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Original translations of selections from the Armenian of Daniel Varoujean with an introduction and prefactory notes to each poem

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ORIGINAL TRANSLATIONS OF SELECTIONS
FROM THE ARMENIAN OF DANIEL YAROUJEAN
ffim AN INTRODUCTION AND PREFATORY NOTES TO EACH POEM
A Thesis
Presented to
the Faculty of the Department of Comparative Literature
University of Southern California
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Arts
i>y
Aram Tolegian
November 1940
UMI Number: EP43059
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This thesis written by
.......... MtM..TOLE(JlAK........ r...
,
under the direction of h.A.3 Faculty Committee
and approved by a l l its members, has been
presented to and accepted by the Council on
Graduate Study and Research in partial f u l f i l l ­
ment of the requirements f o r the degree of
MASTER OF ARTS.....
D ean
Secretary
D
FEBRUARY _1941_ _
F a c u lty Corrymtttee
C hairm an
til
TABLE OF COHTEETS
CHAPTER
PAGE
Introduction to the Translation of Selections
from the Poetry of Daniel Varoujean . . . . . .
Foreword
I.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
i
xxi
Translation of Selections from The Heart
of the Race
.........
1
Y a h a k n .. ......
1
A Going to Battle
..............
Cadavers on the Wagon
II.
............
Translation of Selections from Pagan Songs
18
...
22
To the Statue of Beauty . . . . . . . . . . . .
22
Oriental Bath
24
. . . . . . . . . . . .
The Flickering L a m p ..............
32
Betrayed Virgins
35
..........................
The Working-Ftoman
III.
10
..............
Translation of SelectionsfromThe Song of Bread
To the Muse
. . . . . . . . . .
-Tillers
40
45
45
48
First Sprouts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
51
The Bipe Field
54
Wheat Seas
BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPEHDIX
..........
................
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
.....
.........
57
.............
61
. . . . . . . . . . . .
64
I3JTR0DUCIIG!
A.
In these translations from the poetry of Daniel
Varoujean^ we have teen constantly beset with two diffi­
cult iest (1) how to make the selections from the three
volumes here used so as to have them regarded, in the main,
as at once representative of the poet's work and generally
conceded "by his countrymen to be.among his bestj and (2) how
to proceed to translate into English from a language so
dissimilar to it,
Ear the period of a whole year we established contact
with as many Armenian scholars of literature and poetry as
we knew in our immediate acquaintance.
the poet's widow and to his children.
We wrote letters to
We called upon two
of the poet's personal friends, one his teacher and counsel­
or,2 From all of these sources we asked that they commit
themselves definitely as to what poems they believed popular­
ly loved, what poems fastidiously accepted, and what poems
obscure and of little interest,
-I
letters received by the author from the poet's
daughter were always signed Varoujean. Though there are two
other accepted spellings in English (Varoujan*, Varujan) , the
author has preferred to adopt that spelling now used by the
poet's family.
2 Father Filipo Yadighian, who was the poet's guardian
angel while he was a student in the Mekhitarist School
(Mourat-Raphael!an Seminary) at Venice. In the summer of
1959, at the monastery of St. lazarre, Venice, we were granted
an hour's interview with this venerable and esthetic-looking
cleric.
IOTJRQDUCIIOS
A*
In these translations from the poetry of Daniel VarouJean^ we have been constantly "beset with two difficulties*
(1) how to make the selections from the three volumes here
used2 so as to have them regarded, in the main, as at once
representative of the poet's work and generally conceded "by
his oountrymen to he among his "best# and (2) how to trans­
late into English from a language so dissimilar to it,
For the period of a whole year we established contact
with as many Armenian scholars of literature and poetry as
we knew in our immediate acquaintance.
We wrote letters to
the poet's widow and to his children.
We called upon two of
the poet's personal friends, one his teacher and counselor,3
We asked these people to commit themselves as definitely as
possible as to what poems they believed best loved and most
widely accepted and what poems obscure and of little interest.
1 letters received by the author from the poet's
daughter were always signed Varoujean.
fhough there are two
other accepted spellings in English (Varoujan; Varujan), the
author has preferred to adopt that spelling now used by the
poet's family,
2 Cf. Appendix.
® Father Filipo Yadighian, who was the poet's guardian
angel while he was a student in the Mekhitarist School
(Mourat-Raphaelian Seminary) at Venice,
In the summer of
1939, at the monastery of St. lazarre, Venice, we were grant­
ed an hour's interview with this venerable and estheticlooking cleric.
We should have known that we were foredoomed to
failure*
The Latin phrase, de gustibus non disputandum eat,
was not, we found, writ in vain*
It is not that no commit-
ments were made, hut that in the making of them there was as
great a disagreement as there is between the philosophical
doctrines of Absolutism and Idealism,
Some preferred cer­
tain poems and called them beautiful* others preferred not
to like them at all? still others praised poems which were
obviottsly inferior*
All in all, there was not to be obtain­
ed, from the commitments made, any formula which would yield
an acceptable answer to our tuery*
Whereupon we settled down, in the solitude of our
study, and began ourselves to sift and re-sift, accept and
reject, until we felt we had come upon a body of selections
representative of the poetrs work and generally accepted as
such by his countrymen.
It was easier, we found, to limit
ourselves to fewer selections and thereby increase the de­
gree of their acceptance at the hands of ¥aroujean*s ad­
mirers*
We determined finally that those selections were
most universally accepted which were treated with artistry
or which fostered a theme close to the hearts of Yaroujean*8
countrymen.
Hence, we selected poems of historic and legen­
dary interest, like “TTshakn” and ”A Going to Battle;” poems
of sorrow and suffering and persecution, like “Cadavers on
the Wagon,” “The i*lickering Lamp,” “The Wo iking-Woman,”
ill
and “Betrayed Virgins;“ poems of the Hear last, like
“Oriental Bath;“ and poems of the open fields and plains
and farms, like “fillers,® “First Sprouts,® “Wheat Seas,®
and “fhe Eipe Field*“
But it must be remembered that in
each division we also selected such poems as had at once
the magic touch of real.poetry and the unquestioned tech­
nique of a great artist; else we should have toiled in vain
and to no purpose.
Having thus defined the scope of the work at hand,
we were startled into new difficulties when we contemplated
the magnitude of translating from an ancient language, such
as the Armenian, into the more flexible and less inflected
language of m o d e m English.
What were the criteria for translating Armenian
poems into English?
Where were the precedents, if any,
and how were they to be obtained?
the sense, or the spirit, or both?
Were we to translate
Were we to fuse, render,
transfuse, reproduce or translate from the Armenian into
English?
If one of these, which one and why?
And, among
other things, were the translations to be done in the
original meters and in the original schemas of rhymes —
like Bayard faylor*s translation of Groethe*s Faust, with
its claim of rigid conformity to Soethe's meters —
or
should it be like Br* Anster's paraphrase of the same, with
its easy rhymes and meters?
Here was truly a multitude of
Questions, each needing to "be answered and each needing an
uneQuivoeating decision*
Qnr first answer to these sets of Queries we soon
began discovering by a protracted comparative search into
the characteristics of Armenian and English canons of pros­
ody.
We obtained as many books on the subject of prosody,
in both languages, as both our finances and our friends
could get and lend us.
Fortunately, a book placed on order
at Erivan, Armenia, finally reached us and helped immedi­
ately to solve some of the more nettlesome problems of
prosody.^
fhe result of this intensive study we compiled
as a research paper under the title, Some Distinguishing
Characteristics of Armenian Prosody.®
$he findings of this
paper, together with the conclusions reached through other
sources, at length yielded us a modus operand! compatible
with the demands of the task at hand.
We found two books of translations from Armenian
into English poetry* Alice Stone Blackwell's volume en­
titled Armenian Poems? and Zabelle 0. Boyajian's Armenian
4 f.
Apeghian, Metrics of the Armenian language
(Erivan, Armenia* Melkoniah Fund,"Tub1 ishers, 1936 F 45# pp.
5 Cf. Aram Tolegian, Some Pistinguishing Character­
istics ofA r m e n i a n Pros ody (unpublished; toe Angeles*
department of Comparative Mterature, University of Southern
California, 1939 i 47 pp.
Legends and. Poems.6
The half-title of Miss Blackwell's translations reads:
’'Rendered into English Verses** mid, in the first page of the
preface, we read*
"Each of these translations in verse has
heen made from a literal translation in prose, furnished to
me in English or .French by my Armenian f r i e n d s . T h u s ,
it
can he seen that Miss Blackwell's work cannot, in any real
sense of the word, he considered as a translation <—
much
less can it he considered a model for those who would trans­
late directly from the Armenian into the English.
A cursory
perusal of the work reveals that even the spirit of the
originals has heen greatly weakened, let alone the sense.
Beyond its heing considered © hook of pretty renditions,
Armenian Poems cannot seriously lay any claim to force and
vitality of translation? nor can it he said for it that its
author "has succeeded in carrying over much of the native
fire into her translations.w *
Paraphrases in the hands of
a great poet, to whom the language of the original is unknown
may at times deserve the name of poetry? hut no one versed
in English or in Armenian poetry can consider the transla-
6 Alice Stone Blackwell, Armenian Poems (Boston:
Robert Chambers, 1917) 295 pp.; Zabelie C, Boyajian, Armenian
Legends and Poems (London* J. M. Lent* 1916) 196 pp.
7 Blackwell, oj>. oit.. guoted in Appendix, p. 292,
from The Qongregat1onalis t.
Vi
ticms in Armenian Poems as deserving the names especially is
this true as it applies to the author's rendering of the
three poems of faroujean —
,eThe longing letter," “She
Working-Girl,w8 and “Alms •*f
Miss Boyajian, the author of Armenian legends and
Poems, has succeeded to an immeasurably greater degree than
the author of Armenian Poems in transfusing something of the
real fire of Armenian poetry into her translations*
Miss
Boysjian is herself an Armenian and well versed in the
Armenian language*
A note of greater authenticity, therefore,
obtains in each of her translations.
Unfortunately, Miss
Boyajian has weakened her work by making use of the para­
phrases of Miss Blackwell* and, moreover, nowhere in the
book is there set forth any principle or theory of transla­
tion adopted or followed.
In short, it is a book (together
with Miss Blackwell's) entirely wanting in every detail in
which it could serve as a model for our work.
To date there has not come to our notice any other
volume of poetry done from the Armenian into English* nor
does there seem to be much interest in such work being done.
