Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Don José

From Prosper Mérimée, 1845, Carmen, Chapter I (Translated from the French by Mary Loyd)...

the air he sang was strange and sad. As to the words, I could not understand a single one of them.

"If I am not mistaken," said I, "that's not a Spanish air you have just been singing. It's like the zorzicos I've heard in the Provinces, and the words must be in the Basque language."

"Yes," said Don Jose, with a gloomy look. He laid the mandolin down on the ground, and began staring with a peculiarly sad expression at the dying fire. His face, at once fierce and noble-looking, reminded me, as the firelight fell on it, of Milton's Satan.

Like him, perchance, my comrade was musing over the home he had forfeited, the exile he had earned, by some misdeed.

I tried to revive the conversation, but so absorbed was he in melancholy thought, that he gave me no answer.

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