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.
Avevo visto una povera capinera chiusa in gabbia . . .
The next new word in the text is ‘voleva‘.
My dictionary gives this as:
voleva (vt) = he/she wanted, used to want, was wanting
voleva is the 3rd personal singular imperfect indicative
(3° persona singolare dell’indicativo imperfetto)
of the verb volere = to want, to desire
Mia madre non voleva lasciarmi andare via a 18 anni. = My mother did not want to let me to go away at 18 years old.
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, 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; non era cattiva; non voleva . . .
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; she was not bad; she did not want . . .
This is an alternative translation that I am working on with the aim of making it less literal and also to make it flow better in English but without losing Giovanni Verga, obviously:
The Story of a blackcap
I have seen a poor blackcap locked in a cage: shy, sad and sickly, she watched us with terrified eyes. She cowered in the corner of her cage and on hearing the joyful singing of the other small birds in the green meadow and in the blue sky, her gaze followed the sound with an expression that one would say 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 wardens loved her, dear children, they amused themselves with her suffering and rewarded her for her sadness with crumbs of bread and kind words. The poor blackcap was trying to adapt, pathetic little wretch; she was not bad; she did not want . . .
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