Anoche cuando dormía – three translations of the Antonio Machado poem

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from all my old failures.

(Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly)

Last night I had a dream—
a blessed illusion it was—
I dreamt of a hive at work
deep down in my heart.
Within were the golden bees
straining out the bitter past
to make sweet-tasting honey,
and white honeycomb.

(Antonio Machado, translated by Alan S. Trueblood)

Last night while sleeping
I dreamt, – blessed illusion!
that a beehive  
within my heart;  
and the golden bees  
were making,  
from my bitter disappointments, 
white wax and sweet honey.  

(Antonio Machado, translated by Chris Cavanagh)

Anoche cuando dormía 
soñé, ¡bendita ilusión!, 
que una colmena tenía 
dentro de mi corazón; 
y las doradas abejas 
iban fabricando en él, 
con las amarguras viejas 
blanca cera y dulce miel.

The full text, in English and in Spanish, is here at Goodreads. Thanks to Joanna Hastings for taking note of it in a post to Facebook.

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3 thoughts on “Anoche cuando dormía – three translations of the Antonio Machado poem

  1. Russ Miller

    A lovely, inspiring passage! I like the the Bly translation best.
    Two more translations just for fun – by machine this time – the first is soooo close to working:
    Last night he slept
    I dreamed, blessed illusion!,
    a hive had
    within my heart;
    and the golden bees
    were making it,
    with the old bitterness
    white wax and sweet honey.
    –google translate
    Last night when it slept I dreamed, blessed illusion! , that a beehive had within my heart; and the sea breams bees they were making in him, with the old woman bitterness white wax and candy honey.
    –Altavista babelfish

    Reply

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