GUILLAUME SEZNEC: [6] La Délivrance

Tri Yann
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OriginalEnglish Version by Riccardo Venturi
Grande nouvelle en Bretagne :Great news to Brittany :
Seznec est arrivé tantôt,Seznec has just landed there,
De plus de vingt ans de bagne,after over twenty years’ conviction
Il nous revient en héros.he comes back as a hero.
Grande nouvelle en Bretagne,Great news to Brittany,
De Nantes jusqu'à Landerneau.from Nantes to Landerneau.
D'avoir fleuri Marie-JeanneHe’s brought flowers to Marie-Jeanne
En terre depuis seize ans,dead and buried since sixteen years,
D'embrasser sa fille Jeannehe’s kiss’d and hugged his daughter Jeanne
Qui s'est battue tant et tant,who fought for him so much,
De serrer d'embrasser Jeannekiss’d and hugged Jeanne in his arms,
Qui pour lui s'est battue tant.she fought for him so much.
Grande foule hier au Havre,Great crowd yesterday in Le Havre,
Mardi premier de juillet :on Tuesday the first of July :
Le Colombie, blanche étrave,thousands cast their moved glances
Mille et plus le guettaient,at the white-prowed « Colombie »,
Blanc Colombie, blanche étrave,thousands cast their cries of hurra
Mille et plus l' the white-prowed « Colombie ».
Vingt trois années d'absenceAfter twenty three years’ absence
N'ont point tué son entêtement,he’s obstinated like he was before
A redire son innocence,in proclaiming his innocence
Malgré ses cheveux blancs,though his hair is white now,
A crier son innocencein crying loud his innocence
A soixante-dix ans.though aged seventy.
C'est devoir pour la JusticeIt is a duty for Justice
Toujours de mériter son nom;to be always this name worth ;
Après Guillaume, son petit-filsafter Guillaume, it’s his grandson
Lui en réclame raison.who claims for satisfaction.
A Guillaume rendons justice,So be justice done to Guillaume
Il n'est que trop de raisons.for even too many reasons.
Qu'elle veuille belle se faire,So may Justice be adorn’d,
Une ceinture lui offrirons,and we’ll offer Her a girdle
Pour faire le tour de la terreto make the tour of the world
Et trois tours de sa maison,and three tours of his house,
Faire trois tours de la terreto make three tours of the world
Et trois tours de l'horizon,and three tours of the horizon.
Une ceinture de cireWe’ll offer Her a wax girdle [*]
Fragile comme jugements,fragile as judgements,
Punir l'innocence est pirean innocent’s punishment is worse
Qu'acquitter les brigands;than releasing a criminal,
Punir l'innocence est pire,an innocent’s punishment
Pire des the worst judgement of all.
Translation note :

[*] The topos of the « Wax girdle » winding three turns around a person, a house or the Earth is often to be found in Breton folksongs and folktales, f.ex. in the « Barzaz Breizh » (« Elliant’s Pestilence », « Lez-Breiz » etc.). It is probably the echo of a very old, pre-Christian belief, a magic and pious supplication to the gods for hearing and answering one’s prayers.
Reference to this belief shows clearly that the anonymous ballad maker intended to appeal century-old Brittany to honour a Breton who was considered a hero for his sufferings caused by injustice.

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