their faces
to give them heaven.

And when they were hung
they flew among the blessed.
Of this fact a few bigots
were little satisfied.

Of this fact a few bigots
were little satisfied.

Not only in the capital
do flowers of evil bloom.
Some modest killing
even we have in the village.

Some modest killing
even we have here in the village.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.
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