Owing to the indefatigable work of Arshag Tchobanian, the
french language has seen many translations from the Armenian,
8 for a comparison in the differences of sense and
spirit, Of. infra, “The Working-Woman," p. 42.
vii
the hest known being Tchobanian*s PoemeB Armeniens. Anciens
£t Modernest and his Cheats ^ p u laires A n alniene.9
The
standard works in the German language are done by Franz
Nikolaus Fihok.
But for our purposes the works done in hoth
French and German would he of no avail.
The prosody of every
language, though ever so little different, is yet, in the
main, quite dissimilar! though agreement may be found in the
larger theories of rhythm, in the smaller, more refined
definitions of it there is seldom found any abiding agree­
ment.
In effect, we have been left, to a large degree, upon
the resources of our own judgments, not being able to organ­
ize a body of primary materials yielding an acceptable and
workable basis for the translations here used.
Early in our work we discovered that those transla­
tions which were instinet with both the sense and spirit of
the original seemed most happy in their effects.
To trans­
late the sense of a poem without regard to its spirit is
really to miss, by a large margin, the warm ichor which is
its life? and, conversely, to translate only the spirit of
a poem without regard to its sense is really to miss, by a
like margin, the organization of its artistic technique.
9 Arshag Tchobanian, Poemes Armeniens, Anciens et
Moderne s . Precedes d*une Etude &e~‘"Gabri el Mourey sur la
Poesie et l*Art Armeniens (Larisa librairie A. Charles,
1&02); tchobanian. Chants Pouulsires Armeniens, Preface de
Paul Adam (Paris* Soclete d ’Editions i»iti£ralres et Artistiques, 1903),
viii
Obviously, then, we were forced to the conclusion that our
translations would he most happy when we had achieved a har­
mony of sense and spirit, which is to say, when we had
annealed substance to art, or content to meaning.
With this in mind we set about our translations.
Where a meter in the Armenian gave the original a special
charm, we "sedulously aped" it, although not losing sight of
our obligation to retain the spirit of the poem.
Thus, in
a poem like "Wheat Seas," composed in stanzas of five lines
each, rhymed a b b a s ,
and with the first and fifth lines
shorter by three feet than the second, third and fourth, we
retained the length of lines by the use of equivalent English
measures, compromising with the rhyme pattern by employing
only the b b schema.
In the same way, in poems like "Yahakn" or "A Going
to Battle," while we followed closely the consecutive order
of lines in the original, we also broke away at times from
that consecutiveness in the interests of making the trans­
lation over into readable English poetry.
Both of these
poems are written in the free verse manners therefore, both
of them were translated in the same manner in English, ex­
cept that in the interests of cadence and movement we altered
the position and length of many lines,
We felt that by this
procedure we had achieved our goals that of keeping together,
wherever possible, the sense and spirit of the original, and,
ix
where this was impossible, that of keeping together at least
an approximation of its sense and spirit, preferring, where
a choice was necessary, in any event to preserve its spirit.
After all, words are both connotative and denotative;
the language of poetry is composed of words chiefly eonnotative.
It therefore appears to us that connotative words
may be said to have, in a certain sense, depending on the
richness of a language, a host of synonyms,
We are some­
times made to wonder at the puristic attitude of ’‘literal
translators,1* those who would sooner give their writing arm
than not have the exact word in another language.
It is such
a breed of scholiasts and punctilio-seekers who exclaim a
given passage ’‘untranslatable.”
We are not ready to admit,
by any manner of means, that phrases or words from one lan­
guage are untranslatable into another —
especially when the
languages used are both rich in vocabularies and in the
psychological concepts which make an extensive vocabulary
possible.
If the end of translation be considered the re­
production from one language into another of both the sense
and spirit of a work, its means should be made to make that
end possible.
Of translating it might be said that there is
not enough in the world;
of translators, that there is too
much of that breed which stubbornly clings to a purism
defeating the end of translation, which is translation
itself.
X
Daniel Yaroujean says of himself that he was horn in
1884 in a village near Sepastia OhirkeyD10 called
Ferkneeg, where my childhood
was passed* . .
When I had Just harely hegun
to read the breviary
at
the village school, they had taken me in 1896 to Con­
stantinople, in the days of the massacres, where des­
pairing to find my father in the horror of blood, I have
found him in prison in those sad days, falsely accused.
For two yearg I have studied at the Mekhiterian^l school
at Sfikuz AghaJ, and later at the [Mekhitarisnl school at
Khghgetonne. (Che days of my vacation from school I
passed near my father at the Caviar Inn, where 1 was a
listener to the sighs and wounds of Armenian derelicts.
Father Aristakes Kaskemdelian, who had been, at the same
time £1898-1902], principal of the school at Kpghgetonne,
directed me in my first exercises, transcribing ray lovepoeras, and later, in 1902, sent me to Yeniee, to the
Mourad-Raphae1ian £School], to greet for him the con­
secrated tomb of Alishan. • ,12
(Chus ends the short biographical note quoted by the lecturer,
(Che lecturer himself, however, continues to say of Yaroujean
IQ The brackets are ours.
11 An Armenian Catholic order, famous through its
monastery at San lazzaro, Venice, for its learning, the
schools it maintains, and its printing press, which regular­
ly publishes books in thirty-eight languages,
12 fhis quotation from Yaroujean, translated by the
author, is taken from pages 8 and 9 of a memorial volume to
his name, compiled by the Yesaylan Alumni Foundation in
1913 under the title. literary lectures* Varou3ian*s "Pagan
Songs,* (Che tomb mentioned at the end of the selection
quoted is that of leo Alishan (1820-1901), who was a monk
at the Mekhitarien Monastery at Yeniee **and a distinguished
antiquarian, scientist, linguist and historian, as well as
a poet. He is the author of many important works in these
different fields, and translated into Armenian a number of
poems by longfellow and other American writers.** Blackwell,
op. oit., p, 95.
xi
that after studying for three years in the Mekhitarist
School at Venice he went to the University at Ghent in 1905,
taking a course in polities! science, which he completed
hy 1908.
"'In the same year," says the lecturer, "he re­
turned to Turkey and for three years held the position of
principal at Tokat and Sivss, and at present,*3 for a year
now, has "been principal at the Gregory the Illuminator
School."14
It need only he said, in completing his biography,
that when Varoujean, at the age of thirty-one, went hack
to Constantinople from Armenia, together with scores of
poets, writers, and intellectuals, he met his death in
1915 on the gallows.1®
It will he remembered that 1915 was
the year when the Turks began the mass deportations and
massacres of Armenians.
Varoujean, fired with a love for
liberty and full of a burning patriotism for his people,
went to Constantinople —
but only to meet his death at the
hands of the common enemy.
13 xt must be remembered that at the time of the;
leoture Varou^ean was still living, having met his death in
1915.
14 H.
Seeruni, Literary Lectures, pp. 9,10?
OP. cit.. footnote IS.
of. Daniel Varoujean, The Song of Bread (Constan­
tinople O. Arzouman, 1921) publisher's preface. Leon
Herald, in H. Khasmanian, Armenian Encyclopedic Almanac
(Boston, 1924), has a poem in English dedicated to Daniel
Varoujean, entitled "Prom Prison to Gallows,” pp. 258,259.
xii
Thus ended the life of a youthful poet, who, before
he met his fate, had published three volumes of poetry,
the manuscripts of a fourth volume being found upon his
person and later published posthumously, under the title
of The Song of Bread.16
Of his maiden voilume. Tremors, Yaroujean, in later
years, could not have been too proud.
juvenilia.
This is truly his
Its themes are indicated in the titles of such
poems as "Sorrow," "Heart-Ache," "The Beggar," "A Sick One,"
"Learning," and "Hashish,"
Something of school-life and
something of the sentimental idealism of youth pervades the
whole volume.
The demands of the Oriental environment in
which he lived, together with the pressures of evangelical
morality fostered by his own people (the stock influences
on writers in the Hear East) gywed,. and fettered his other­
wise rich imagination.
The Tremors is important, however, as a volume pre­
saging the real gifts of the poet and what was to be expected of
him in later years.
How a sparkling phrase, and then a
powerful simile; here an inflection of speech and there a
I6 Yaroujean, op. cit.; during his lifetime Yaroujean
published: Tremors {Yeniee*. St. Lazzaro Monastery, 1906)
95 pp.; TheHeart of the Bace {Constantinople: Ardzeev Press,
1909) £49 pp.; Pagan Songs YSalata, Constantinople: Shant,
1912) 330 pp.* and The Song of Bread, op. cit.
xiii
fetching rhythm, helped to show clearly that much could "be
expected of Yaroujean,.
Here, in this volume, at the age of
twenty, the poet in Yaroujean, though ever so little, had
lisped his numbers —
very much as Tennyson and his brother,
Charles, had in Poems by Two Brothe rs.
Affter his Tremors. Yaroujean set to work for three
years and worked hard, served his muse, admitted of no
mistress except poetry, and published, in 1909, the work
that brought him to the attention of his countrymen —
Heart of the Race.
The poet had, once and for all, broken
the shackles of his Oriental bondage.
studied in Europe.
The
He had traveled and
He had read the works of Maeterlinck
and Yerhaeren,*^ while studying at the University at Ghent?
he had absorbed the refined knowledge stored in the monasterial school at Yeniee.
In short, Daniel Yaroujean was
nevermore to be the child and victim of his old and ancient
and stifling background.
The change in the poetry of Yaroujean was remarkable*
Here in The Heart of the Race he could write of pagan times
in his poem "Yahakn* and he could write of contemporary times
in nA Going to Battle* and “Cadavers on the Wagon.*
In the
first, he stalked back through centuries of the histoiy of
his people and touched and recreated from their buried past
I7 Cf. literary lectures, op. cit.
the mighty pagan figure of Yahakn.
In the other two, he
wrote touchingly of his own time? of the cadavers on the
wagon, victims of Turkish massacres, and of going to battle,
his sweetheart by his side, against, the savage enemy.
To
Yaroujean, his people represented not only an ancient race
which had an enviable history but also a modern race still
contributing to that history — a history at times of valor
and heroism, at times of bondage and oppression.
?/ith The
Heart of the Race, Yaroujean did not become the poet of his
people — he became their.muse.
As one Armenian critic wrote
speaking of the theme of The Heart of the Race, Yaroujean
18
,Tsang to us the dream — freedom of a future Armenia.”
It must be remembered, too, that Yaroujeanrs art had
been refined to a great technique.
Where in the first
volume he had chiefly employed quatrains of alternating
rhymes, and measures of easy construction, he had brought
over into his second volume the most difficult of measures
and the richest of rhymes and assonances.
