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The Ruined Maid

On Monday, we shared QuickSilver president Colin Whiteley’s translation of a sonnet by Lope de Vega. Below you will find Estrella Whiteley’s response, a rendering of Thomas Hardy’s The Ruined Maid. First, the original:

“O Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?
And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?”
“O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?” said she.

“You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,
Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;
And now you’ve gay bracelets and bright feathers three!”
“Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined,” said she.

-“At home in the barton you said ‘thee’ and ‘thou,’
And ‘thik oon,’ and ‘theäs oon,’ and ‘t’other’; but now
Your talking quite fits ‘ee for high compa-ny!”
“Some polish is gained with one’s ruin,” said she.

“Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak
But now I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek,
And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!”
“We never do work when we’re ruined,” said she.

“You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,
And you’d sigh, and you’d sock; but at present you seem
To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!”
“True. One’s pretty lively when ruined,” said she.

“I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,
And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!”
“My dear a raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,” said she.

And here is Estrella’s version, couched, like Hardy’s, in a direct, engaging register. Do note the skillful handling of the dialect expressions in the third verse.

La Moza Perdida‏

¡Mi querida Melia, de vuelta por fin!
¿Quién esperaría verte por aquí?
¿Con tanta riqueza, con ropas tan bellas?
“Soy una perdida”, le contestó ella.

Te fuiste en harapos, sin nada en los pies,
Rendida de tanto espigar la mies;
Tus joyas, ahora, brillan como estrellas,
“Cual perdida visto” le respondió ella.

Antes, en el pueblo, “agüela” decías;
Y “güevos”, y “leches” y otras groserías,
Tu lengua semeja de rica
doncella, “La ruina refina”, le contestó ella.

Las manos cual patas, la tez amarilla;
Ahora subyugan tus suaves mejillas,
Tus pequeños guantes de color grosella.
“Nunca trabajamos”, le replicó ella.

La vida casera te causaba enojos,
Suspiros y llantos; ahora, son tus ojos
Brillantes luceros, gloriosas centellas.
“Estamos contentas”, le respondió ella.

Quisiera tus plumas, vestidos de cola,
Hermoso semblante, pasear a solas.
“Una porbre honrada, aunque sea bella,
No tendrá esas cosas”, le respondió ella.

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