My Italian word of the day: meschinella

La Parola del Giorno

La Parola del Giorno

I have set myself the challenge of translating ‘Storia di una Capinera’ by Giovanni Verga into English at the rate of one word a day.

Verga: Storia di una capinera (book cover)

Verga: Storia di una capinera (book cover)

Avevo visto una povera capinera chiusa in gabbia . . .

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The next new word in the text is ‘meschinella’.

I have translated this as:    ‘pathetic little wretch’

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It is used in the title of a Joseph Haydn aria:

D’una sposa meschinella

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The story so far:

Original text:

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, cari bambini che si trastullavano col suo dolore e le pagavano la sua malinconia con miche di pane e con parole gentili. La povera capinera cercava rassegnarsi, la meschinella . . .

My translation:

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, 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, dear children that amused themselves with her suffering and paid her for her sadness with bread crumbs and with kind words. The poor blackcap tried to resign herself, the pathetic little wretch . . .

an 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. And yet her gaolers loved her, dear children that amused themselves with her suffering and paid her for her sadness with crumbs of bread and with kind words. The poor blackcap tried to resign herself, the pathetic little wretch . . .

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Vocabulary:

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