Thus Yaroujean
bfought to his lyre the refined cadences and arts of
European poetry, especially the French, and wedded them
ingeniously to the language of his native country.— ■ very
much-like Rossetti from the Italian and'Swinburne from the
French.
^ Luther G-orgodian, "A Year with Yaroujian,”
Phenix, Yol. Ill, lo. Y, p. 1621, May, 1920.
XV
In his next volume. Pagan Songs, published three
years later, Yaroujean not only kept the tenor of his
former work intact, hut exceeded it in many instances.
Poems like the "Oriental Bath," "The flickering lamp,'’
"The Betrayed Virgins," "To the Statue of Beauty," and
"The Working-Women" became famous even in his own times;
so much so that literary societies in Constantinople raved
about them and gave over whole meetings and series of meet­
ings to their discussion.^
While the poet was still living and writing poetry,
his life was being discussed; his use of words, his style of
expression, his stanzaic structures, his rhymes and meters,
all were being made, everywhere, the subjects of violent
and admiring debates this, too, when the Armenians were just
about to face their.blackest days in history — the massacres
and deportations of 1914, 1915, and 1916,
Truth to say, the surge of popularity and acclaim
accorded to Yaroujean was deserved.
It must not be for­
gotten that, in Constantinople, almost every intellectual
Armenian aspired to publish.poetry, whether he had a special
gift for it or not.
The literati of Constantinople were,
thus, a more or less jaded group of connoisseurs.
It was
References to these poems, and appreciations of
them, may be seen in the pamphlet, literary lectures,
op. cit.
on tills scene that Yaroujean entered, and from these jaded
connoisseurs that he received his applause,
This could
scarcely have been the case if any poet had written only
••acceptable stuff,**
leither must it be thought that Yarou-
jean became a great poet only among the Armenians of Con­
stantinople! Armenians everywhere took up his work,' read it,
and gave it their critical applause.
Sow, twenty-five
years after the poet's death, he is still regarded as the
singer of his people.20
His poetical stature, if anything,
has grown tenfold with the passing of time.
When he was cut down from the gallows in 1915, on
Yaroujean’s person was found a sheaf of manuscripts and
notes.2!
These manuscripts were published posthumously
under the title The Song of Bread, f19 SI}, after having
been in the care of friends for six years.
was not written —
The title poem
but it was assumed by his p u b l i s h e r s 2 ^
that the notes indicated such a title poem? for, among sev­
eral titles to projected poems, like *tBaran and “Oven,"
there was found the title of ,rThe Song of Bread.”
At any
rate, the conditions under which the poems were published
2® Yahe -Haig, •’Daniel Yaroujean and His Song of
Bread.* Haireneek Daily. Boston, April 1, 193E.
21 Of, Preface to The Song of Bread,
22 Doe. cit.
xvii
speaks well for his admiring friends and countrymen —
at
this time the Young Turk Party was on the verge of decreeing
the cruellest of fates upon the Armenians*
"Turkey for the
Turks.*
Yaroujean's posthumous poems contain some of his
loveliest, most polished, idyllic lyrics.
We have selected
for translation "To the Muse," "Tillers," "First Sprouts,"
"The Ripe Field," and "Wheat Seas."
Each of these poems
is well known by his countrymen and is typical of the work
found in the volume.
The Song of Bread is the kind of poetry
which will take greater hold upon Yaroujeanrs readers as
more time elapses.
It is chiefly "quiet," subjective poetry,
}
with very little of the zealousness of his former volumes.
Here he espouses no cause.
or nationalism here.
There fs no interse patriotism
He is not trying to make of his long-
suffering people a cause cellbre.
He is satisfied simply
to sing their sense of being indigenous to the farms and
fields which they work.
Nature and the farmer and the plain,
rustic life is the only theme of The Song of Bread.
In the
poems in this volume there is but one influence? the impres­
sions which he had gleaned as a boy from the fertile valleys
in which he was reared.
Except for the finesse of his tech­
nique, European influences played no part in this his post­
humous poetry.
He had become an Armenian poet singing of
Armenian scenes, rural and bucolic? and, as such, he has had
xviii
no equal among modern Armenian poets,
Yaroujean’s art and technique were of a highly re­
fined nature.
Seldom does one chance upon a line halting in
rhythm; nearly never upon a rhyme inept' or badly chimed.
•The manner of his selection and use of words is the despair
of all Armenian poets; although it must he said that in his
search for the mot juste he often erred in taste, as did
Eossetti, in his mixture of modern with archaic words,
A highly inflected language like the Armenian yields
easily to the making of compound words.
Of this capacity
of the language for compound words, Yaroujean has often made
indiscriminate use.
Yet it must he said that no other
modern Armenian poet has equaled the power of Yaroujean in
the vitality of his expression,
E. E. Melikian says of
Yaroujean that *he was more than anything else an imagemaker.*20
Of this there can he no question.
Yaroujean is
preeminently a conjuror of striking images, as will he seen
in the following translations.
The Orientals love for
hyperhole is seldom better illustrated than in the similes
and figures of speech which Yaroujean employs.
We have hod,
at times, to labor haltingly over a simile we felt was mixed
or confused, only to find in the end that to clarify it was
25 s. E. Melikian, *Yaroujian and His Art,* Phenix,
Boston, Yol. Ill, Ho. Y, p. 1619, May, 19S0,
xix
to take away its real spirit or inner poetry.
Yaroujean*s command oyer poetical measures in the
Armenian seems to have been gained by no extended study,
It rather appears, from the many verse forms he has adopted
and from the many that he has himself originated, that he
had an unfailing ear for melody and measure and cadence.
Rarely is there a lapse in his rhythm, rarely a cadence not
in accord with the needs and demands of the theme,
fhis
mastery over form and rhythm, to be sure, was much more of
a fact after his studies and travels in Europe.
In conclusion, two items need to be noted briefly.
It has been said, with what reason we do not know, that
Yaroujean, as a poet, was eminently a realist.^4
We have
searched for the Armenian definition of realism and do not
find that it differs, in the main, from the definition
usually accepted in other literatures.
of poems about realistic themes —
If the mere writing
themes such as cadavers,
\
massacres, betrayed virgins, factories, machines, and work­
ing women —
be considered as realistic poetry, without
reference to the manner and moods of thevpoet, then it might
be urged that that type of reasoning has no basis in
authority and precedent.
If Yaroujean must be classified,
24 Roupen 2artarian, ltYaroujeanrs Language and
Realism,n in Literary Lectures, op. cit.
t
ay a
lie fits most readily into the genus of-poets called romantic.
We hope the following translations, although a selection,
will M a s the critic in our direction.
It need not he assum­
ed, by any critic of the opposition, that our selections are
not representative of the poet's work? much care has been
taken to avoid just such a charge.
The second item that needs noting briefly is the
question of the extent to which Yaroujean is indebted to his
native environment of Turkey.
Except for his use of the
stodk Hear-Eastern epithets and symbols, like nightingale.
gulistan. rose, virgin, and other such symbols, it can be
said that Yaroujean was more influenced by European thought
and literature than by Turkish.
To be sure, Yaroujean hated
Turks and all things Turkish; this antipathy to the Turk
took expression in his rejection, consciously and unconscious­
ly, of all foims of Turkish culture.
If it be said that his
poems in The Song of Bread are of the soil, and perforce a
part of his life, it may be answered that those poems are no
different essentially from poems of the same character produeed in other countries and at all times.
All that can be
said about the influence of his environment, chiefly, is
that his image-making was exaggerated and, therefore,
characteristic of the Bear East.
fqee wo bb
Mo one Is as sensible as we are of the shortcomings
and inadequacies of the present work#
In the absence of
other works of this kind, we have had to labor without bene­
fit of standard and, in a lesser sense, without benefit of
authority#
brer mooted questions of prosody and over ques­
tions of philological importance, we have had to sit, not
by ohoiee, as final arbiter#
When the facts did not bias
us toward a definite^ conclusion, we have had to rely solely
upon our Judgment.
We only hope that that Judgment has not
too often erred* and, where it has, we ask the kindly in­
dulgence of the critic#
Jaaong the many to whom we are indebted, we need first
to mention the Armenian Fathers at the Monastery of San lazarro.
The Abbe General gave us permission to use the
monastery’s veritable storehouse of books#
It was a rare
privilege to study and read in the monastery’s Byron Hoorn#
like Byron himself, we, too, felt that the Fathers of the
monastery were the kindest to be found anywhere.
To Father
Filipo Yadighian and to Father Vartan V# Eadzouni do we
especially owe our thanks and gratitude#
AlwayB they were
doing some service to our cause and always making us feel
that they were under our obligation.
Such kindness deserves
more acknowledgement than we here can give.
xxil
We are also deeply indebted to two friends, both of
whom have had wide experience in translating from the
English into the Armenian,
Mr, 2. Sipantzi.
They are Mr, E, H. Melcon and
The former has given of his time unstint-
ingly and has helped us over many a difficult passage,
sharing, where he could, our enthusiasm* the latter, like­
wise, has kindly given over to us large portions of his
spare hours, helping us revise the movement of a line,
change by a shading the meaning of a word, and, in general,
being of any and all manner of service.
Here, too, we must
acknowledge our debt to the Armenian critic, M. G. Yeradzine,
who has very generously entered into correspondence with us
with regard to the life and writings of Daniel Yaroujean.
In addition, our deepest thanks go to Dr. K, Khantemour
of Dos Angeles, whose library of books in Armenian, books
otherwise unobtainable, has always been generously at our
disposali to Mr, Yahe Haig of Fresno, California, who has
entrusted to us for over a year his personal scrapbook con­
taining material on the poet? and to Mr, H. Ignatius of
Dos Angeles, who has kindly gathered Yaroujean material
through his friends and given it over to us.
CHAPTER I
TRANSLATION OP SELECTIONS PROM
THE HEART OF THE RACE*
Vahakn.
Ashtishat, an ancient city in the present-
day Turkish vilayet of Moush, Asia Minor, is the site of the
historic Armenian monastery of St* Garabed. : Legend states
that when the religious zealot, Gregory, the Illuminator,
came upon Ashtishat, in the "beginning of the fourth century
A.D., and found the pagan temple to the sun-god, Yahakn,
flourishing, he ordered it confiscate; and, soon thereafter,
in the cause of Christianity, established and consecrated
the monastery of St* Garabed*
In Armenian mythology Yahakn represents, among other
things, might and the sun; and in the temples to him at
Ashtishat, in the usual pagan manner, sacrifices were offered
to him by his devotees.
