I have set myself the challenge of translating ‘Storia di una Capinera’ by Giovanni Verga into English at the rate of a word a day.
Avevo visto una povera capinera chiusa in gabbia . . .
The next new word in the text is ‘bene‘.
My dictionary gives this as:
bene (avv.) = well
When bene follows the verb volere (volere bene) it is translated as ‘to love’. In our text we have ‘volevano bene’ = ‘they loved’. This is preceded in the text by the direct object ‘le’ = her.
So the full phrase ‘le volevano bene’ is translated as ‘they loved her’.
Here is an example:
C’era una volta una dolce bambina, e tutti le volevano bene.
Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl and everyone loved her.
The story so far
Storia di una capinera
Avevo visto una povera capinera chiusa in gabbia: era timide, triste, malaticcia ci guardava con occhio spaventato; si rifuggiava in un angolo della sua gabbia, e allorché udiva il canto allegro degli altri uccelletti che cinguettavano sul verde del prato o nell’azzurro del cielo, li seguiva con uno sguardo che avrebbe potuto dirsi pieno di lagrime. Ma non osava ribellarsi, non osava tentare di rompere il fil di ferro che la teneva carcerata, la povera prigioniera. Eppure i suoi custodi le volevano bene . . .
Story of a blackcap
I had seen a poor blackcap locked in a cage: it was timid, sad, sickly it watched us with terrified eye; taking shelter in a corner of its cage, and when it heard the joyful song of the other small birds that were singing on the green of the meadow or in the blue of the sky, she followed them with a gaze that one would have been able to say to oneself, full of tears. But she dared not rebel, she dared not try to break the iron wire that held her imprisoned, the poor prisoner. Yet her gaolers loved her . . .
a ‘worked on‘ alternative:
I have seen a poor blackcap locked in a cage: shy, sad and sickly, cowering in a corner of her cage, she watched us with terrified eyes and on hearing the cheerful sound of the other small birds singing on the green of the meadow or in the blue of the sky, she followed it with an expression that one could be persuaded was full of tears. But she dared not rebel, she dared not try to break the iron wire that held her captive, the poor prisoner. Yet her gaolers loved her . . .
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