The term Yahunis, seen in the poem,
is the name given to the priests of .Yahakn*
Ashtishat is a
generic name in the Persian language* Ashti, or Hashdi,
meaning sacrifice; and shat meaning town; —
hence, sacrifice-
town*
In the monologue of "Yahakn* Yaroujean ingeniously
* Daniel Yaroujean, The Heart of the Race (Constanti­
nople* Ardzeev Press, 1909} E49 pp.
s
provides a frame of reference which renders the narrative
easy of comprehension and gives the poem its quality of
piquancy.
Por instance, though the husbandman is contem­
poraneous with the poet, he is nevertheless atavistic, and,
in a modern world, still harks "back to the pagan-worship
of his ancestors.
The devotee is not a spurious pagan —
he is real and genuine enough to lead his "brawny, beautiful,
sublime" wether to the temple of Yahakn and there really to
sacrifice it; and there, too, he makes a pyre and, placing
his sacrifice upon it, ejaculates to high heaven and to
Yahakn with a characteristic pagan frenzy, "Lo . . .
the
flame . . .
to thy
rises . . . with alternating reeks . . .
heavenly demesne."
Of course, Yaroujean, true to his Oriental background
of secrecy, does not break faith with it by informing the
reader the why and wherefore of the sacrifice; surely.it is
not because of artistic necessity that he refrains from
portraying the spiritual conflicts which bring the husband­
man to the temples of Yahakn, petitioning the sun-god of his
ancestors, where the religion of our times had failed him.
Ho, it is simply that the poet, himself a product of an
Oriental background, knows that the spiritual crisis which
impels an Oriental husbandman to make a sacrifice will not
and cannot be given to the confidence of others.
,"Yahakn" has no rhymes and is written in the so-called
free verse manner.
5
Behold!
0 god of my fathers
High. thy fane I draw,
And leading hy its halter
I hring a wether from the valleys of Baron.^
Behold!
my sacrificial offering
Is battened and brawny and hulking —
At its white brisket the soil's whole life is found.
My wether's craw knows not the common manger,
In the open meads my wether has grazed,
Its udders laved in the sacred founts of Heaven.
When my wether blows its mighty breath,
Its head bent toward the ground,
Before it the sand and the soil of the earth is made to flail;
And through its black nostrils comes the smell
Of the wet verdure of boundless plains.
Behold!
my sacrifice is brawny, beautiful, sublime —
On its head the curving tawny horns,
Set as a coronal of thy glory;
In its black, impetuous eyes inflame
The incenses of might;
2 Ibid., pp. 157-161.
® Baron — The name of a fertile district in the
vilayet of Moush.
4
Its hirsute tail,
Flapping as an adder,
Strikes at the horse-flies and at its flanks,
Keeping its "body clean, keeping its body holy.
0 Yahakn, thou father-god of might,
fhou eorporealized Sun,^
fhou in the seed of Bikran,^
4 In Sahelle C. Boya^ian's Armenian legends and Poems
(London: J* M. Bent & Sons, 1916) on page 10 there occurs a
translation of "Vahagn, King of Armenia" by the author,
taken from the ancient Armenian historian, Moses of Ehorene
(5th Century A.B.). Here follows the translated passage:
“Heaven and earth were in travail,
And the crimson waters were in travail.
And in the water, the crimson reed
Was also in travail.
From the mouth of the reed issued smoke,
From the mouth of the reed is sited flame.
And out of the flame sprang the young child.
His hair was of fire, a heard had he of flame,
And his eyes were suns . .
And in prose the translation continues: “With our own ears
did we hear these words sung to the accompaniment of the
harp,
fhey sing, moreover, that he did fight with the
dragons, and overcame them; and some say his valiant deeds
were like unto those of Hercules.
Others declare that he
was a god, and that a great image of him stood in the land
of Georgia {jbircasia”!where it was worshipped with sacri­
fices." (fhe brackets are ours).
^ Dikran, or, as he is known in history, figranes
the Great, was the most powerful of Armenian kings.
Of him
Cicero says: “He made the Eepublie of Home tremble before
the prowess of his arms." Quoted from Aram Baffi, “Armenia:
its Epics, Folk Songs and Medieval Poetry," in Boya^ian,
op. cit.. p. 126.
5
Succor my soul, with a sun-ray anoint my lips.
Xo X kiss thy holy fane,
And taking up the deadly hammer once again,
With colossal arm,
X smash the forehead of my ram,
And at thy knees its gushing hlood I sacrifice.
. . • BeholdJ
Even now there fumes "before thee
The crackling sacred pyre;
The flames weave and tumble,
Intervolve among the branches of the olive-tree;
And now.
Intoxicated with the molten gum of juniper-trees,
leap up straight
And sing
The song of transmutation,
—
The flight of things into a clearer soul.
Take,
Take these the bloody ribs
Of my sacrifice;
These its fattened shanks,
This its snout and this its warm heart,
(Which is still a-quiver};
This, take this, the brain
Which even now dictated instinct
And breathed stubbornness into the horns;
6
fake this its gall,
Which I place upon its buttock,
Hoping it will burn
And char throughout —
take, 0 take,—
ho, the flame that even now has puffed its wreath of smoke
Rises thinly, limpidly
Taking up my sacrifice
With alternating reeks,
Aromatizing, 0 mighty god,
Thy heavenly demesne.
0 thou mighty one,
Thou sun-god and god of strength,
Receive my offering.
Which from my burnished urn
1 pour upon the fire,
MarkJ lol the wine,—
Thy nostrils ope, 0 god,
Inhale its sweet-perfumed smell,
Become drunk with it,
Sayly, divinely,—
Be reconciled to these, thy latter-day apostate people,
MarkI lol the haoma6 —
before thee I sprinkle it,
6 Haoma -- An intoxicating drink used in the saeri
fieial ceremonies of Ancient Persia, equivalent to the
Hindu soma.
7
Glean, sweet, and pure,
As the tree from its wounded breast
Drips it into my splendid urn, seven-times washed.
fhis receive,
Accept it even as the blood of an innocent infant,
Even as the precious sweat of pregnant dams.
0 sublime majestic god,
How I have given thee
All of whatsoever there was
In my cottage
And in my soul —
Art thou gratified?
—
Jhou hast received
What thine enemies have forgotten to deliver
fo thine empty temples at Hashdishat,
3?o thy ruined, desolate temples.
Sow, genuflecting,
1 come into thy sacred fane,
(As I come unto our raee*s last standard-bearer, Yahuny),
And kiss the earth
Knowing how a portion of thy soul
Gives root and growth to the giant pines — And with arms outstretched,
lifted toward thee,
The wether's blood still dripping from my elbows,
I pray,
0 thou Yahakn, 0 god of my fathers,
1 pray . . .
To thy power and might,
To the might of religion in thine arm,
Thine arm with which thou sundered,
On a day,
The mouths of dragons *
With which thou scattered,
As seeds of sun,
The stars of the milky way:
To thy might,
Which is the flight and the soul of unending creation,
And to its infinite kiss
Which breathes upon the worlds
Fauna and flora and flame —
To thy might,
Which through its unending kiss
Fosters the essence and principle
Of the atom's Immortality
And the Immortality of the brain and will:
To thy might,
Which makes the seeds to crack,
Which makes the sap to rise,
Singing,
To the topmost branch of the oaks*
To thy might,
Which rocks our cradles
And after death wafts us up to the stars
And up into the spheres of yet another life:
To thy might,
y/hieh builds a nation
Instinct
With the courage of lions:
To thy might and.mighty ana,
Thine arm which pours its strength into the nation’s arm,
like a fiery condor under its luminous folded wings
Hatches its likeness —
so from our mothers* bosoms
There issue in thy likeness
Great men and heroes, heroes and great men;
To thy holy might,
To the might which makes thee holy,
And whose overflowing fountain of intelligence thou art,
0 thou Vahakn, behold,
1 pray • . • to thee I pray . • •
With my gory arms,outstretched,
I pray » . •
A Qotog to Battle.
pervades this poem.
A sense of patriotic idealism
Here the poet, through the monologue,
brings to hear against his sweetheart the arguments for
going to the ”Just battle.”
Below in the valleys defence­
less countrymen are waging a battle against the common enemy
the Turk.
The poet, too, must go down to the valley of war
but not without her.
They cannot, because they are lovers,
remain aloof from the pains of their people.
He asks his
virgin sweetheart to go to the battle with him; and, if he
should die, it will have been a kind of death for which
*1 had longed for a long time,* that is, dying while in the
service of his people.
He cannot, while his nation is being
massacred and annihilated, either serve his sweetheart or
his other mistress, poetry.
She must to the battleground
with him; while Dante and Tourian must be abandoned -- the
one to the flames, the other to the sepulchre.
She, his
sweetheart, must accompany him, if only to see with what
bravado he approaches the enemy and how fearlessly he falls;
she must accompany him if only to see how, after the battle
has been waged and the field is quiet and he himself is
numbered among the dead, how, where he fell, a !rlion will
forever roar.”
In the general massacres of 1895-1896, and in the
later massacres of 1908, hundreds of .Armenian poets, novel­
ists, scholars, and clergymen, yea thousands of them,
volunteered, to go into the ’Valley of death,” fight a losing
hattle with the enemy and die*
Yaroujean here writes#
It is of this feeling that
The poem will have a deeper poignancy
when the reader realizes that Yaroujean himself, in 1916,
under circumstances remarkably similar to those of which he
writes, met the same fate, only more cruel, with thousands
of his intellectual compatriots*
WA Going to Battle” has no rhymes and is written in
the free verse style.
A SOIHG TO BATTLE7
Forward! let us go, 0 maid of Armenia,
Thou eaglet who hast been lulled and lullabyed
With the gurgling of brooks
Which spring from mountain-sides,
To the just battle let us.go.
Ere the ray of the sun has reached the seed*
They kill yonder, yonder they slaughter
Life in the fields, ideals in the breast —
Yea, they slaughter yonder, yonder they kill
0 black-eyed maid, with love more ardent
1 would love thee,
If our palfreys, in one stride,
Should stamp together.
Leave the shuttle, whose clattering bobbins
Inspire in thee the song of silent hearts;
Leave the hearth at which ye flourish
As flourisheth
The zephyrous wafts of spring;
The hearth (remember?) where anon
Ye were made palpitant
With the plaintive cheeping of the chick,
7 Yaroujean, op. cit., pp. 139-142.
IS
Whom the dread kite in the field
With pecking beak wae strangling.
Remember that mount where first I saw thee,
When first I thought
How like a tall, slim rose-tree ye were?. . .
From the summit of that mount,
We, during the night, astride our palfreys,
And in parallel stride,
Will descend, 0 maid,
Into the tenebrous field. • .
The cold glitter of thy yatagan,
The lightning flashes of thine eyes,
(Struck from the sky of thy vengeance) ,
Illuming the road to war.
Ah, then, over thy shoulders,
Thy undone tresses thou wilt throw,
letting the bold tempest among them sing
nature's wild song.
And if like this we wend our way.
Thy muscles strengthening
With the palfrey's every bound,—
And when the flower
That on thy breast would yield its fragrance
Lies crushed beneath the hooves,
Then, in place of tender gallantry,
T© thy tempestuous lips I will resort,
3?q thy energetic and mellifluous kiss,
Whati because thou always foundest me
Sad before my secretaire and gloomy-souled,
Bidst thou think, 0 virgin maid,
i
■
>
That I would always'thus remain?
i
Whati didst thou think
I could not change in a trice
Into a dirk my pen,
My ink-stand into the bestial enemy’s red heart?
Well, exceeding well, can I change the Bream,
And rending its veils of zephyr
Render it nude.
Only to re-clothe it again
With the star-shaking tempests of war.
When yonder always they weep,
Because they die, and die because they weep,
Set thee hence both books and paper;
Bente to the flames I cast,
And Tourian,^ whom I loved so long,
Back to his sepulchre I throw.
8 Bedros Tourian, (1851-1872), a popular romantic
Armenian poet.
15
Pretty virgin, dost thou know
How little recks the world of others’ tears?
We, let us not sleep with the world’s sleep;—
Under the world’s quilt of passion
libidinous Venus whores delightfully,
And there, raped fhemis,
Gives birth to a brood of new Bacchuses,
Wounded, blood-stained, torn to pieces
Ihere in the valley below they wait for us —
Our comrades —
the people;
And, into my quiver
I have not forgot
fo place the fiery bolts of Mars,
I am now stronger than even love’s look,
'
And immutable more than fate:
Is not my comrade-in-arms a virgin,
And fire-winged love my pathfinder?
fhou, 0 virgin rose, there in the battlefield,
fhou, 0 turtle-dove, thou wilt be a flame consuming,
A sinewy eagle:
Is not the lover-male thy comrade,
And thy pathfinder the Ideal?
Perchance I may perish there —
Would that I might;
16
for a long while have I longed
To make of blood a blood-bespattered death-quilt,
A pillow from my fallen charger's wounded flank.
After having killed to die,
Ah, for that a long while I have longed.
If beneath the witnessing glance of the moon
The great helmet of Haik^
I have filled a few times
With the enemy's blood,
If I fall this way it matters not*
For, when upon a day my widely-wounded soul
Is awakened from the earth of the fatherland,
It will see the hungering orphan sated.
And the sated safes
The tiller in the field without fear,
And the field unruined,
Freedom progressive and life free,—
It matters not if I, this way, I fall,
At my grave I know the snake will never coil,
And thy forget-me-not, 0 Armenian maid,
Will foreverwhile stay blue;
9 Haik is a generic term in Armenian legend. Like
Jove, he is the father of all gods and a mighty warrior.
17
And a victorious lion there,
Its paw upon a leopard*s "breast,
Its head raised toward the stars,
Will forever with full lungs —
forever roar.
Cadavers on the Wagon.
^Cadavers on the Wagon,**
although a ghoulish, and, in some instances, a revolting
poem, is nevertheless lyrical and beautiful.
It is a poem
which describes the terrible effects of war —
mangled
bodies, bloodshed, and lonesomeness fif such a thing could
be) of men who have died far away from their loved ones, on
distant battlegrounds,
The effects of contrast drawn by the
poet are doubtless too sharp —
yet the poem would have lost
that subdued poignancy, which is its chief merit, if it did
not limn (in light and shade, as it were) the dualities of
mangled men and sun-rays weaving a shroud, of grannies
grouping around to pray as the wagon passes by, of a virgin
casting ^tear-soaked roses on the cart • . . which trundles by.
The chief effect of the poem is its sense of resignation and
passivity.
The poem is written in quatrains of alternating rhymes,
the first and third being rhymeless throughout.
The rhyming
lines are by a foot*® shorter than the unrhymed lines, thus
giving, in the Armenian, the effeet of an extended couplet.
Pr°P?rly p e e k i n g the t e r m ■Ku+'ra UA. r u A
(transliterated hadads) or a phrase should here be used;
Armenian prosody is not strictly dependent for its rhythms
on the foot — rather it is dependent on a phrase of rhythm*
a fluid unit of movement,
Cf. Aram Tolegian. Some Distin
uishing Characteristics of~Armenian Prosody (unpublished;
os Angeles: Department o f ”Comparative Literature, University of Southern California, 1939).
f
19
CADAVBKS 01 THE WAGOH11
At eventide on empty streets
A creaking cart is passing "by,
Before the cart a brownish mare,
Behind a soldier drunk with rye;
It is the hearsp. of mangled men
Winding toward the graveyard of their sires; —
The sun sends forth its dying rays
And weaves a shroud ere it retires;
The mare is lean —
she scarcely draws
The freightage of her wicked lords;
And certainly she ruminates
Of other things, her own rewards.
And from the spokes around the wheels
Bed "blood it is that trickles down,
As though the eart were laden with
.
Red roses gathered from the town.
¥aroujean, oju cit., pp. 111*-11S.
so
There on the cart the corses are,
Upon each other piled deep;
Here a corpse*s fist is thrust
Into a month left ,wide ajar:
.An old man there with chin smashed in
Still gazes on the vacant sky;
He must in death have muttered oaths —
So twisted seems his mouth and wry.
Through the clefts between the wagon’s floor
The viscera of some slip through
And sweep along the dusty street ~
While preying dogs lunge at the spew.
These mangled men, misshapen, torn,
Bear divers wounds from divers wars;
Yet toward the graveyard they are drawn
To lie with hold progenitors;
And not a soul bends over them
With sorrowing tears and blessings mute —
In the quiet the smell of blood lifts,
fuses with the zephyr*s flute.
21
Yet in the dark from pane to pane,
As rolls the cart along its way,
Some sputtering candles spew their flame,
And grannies group around to pray;
And now a beauteous Yirgin maid,
From a portico set'high,
Casts down her tear-soaked roses
On the cart which trundles by#
QHAPEER XI
IRANSLAflON OF SELECTIONS FROM
PAGAN SONGS1
To the Statue of Beauty.
With this sonnet serving
as a proem to the Pagan Songs. Yaroujean gives us the touch­
stone of all that is to follow.
terms and phrases —
Here we come upon familiar
Olympus, the classic sculptor, fire,
fury, virgins, sirens, sacrifices, temples, altars, washing
and feet washing} paganism and romanticism, blood-brothere
bb
they are, now combine to bring to the reader something
of the sensual quality of the Hear Eastern Oriental.
Roses
and. nightingales, perfumes and incense, full-bodied women,
wine and feasts —
this is the charm of the East and this is
what the poet has brought to us in his Pagan Songs.
Phis sonnet, like all of Yaroujean’s sonnets, is
composed of two quatrains and two tercets, the quatrains
rhymed a b h a, e d d ei the tercets e f e, f g g.
It must
be indicated that Yaroujean actually separates quatrain
from quatrain, and tercet from tercet.
noples
1 Daniel Varoujean, Pagan Songs fGalata, ConstantiShant, 1912} 330 pp. For Armenian title Of. Appendix,
TO THU STATUS OF BEAUTY2
Be thy marble quarried from Olympus'
Deepest womb, and 'neath my hammer be it hewn
A maid of fire and fury, love and life*
Thine eyes, be they abysses, wherein plunge
All men that would' immortalize their races
Thy contours, he they eaeh indelible,
Thy breasts, a harmony wherein bestir
The life-and-love-fulfilling essences;
Yea, be thou nude, as even the poet's soul,
And let the power of pagan nudity
Make man to suffer, never touching thee.
And when thy altars need a sacrifice,
First at thy feet, I first would be the slain,And feel my blood lave round thy faultless feet
2 *hid», pp. 9-10
24
Oriental Bath.
This 1b considered to he the poet's
most famous poem; and rightly, so.
For here it is that the
sensualist in the Oriental artist is fully at work.
Here
it is that the thick, heavy atmosphere of the Hear East is
re-created* and here it is that Varoujean uses to the utmost
i
(without even so much as playing around the fringes of
eroticism^ the objects and images of Oriental life.
The taking of a hath in the Hear East has as many
rituals, and takes about as long, as the rituals in a Coptic
church.
The bathhouse itself is an imposing edifice, with
its marble floors arid walls, its high dome done in mosaie,
its water and steam rooms, its cooling cubicles, and its
many masseurs equipped with ancient Roman strigils. A bath\
■
house is built in and around such areas as afford natural
springs.
Hence the bathhouses of Asia Minor, all of them,
are really natural springs of hot and cold water inclosed
by buildings chiefly in the Roman and Bysantihe architectures.
Reading Varoujian's "Oriental Bath” is like really
having a ring-side seat.
He observes each item of importance,
characterizes in a phrase here, a simile there, the institu­
tion of the Oriental bathhouse.
Baths are not taken in the
Hear East every day; but rather, when they are taken once
a week, or once every two weeks, they take from three to four
or five hours.
unchaperoned.
Women go to bathhouses in groups —
never
Groups of from ten to twenty-five, either
members of a single household, or members of a neighborhood,
gather together, go to the "bathhouse together, gossip to­
gether, "bathe and eat together, bathe each other and leave
for their homes again together.
It is the picture of the
entering of “the houris* with which Yaroujean "begins; and
he ends with the picture of rtthe houris1* wending their way
home through the narrow, hilly, and tortuous streets of Tokat.
The poem is written unrhymed throughout and in the
blank verse manner, though, to "be sure, "blank verse as we
know it in English does not exist in Armenian poetry.
What
we mean here "by the blank verse manner is that the poet has
employed a regular succession of phrase rhythms in lines of
equal length.
The Armenian language is predominantly poly­
syllabic, with the primary aecent almost always on the
penultimate.
Thus, in a poem like the “Oriental Bath,’* it
can be said that there is a more or less even distribution
of the anapestic. measure, with rare alternations of the
amphibrachic and haeehie.^
3 Tokat — A town on the Anatolian Plateau.
It is
at Tokat that Yarou^ean wrote the “Oriental Bath," as well
as “The Working-Woman,“ Of. Luther Gorgodian, “A Year with
Yaroujean,** Phenix. Yol. TTt, Ho. V: 1621-1624, May, 1920.
^ For a fuller discussion of Armenian prosody, O f .
Aram Tolegian, Some Distinguishing Characteristics of
Armenian Prosody,(unpublished; Los Angeles: Department of
Comparative"Literature, University of Southern California,
1939J.
ORIEITAL BATH5
The green-domed bath*s inner door opens idly,
And as it grates and sweats the livelong day,
There pounds against its massive ehon frame
A hraee of heavy pendant pulley-weights,
ifhieh -now describe an arc fall wide and neat
Inviting in a group of naked houris,
Who enter in full-lingeringly and slow;
All naked and surpassing "beautiful
They are —
their arms are folded modest-wise
Across their beauteous breasts, the swells whereof
Are weighed down on their forearms, and spangled through
With brownish nipples bobbing to and fro;
Their wooden sandals, wrought in mother of pearl,
Clink sharply on the damp and marble floor;
Within the bath their low melodious voices,
Their breaths* soft pants, to muffled tinkling turn.
And as the vaporous billows rise within
The bath, like moistened veils, enveloping
Their naked bodies, which now start to bud
With sweat, their eyes give off a humid luster,
Like blinking stars seen through a foggy sky,
Houris are at their bathsJ —
some, lengthened out
5 Yaroujean, op, cit., pp. 53-56,
On warm navelstones, dream with languid looks,
While from the light-diffusing dome the sun*s
White ray is filtering through like pearly rain
Rendering into a silvery sea the cumbrous,
Floating vapors, wherethrough swim the sensual
Swans of Orient lands; and now they cast
The towels aside which had clung like sea-weed
To their thighs, —
loj their bodies turn to statues*
And now their tresses, hraid on braid, like billows
On a sea of storm, unravel, wherefrom
Escape at intervals some preeious stones*
Those tresses, 0 those tresses, with which
It seems the whole bath undulates, darkening,
In their raven sway, the white and granite
Ravelstones*
Their tresses —
they comb their long,
long tresses down to the endless tips
With golden-gilded combs, as their fingers
Swim in the sparkle of their diamond rings.
The houris sometimes languid feel and faint,
And sometimes shiver suddenly, when from
The nebulous dome above, descend some cold
And cooling dewdrops straight between their breasts*
Behold! the marble founts, the thousand taps,
Row bursting one upon the other with
Tumultuous bubbling, as ashen vapors,
38
Rising domeward, lift sinuously and slow;
On every side the waters overflow
And wind their way toward empty water troughs.
Houris are at their bathsf
Canovia's graces
Seem they all and as closely intertwined,
As gathered round the sparkling marble basins,
they bathe their breasts, their shapely limbs and arms,
And all adjacent areas of flesh;
And, seated on the navelstones, their thighs
Amplify and spread, and drink the sensuous
Waters which glide thereby and titillate.
Beholdl the golden dippers ring across
the stones; the box-tree dippers sometimes crack
like hearts when in the service of these nudes;
the argyl-cool, thyme-scented clay dissolves
As it is stroked through flowing waves of hair*
transforming it to silk; the cleansing clay
Anoints the bosoms, hiding them in foam;
And, with the coolness of the argyl*s foam,
Its slippery substanee, the houris refresh
themselves and rub their bellies velvet-smooth,
like shingles on a river's whitened beach,
the waters boil and lave to purity
these charming nymphs of Oriental Fire.
And now from every side the navelstones
Away and downward flow the waters,
Hurtling straightway toward the sewer-troughs,
Investing even these with perfumed scents*
With lime and argyl the water is gray,
And, as its torrent swells, it carries along
Frizzles from the arm-pits, brown twinings from
The hair, and downy leavings from these white
And animated statues, who now fill
Exhaustedly their final dippers full
And pour them listlessly adown their backs*
The boiling waters run, once more the bath
Uproars, the sewer-troughs once more are filled,
Once more the houris bathe .
—
their skins take fire
Like flaming full-blown roses in the sun.
With languid eyes and dippers at their heads
They bathe their smooth and ample bosoms clean.
With vapors rarefied and red as tulips.
File on file, the houris issue from the bath.
0 the superabundant locks aslant their breasts,
0 the wetted curls weighed down with water-drops,
With drops that fall as mother-of-pearl about
Their dainty, dimpled rabbit feet; to sing,
0 but to sing their charms and perfumes rare,
Their bodies* glow, the sandals, silks and veils
Those fingers which but today were dipped into
30
The depths of henna howls, as in a bloody
Heart, let me hnt kiss them; and let me
Kiss those tresses, made soft with oils sweet,
Tresses which in the night, "beneath the moon,
©ive off their odors to the down-filled pillows;
Yea to kiss, to press against my lips,
Their aromatic hrows, cirrous lashes,
Bosoms bedecked in brilliant lavaliers,
The stones whereof irradiate as torches
Around the bridal bed —
0 but to press
My lips against their navels, wherein, deep-concealed,
Abide the hashishes of Araby
And Afric muskI
How homeward bound, and burdened
Prettily with precious stones and
rare,
And scented airily with oils and thyme,
The fragrance whereof aSrates the paths,
The city squares, and scents the leavings in
The lunoheon-pails and wafts its perfumes deep
Within the folds of undulating skirts,—
How homeward bound they wend their several ways;
The biting cold becrimsoning their cheeks,
The pavements echoing their footfalls* sounds,
And, perfumed footfalls on Oriental streets,
Tracing footprints as sweet as flowers that bloom
In May, will make the streets themselves to think
That Spring, the Spirit of Spring is passing "by.
3S
The Flickering; Lamp.
This trio of quatrains, though
not written- as a literary ballad, has nevertheless the
qualities characteristic of a ballad.
in its narrative}
It is simple,and :ddriect
its refrains possess the quality of incre-
mental repetition} its choice of simple words, and the more
homely phrases, instinct with rustic life, lends to it the
touch which makes of it a genuine ballad.
Here, in twelve
lines, the poet has achieved the distinction of telling a
whole story, a tragic story —
full of the poignant sorrows
and disappointments of his time.
The use of the word bride (Armenian
U uuu
js
.
transliterated hKrss) in the Armenian idiom has connotations
the equivalents of which are non-existent in the English
language.
The word bride is used in the Armenian not only
U
l'
"•
'.
S
to indicate the status of a girl just married, but also to
indicate the status of bridehood as a permanent condition of
life.
Thus, a mother-in-law, a father-in-law, call their
son’s wife their bride; and the neighbors to the fatherand mother-in-law will say of the bride that she is so-andso’s bride, but will not say of her that she is the bride of
the groom; and, moreover, no matter how old the bride becomes
she is forever called a bride.
All that has been said of
the bride is also true of the bridegroom.
In ”The Flickering Lamp,” therefore, the vocable,
bride, must be regarded as a term of sentiment, endearment
33
and possessiveness*
Here the hride is hut an accessory to
the narrative, iust as her mother-in-law is its chief
character*
She groom *s mother has heard reports that her
son, coming hack from the wars, has achieved distinction in
the field*
She expects her son to return with the air of a
hero, when she finds that the cart approaching her homestead
is a hearse, her boy's lifeless body upon it,
fhrough the
symbol of the lamp the whole story is told rapidly and
effectively.
THE FLICKERING LAMP6
•This festive night Ts the night of triumph —
Pour oil into the lamp, 0 Bride,
My hoy returns a victor from the ware —
Prim well, trim well the wiefc, 0 Bride*
A wagon stops afront the door, "beside the well —
Light up, light up the lamp, 0 Bride,
My hoy returns with hay-leaves on his hrow -~
Bring up, hring up the lamp, 0 Bride,
Lo • • * with hlood and "brief the wagon’s laden •
Hold up, hold up the lamp, 0 Bride.
There lies my valiant son shot through the heart
Oh . * . snuff out, snuff out the lamp, 0 Bride
6 rbid*. p, 191.
35
The Betrayed Virgins.
Here is told again the familiar
tale of the poor, innocent, virginal girls, laboring as
sempstresses, being taken into the confidence of rich young
men and, in the end, being despoiled.
It is an old, old
story and its use here, by the poet, would have little
significance were it not for the classical fetishism with
which the Armenian of the old school regards the word
virgin.
like the ancient Greeks and Homans, the Armenians
themselves had built a cult around the concept of virginityi
and, as with the Greeks and Homans, the word virgin is regularly seen in their literature.
It is not so much a ques­
tion of whether the Armenians are a more moral or leBS moral
race than others as it is that the Armenians, being an
ancient race and still surviving, have kept alive the his­
toric and oultietie fetishism of virginity as a symbol of
chastity,
It is this traditional MaiEyolotry which gives to
the poem of Yaroujean its real meaning, when he indicts the
rich “magnificent buffoons’* so mercilessly, and, to the
Armenian mind, so tellingly.
Of course, the undeceiving of virgin girls goes on to
this day everywhere, and we mete out severe punishment to
doers of evil.
Insofar as this is true the poet speaks of
a universal? but insofar as the m o d e m world’s making a
fetish of it goes, he speaks of only a segment of tradition
in the history of an ancient race*
In wfhe Betrayed Yirgins,1* Yaroujean has used epiatrains with alternating rhymes, the closing line of each
quatrain heing shorter "by two anapestic measures than the
first three lines.
37
THE BETRAYED YIRGINS7
You labor in the huts, aside the just flambeaux,
Sewing shrouds for rich folk, more often robesi
Your bony fingers, the needle between them, tremble from
The cold —
though unperturbed your souls.
But Desire unholy conspired against your hunger
And bought your bodies, selling whole your soulsi—
So divinely purblind is unprotected innocence
That it doth yield to pledge and smile.
0 those rich young blades, those magnificent buffoons,
Who sowed their gold to reap your cleanly flesh,—
They —
they who entered into your huts as innocent lovers
And left with laughter in the ends
To them your hearts became as only a wine-glass fair,
Which the drunkard, upon drinking, smashes
With delight —
and on a day when mothers you became.
They left you mateless and in tears.
7 Ibid., pp. 247-249.
58
And so you walked tlie streets.—
You who were'as pure crystals,
Trampled on "by men, have now become as mire.
Even so the buffoonsr crime grows as a germ deep in
Your wombs and brims with sacred love.
Qatinna you were called —
or, ostracized Pantine,
Who with harlotry her motherhood did guard*,
Margarita you were named, from Hell itself defiled,
And Mary herself defiled from Heaven.
And there anear the well I see one of you stand
And women laughing at your growing girth;
Prom you the spotless virgins hie away and leave
You standing with your water-psil.
Porlorn in the darkness of her hut yet another
I see, her hair aslant her new-born babe;-How to the tender mouth she brings her breast, wherefrom
She feeds her child with tears of milk.
And here a beauteous blonde, now become a trollop
In the street, lightly plights her faith for bread;
And on a day when penniless she knocks against
The bordel*s door, Hell itself is hers.
And you whose blush is thickly coated o ’er with paint
You give your body to the lecheries of love,—
Save for the sacred bloodbeats in your mother’s womb.
Your flesh is fouled in venery.
0 my luckless sisters, upon you tears I shed,
Shutting my eyes from shame, at your shame I weep,W o t in the khan the bulky barrel’s top is crowned
With the coronal of your chastity.
Upon my soul your tainted tresses creep like snakes,
like poisonous snakes, breathing gall into my blood
And I rap out an oath on mankind’s pandering ways,
On all its fustian Golden Calves.
40
The Working-Woman.
Eecurring constantly through the
greater body of Yaroujean’s poems is the theme of women;
now women as mothers and wives and grandmothers —
now women
as chaste maids and beautiful creatures and factory hands.
It is of the factory-working girl that he speaks in "The
Working-Woman."
Always compassionate, always commiserative,
the poet here, more than in any other poem, bewails the fate
of women in his country and, as usual,.offers them his
protective arm.
In "The Working-Woman" Varoujean sees pass, beneath
his window, in the early hours of dawn, $ frail, tubercular
girl, ill-shod and with the look of hunger in her face.
He sees how the "lowly lurk" lewdly whistles after her.
He sees a determination in her face, as though she were
conscious of the conflict she is going through; and he guesses
that her aged mother "lies sick" at home.
He wants to talk
to her, tell her Bhe is his sister and how ready he is. to
succor and protect her "mirthless race."
Finally, in a
burst of the deepest compassion, he offers her all that is
his by right of conquest and fame, if only she would never
have to work again, and if only she would be free of cough­
ing and hunger.
In "The Working-Woman"" Yaroujean uses quatrains,
the first and third lines unrhymed, the second and fourth
rhymed.
The rhyming lines are by a foot shorter than the
unrhymed lines*
She dactylic rhythm predominates through'
out the poem, and is alternated occasionally with medial
substitutions of the anapestic measure.
THE WORKING-WOMAN8
From beneath my window like a wraith
Ye pass, as at every dawn 1 see thee,
And as ye pass^around thy virginal head
Descend the petals of my rose-tree,
I hear thy footfalls in the quiet street
And the wakeful whelps that growl and sneer;
Or deep in my slumber I hear the rasping
Crack of the cough that brings thy tear.
As thy floating figure falters in the wind
Starved, methinks, and sleepless thou must be;
Yet, the falling frosts that gather at thy curls
Seem as sapphires on a silken sea;
Or methinks thy footgear frayed and t o m
With pools of water eddying through;
Or a lowly Turk with passion base
Is lewdly whistling after you;
8 Ibid;, pp. 199-301,
And wh.ile ye to the workshop tread,
(Ye think for light and life ye go),
Methinks at home thy mother lies siok,
And the oil in the lamp turns low.
Yea, I think . . .
and like a madman I long
To leave my window from above yon,
And come down close to yon, kiss your lean hands,
And suspiring whisper *1 love yon."
W o t 1 love, 0 sister, I love thy grief
And grieving, which is my grief supreme,
I love the battered breast which still can sing
fhe burden of a lark even though a dream;
I love the sleepy dirge thy presses sing
As they flow and fall adown thy frame,
Shey tell a tale of thirst and hunger
And how they would a maiden maim.
And, 0 sister sad and sombre, sister mine,
With thee I would share my strength, my fame,
And taking thee unto my breast, thou dovelet
Soft and straying, wed thee to my name;
I would make of ray heart a shield for thee*
Defend thy breast, of thy honor he the veil,
4nd, under the mighty sway of my arm#
Protect thy mirthless race, thy beauty frail?
I would giro thee all that strife hath given.
M l
the spoils Of life and lugtlhood,
Bngarland thee with conquest —
'triumph
colored*
tinted rosea of my blood,—
Tea, all this and more lest thou be pale and sad,
lest thou at misty daws to workshop run,
lest the lamp above thy wasting mother h u m low,
lest thou, 0 sister, cough beneath the sun*
(
CHAPTEB III
TRANSLATION DESELECTIONS FEOM
THE SONS Of BBEAD1
S £ 'fche Muse.2
The proem to The Song of Bread, this
sonnet at once initiates the reader into the rustic themes
of the volume.3
The staple rustic themes and objects are
enumerated in the sonnets
"the hardened husbandman," wheat*
wheatfields, mill-stones* flour, dough, the peasant and his
soili mid the themes of making bread, sowing wheat, and
plowing are, each of them, suggestively introduced*
Throughout the poems in The Song of Bread the authen­
tic strain of a poet-farmer is ever-present.
The farmer’s
delight in viewing his wheatfields "waving as a sea of
emeralds;" his simple unawed rapture at the descent of
"wheat-sees'* from down the slopes of familiar hills; and his
rootedness in the soil which brings him his daily bread
^ Daniel Taroujean, The Song of Bread (Constantinople:
Cf-. Appendix for Armenian title.
0. Arzouman, 19Eli 95 pp.
& For a notation of the type of sonnet structure which
Varoujean uses Cf. p. EE, notes to "The Statue of Beauty."
3 As has been explained, Cf. Introduction, p. xvl,
the title-poem to The Song of Bread was never written.
It
might be hazarded that the poet was leaving the composition
of the title-poem last, that he might the better have
succeeded in epitomizing, into its lines, the various themes
of sundry poems.
and health —
each of these experiences is related with a
concreteness of fact and indigenousness of, conception only
within the grasp of a real farmer and real poet.
Yaroujean
is eminently "both farmer and poet in fhe Song of Bread.
47
TO THE MJSE4
Teach, me, 0 thou muse of my sires, teach me
How the hardened husbandman, in clinging
To the crooked handle of his plow, rends
The barren soil's chests and how, beneath
The cascade of the sunrays, the russet
Wheat is pyramided into stacks, and
How the mill-stones groan, how overflows,
Around the hread-pan, the mass of leavened dough,
And how the dough is baked in ever-fired
Peasant ovens; and how bread, holy bread,
Scatters mirth to many, strength to alls
Teach me, and crown my lyre with ears of wheat,
As by the wheat-staek, beneath the willow's
Shade I sit and lo, all my songs are bora.
4 Yaroujean,
op. eit. , pp. 5,6.
48
fillers* flie poem "fillers” reminds one of the
painting of Millet's famous "The Reapers;" hut one is only
reminded of this because of the sharp contrast of the sub­
jects in both scenes.
In "The Reapers" the subjects are
bent, worn, haggard — as though the labor of reaping had
left them but hulks of their former selves.
The subjects
seem healthless and hopeless and dejected.
In the "fillers" of Yaroujean one is made aware of
the "mighty children of the fields," beneath whose "sway of
strength the soil throbs," and in whose "broadened veins the
sunrays course."
When these children of the soil stalk
"across the fields, . . . Mother-earth itself doth tremble
from the womb."
When they sow in the furrows, "mirth it is
they sow," and "God but gather from the furrows on their
brow, goodness."
Robustness, health, and hope predominate
the picture of the "fillers."
They are strong and mighty
children of the soil, not the soil's slaves.
It might be profitable to urge upon the consideration
of the observant that whereas the reapers, in Millet's
painting, are peasant-farmers and the result of a civili­
zation chiefly technological, the tillers of Yaroujean are
the peasant-farmers of a primitive society, with primitive
hopes and primitive ambitions.
This might explain the lack
of hope in one class of peasant and the abundance of it in
the other.
At any rate, it is refreshing to conjure up. the
49
picture of a real farmer really erg eying his work, and
hoping for nothing more than that the soil he made to yield
the abundance which his labors exact*
TILLERS5
They are the mighty children of the fields,
The tillers of the soil around my town,
Who weave with pearly sweat sweet nature’s crown;
Beneath their sway of strength the soil throbs,
And in their broadened veins the sunrays course.
And when they walk with heavy steps across
The fields, though not a single sprig is bruised,
Mother-earth itself doth tremble from the womb.
Their heads are never bowed before the shrine,
But speckled are with gold-dust of the straw.
Among the furrows, mirth it is they sow,
And Sod but gathers from the furrows on
Their brow, goodness; than the song of flowing sap
And growing buds, no other song they know,
lhat though the oxen ’s froth is on their hands,
And stable-smells reek from their motley cloaks —
The sundry seeds from out their palms first sprout
5 Ibid., pp, 9,10.
51
First Sprouts,
The life of the farmer can he as con­
templative and reflective as the life of an urban philosopher.
In ’•First Sprouts,** aside from the beauties of the familiar
fields in which the farmer daily moves, there is the re­
flection, on his part, that the **dew of my sweat,** tfthe
spittle of my ox,” and **the ray of the sun,” all combine to
produce the first sprouts in his fields.
Something of the
farmer’s self and his labor is seen in each sprout,
The
farmer feels that nature and he both conspire to produce
a wrobe of emeralds*1 on the surface of Mother larth.
This
sense of the farmer’s kinship to Sature and to the forces
beyond and within himself, together with the beauties of the
field, results in his gospel of hpp^. and faith.
In **girst Sprouts,** Varoujean has employed stanzas
of five lines each, with the seoond and fourth lines and the
third and fifth lines rhymed, the first line being left
unrhymed throughout.
The second, fourth and fifth lines
regularly take an anapestie measure a foot shorter than the
trimeter anapest-dactyls of the first and third lines.
The
rhythmic effect of such a stanzaic structure gives,, in the
Armenian, a rare melody of movement, at once lyrical and
strophic.
EIRST SPROUTS6
from "beneath the earth the teeming sap
Explodes the seeds? the fields tonight,
Beneath the cool spring-moon, are turning green . . ,
— Mother, fetch me a sprout,
The dew of my sweat upon it.
Riotously, furiously they have sprung,
Shot forth, found the air: "behold, the sprouts I
A robe of emeralds sways across the plains • . •
—
Sister, fetch me a sprout,
The spittle of my ox upon it.
There glitters from field to field, from plot to plot,
Bike green candles, a multitude of greening sprouts,
ind every sprout holds in its mouth a pearl . . .
— Herdsman, fetch me a sprout,
The ray of the sun upon it.
6
» PP* 23,24.
The sprouts they dress the wastes of earth with life
And give to "bread its early smells and flowers,
While among their verdure swim the brownish clods .
—
Bride, fetch me a sprout,
Thy fingers * fragrance upon it.
There, alone in the fields, my almond tree
Has blossomed —
there in the sprouting fields * . .
— Mother, sister, herdsman, bride,
From yonder fetch me flowers,
fetch me flowers rosy-hued,
With the reaperrs hope upon them.
. 54
She Ripe Field.
Here the poet has employed a verse
form not in his usual metier.
The iambic trimeters regular­
ly seen in the first and third lines of each stanza are all
of them eatalectic.
In our English version we have tried
to approximate this rhythm, only with a view of trying to
retain something of the unique flow of rhythm the poem
obtains in the Armenian.
Except for the- first line of. the
last stanza, the first line of the poem is used as an initial
refrain.
The effects of such a refrain are productive of
mixed results.
Where such an initial refrain is used, as,
for instance, in the triolet or villanelle, it gathers from
its repetition an increment and a lyrical force very desir­
able, indeed, in a lyric.
Yet, when it is used in the
manner in which Yarojean employs it, it may he questioned
whether its artless use yields a repetitive increment.
It is also proper to ask whether, in a language such
as the Armenian, (where a greater majority of the words are
either compounds or polysyllabic), the use and propriety of
iambic catalecties and units of rhythm in the dimeter will
not always result in strainedness and artifice.
This ques­
tion may more especially be asked when a poem, such as
i
"The Ripe Field, " strikes a lyrical note.
"The Ripe Field" is rhymed in the second and fourth
lines, the first and third being left unrhymed.
THE BIP1 H E L D 7
My field is golden . . .
And as with fire
The wheat is aflame
In a furious gyre.
My field is golden . . .
Beneath the stalks
The soil is soft —
Aloft high heaven rocks.
My field is golden . . .
In the sun, unsubdued,
four-pronged wheat spikes are,
Each one amber-hued.
My field is golden . . •
like lightning on the sea,
Through the wheat spears pass
Bee, moth and humble-bee.
7 Ibid., pp. 2 7 ,58.
56
My field is golden • • .
Winging from the sea,
Oftimes, through the wind,
fhere .soars a bright canary.
i
Roek-a-hye, 0 golden field,—
Grrant me a space, 0 field,
When I may come with silvery scythe
And reap thy golden yield.
57
Wheat Seas.
Yaroujean *s "Wheat Seas” is justly famous
*
in Armenian poetical literature.
Its rhythms flow easily and
constantly suggest the free movement of wind over fields of
wheat.
Aside from the nearly perfect accord of word rhythm
with wind rhythm, the poem is famous for the clear-cut images
which it delineates,
fhe Armenian people, having for cen­
turies past heen an agricultural people, can easily appreci­
ate the images which Yaroujean "brings to them in "Wheat Seas."
Wheat, as it later becomes bread and a source of
common sustenance, has come to be regarded the world over as
a symbol of health; and in the literature of almost every
country it is so used.
But, among the Armenians, wheat as
a symbol of health has an even greater currency in their
literature.
W o t six centuries they have been a conquered and
persecuted race under the Shirks; before that their history
has been punctuated for many centuries with invasions, plun­
der and pillage.
Consequently, their homes were razed and
their fields ruined.
More often than not, throughout the
centuries, the Armenian has had looming before him the
spectre of hunger.
It iB doubtless for this reason that
Yaroujean's "Wheat Seas" has an especial significance and
has, because of that significance, merited the fame which
it is accorded b y all Armenians.
Composed in five-line stanzas, "Wheat Seas" is rhymed
a b b a a.
In the original the first and fifth lines are of
equal length, composed in iambic dimeters and employed
throughout the poem as refrains*
The second, third, and
fourth lines are of .equal length and are done in Iambic
hexameters, with an occasional initial, terminal or medial
anapest breaking through the established pattern*
WHEAE SEAS8
Winds pass —
My wlieaten plots tenderly awake,
Infinite quivers over tliem "breaks —
Bown the sides of the hill
Seas pass.
Winds pass —
So much are the fields ablaze with green
The grazing kids will glut upon the scene;—
from the floor of the wave-laden valley
Seas pass.
?/inds pass — *
And now the waving wheat fields, like a rohe of gold,
How sundered stand, now sewn as one upon the wold; —
How from the.shadows, now through the sun-gleams.
Seas pass.
8 Ibid., pp. 29„SO,
Winds pass —
In spears of wheat green kernels undulate
Moonflooded with the moon's white milk of late}--»
From threshing-floor to thorp, from thorp to mill,
Seas pass.
Winds pass —
With emeralds the /boundless plains are full a-wave —
Perched on swinging spears of wheat the sparrows rave
While from all around the tempest-beaten wheat fields,
Seas pass,
Winds pass.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
BIBLIOGRAPHY
I. ARMENIAN
A* Books
Apeghian, M., A View of the Armenian language. Erivan,
. Armenia*
State- Fuhliehing Bouse, 1931.
S16 pp.
Apeghian, T. M ., The Metrics of the Armenian Language.
Erivan, Armenia* Melkoniah "Fund Publishers, 1'933.
459 pp.
Aucher, Father Paschal, and. Brand, John, Dictionary*
English-Armenian. Venice: She Press of the Armenian
Academy of St. Lazarus, 1868. 815 pp.
Bedrossian, Rev. ffi. M., Armenian-English Dictionary.
Venice*
St. Lazarus Armenian Academy, 1675-1879.
786 pp.
Chakmakjian, H, E., (ed.), A Comprehensive Dictionary*
English-Armenian. Bos ton* E. A. Yeran Publishers,
1922. 1424 pp.
E. H. A., Dictionary* Classic Armenian and Modem Armenian.
Venice* San Lazarro, i860. 572 pp.
Kapamajian, Simon, Armenian Dictionary.
1910.. 1406 pp.
Constantinople*
Easabian, M. S., The Metrical Art of the Armenian Language.
Constantinople* B. Balentz Publishers, 1695.
110 pp.
Khashmanien, H., Armenian Encyclopedia Almanac * Boston*
Privately printed, 1924. 752 pp.
Kourken, H., A Concise Art of Metrics (Armenian*) Classical
and Modern. ConstantTnople* H. Matteosian Publishers,
1897. 110 pp.
Paloudsian, Hagop, A Concise Metrics (Armenian}.
Turkey* Hoghtar Publishers, 1911. 31 pp.
Sepastia,
Papazian, Z . D. S., Armenian-Arnerican Dictionary. Con­
stantinople* E. Mateosian, 19057 507 pp.
62
Teriakian, Dr. H., Armenian Metrics. Hew York: Armenia
Press, n.d. ”102 pp.
Yesayian Alumni Foundation, Literary Lectures: Daniel
Yarou^ean rs "Pagan Songs,1* Pamphlet Ho. 3. Con­
stantinople: O.Arzouman, 1913. 47 pp.
B. Periodicals and newspapers
Hote: While we were pursuing our research into
Yaroujean material at the Hekhitarist Monastery at Yenice,
the European war suddenly closed the use of the monastery's
library to us. With what notes we had, we have prepared
the following periodical bibliography, believing that the
information it contains, although not-complete in every
instance, deserves preservation — especially as the
Journals indicated in the bibliography are now considered
well-nigh inaccessible.
"Adroushsn," (pseudonym), fashenk Weekly,
secret, 1910.
Publication
Antreekian, Father, Pszmaveb Monthly, Yenice: San Lazzaro,
1907.
Gforgodian, Luther, "A Year with Yaroujisn," Bhenix.
Boston, May, 1920.
Haig, Yahe, "Daniel Yaroujian and His Song of Bread,n
Haireneek Daily. Boston, April 1, 19£"2.
Harutounian, Ardashes, in Psafn Hafrenyatz. Boston, 1910.
Markar, (pseudonym), in Kegharvesd Monthly.
Boston, 1910.
Melikian, E, S., "Yaroujian and His Art,'' Phenix.
May, 1920..
Boston:
Pailag, (pseudonym), in Arevelk Daily. Constantinople, 1910.
Pchobanian, Arshag, in Anahit. Paris, 1907.
Yeretzian, Leon, in Asbarez Weekly. Fresno, 1910.
Yesajanian, Leon, in Azadamard Daily. Constantinople, 1910.
63
II.
EUGLISH
Blackwell, Alice Stone, Armenian Poems. Boston: Robert
Chambers, 1917. E95 pp.
Boyajian, 2. C., Armenian Legends and Poems. London:
J. M. Bent & Sons, 1916. 196 pp.
Gummere, P. B.. A Handbook of Poetics.
1895. B5U ppl
~
Boston: Ginn,
Lanier, Sidney, Tlie Science of English Terse. Hew York:
Scribner &’Sons, 1927. 302 pp."
t
Perry, Bliss, A Study of Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Company, 1920'.' 396 pp.
Saintsbury, George, A History of English Prosody, 3 vols*
London: Macmillan, 1923.
Polegian, Aram, Some Distinguishing Characteristics of
Armenian Prosody, Pos Angeles: *‘
Unpublished; Uepart
ment of Comparative Literature, University of
Southern California, 1939. 48 pp.
III.
FREICH
Maeler, Frederic, Contes Armeniens, ffraduits de 1 TArm^nien
Moderne. Paris: Leroux, 1905.
fchobanian, Arshag, Chants Populaires Arm&niens, Preface de
Paul Adam. Paris: Soeilte df Editions Litt&raires
etArtistigues, 1903.
, L *Armenie? son Histoire, sa Litterature, son Role
en~~LTOrient. avec une Introduction par Anatole Prance.
ParTs** Society du Mercure de Prance, 1897.
______ , Poernes Armeniens, Anciens et Modernes; Precede
d*u^.e Stude de Gabriel Mourey sur la To&sie et 1 'Art
Armeniens. Paris: Librairie A. Charles, 1903T7
APPENDIX
APPEBDIX
Hotel
Following 1 b a list of the published works of
Daniel tfarouiesn; in each oase a transliteration of the
Armenian title is given in parentheses immediately following
the English title.
Phe translations contained in the hody
of this thesis are of selections made from the first three
volumes named.
•Yaroujesn, Daniel, fhe Heart of the Race (Segheen Seerda).
Constantinople: Ardzeev""Press, 1909•
2 4 9 pp.
.» P&ggfr Songs (Hetanoe Yerker).
nople* Shant, 19l£. 336 pp.
Calata, Constanti­
, (Phe Song of Dread (Hatseen Yerka).
‘0. Arzonman, 1921.
1
.* -Preroors (S a r s o u m e r ) •
astery, 1 9 0 ^
pp.
Yenice:
Constantinople:
St. Lazzaro Mon­
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