Pt 1 – El Beso / The Kiss

Pt 1 – El Beso / The Kiss         Pt 2 – El Beso / The Kiss  &sbsp; &sbsp; Pt 3 – El Beso / The Kiss

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EL BESO

The text of El beso is taken from the Obras de Gustavo A. Bécquer, Tomo Segundo, Madrid, 1907.

Por Don Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

THE KISS

1909 translation by Cornelia Frances Bates & Katherine Lee Bates

I.

WHEN a division of the French army, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, took possession of historic Toledo, the officers in command,
Cuando una parte del ejército francés se apoderó á principios de este siglo [see note] de la histórica Toledo, sus jefes,

not unaware of the danger to which French soldiers were exposed in Spanish towns by being quartered in separate lodgings,
que no ignoraban el peligro á que se exponían en las poblaciones españolas diseminándose en alojamientos separados,

commenced to fit up as barracks the largest and best edifices of the city.comenzaron por habilitar para cuarteles los más grandes y mejores edificios de la ciudad.

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una parte … siglo. The French armies entered the Spanish peninsula in 1807, and were finally expelled by the combined Spanish, English and Portuguese forces in 1814. To this day the Spaniards are fond of telling in song and story the brave exploits of their forefathers who fought against Napoleon’s men. The French devastated parts of the country, but they also brought with them many new ideas that helped to awaken Spain from its torpor. This war is known in England as the “Peninsular War”, and in Spain as the “Guerra de la Independencia” (War of Independence).

END NOTE

After occupying the magnificent palace of Carlos V. they appropriated the City Hall, and when this could hold no more,
Después de ocupado el suntuoso alcázar [see note] de Carlos V, echóse mano de la casa de Consejos; y cuando ésta no pudo contener más gente,

they began to invade the pious shade of monasteries, at last making over into stables even the churches sacred to worship.
comenzaron á invadir el asilo de las comunidades religiosas, acabando á la postre por transformar en cuadras hasta las iglesias consagradas al culto.

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The alcázar (Arabic for the castle) stands on the highest ground in Toledo. Originally a citadel, it was converted into a palace which served as a royal residence. It was enlarged and embellished by Charles V.

END NOTE

Such was the state of affairs in the famous old town, scene of the event which I am about to recount, when one night, already late, there entered the city, En esta conformidad se encontraban las cosas en la población donde tuvo lugar el suceso que voy á referir, cuando una noche, ya á hora bastante avanzada, [“entraron” / “entered” doesn’t appear until the end of this long sentence]

muffled in their dark army-cloaks and deafening the narrow, lonely streets, from the Gate of the Sun to the Zocodover, with the clang of weapons
envueltos en sus obscuros capotes de guerra y ensordeciendo las estrechas y solitarias calles que conducen desde la Puerta del Sol [see note] á Zocodover [see note] con el choque de sus armas

and the resounding beat of the hoofs that struck sparks from the flinty way, y el ruidoso golpear de los cascos de sus corceles que sacaban chispas de los pedernales,

one hundred or so of these tall dragoons, dashing, mettlesome fellows, whom our grandmothers still tell about with admiration.
entraron en la ciudad hasta unos cien dragones de aquellos altos, arrogantes y fornidos, de que todavía nos hablan con admiración nuestras abuelas.

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la Puerta del Sol, a handsome gateway in the Moorish style, built in the 12th century.

Zocodover, a small three-cornered plaza in the northeastern quarters of Toledo. It is the focus of the city’s life. The name Zocodover is of Moorish-Arabic origin. In Tangier, Morocco, there are a small socco (‘market’) and a large socco.

END NOTES

The force was commanded by a youthful officer, riding about thirty paces in advance of his troop and talking in low tones with a man on foot, who, so far as might be inferred from his dress, was also a soldier.
Mandaba la fuerza un oficial bastante joven, el cual iba como á distancia de unos treinta pasos de su gente hablando á media voz con otro, también militar á lo que podía colegirse por su traje.

Walking in front of his interlocutor, with a small lantern in hand, he seemed to be serving as guide through that labyrinth of obscure, twisted and intertangled streets.
Éste, que caminaba á pie delante de su interlocutor, llevando en la mano un farolillo, parecía servirle de guía por entre aquel laberinto de calles obscuras, enmarañadas y revueltas.


“In sooth,” said the trooper to his companion, “if the lodging prepared for us is even such as you picture it, perhaps it would be better to camp out in the country or in one of the public squares.”—Con verdad, decía el jinete á su acompañante, que si el alojamiento que se nos prepara es tal y como me lo pintas, casi sería preferible arrancharnos en el campo ó en medio de una plaza.

“But what would you, my captain?” answered the guide, who was, in fact, a sergeant sent on before to make ready for their reception.
—¿Y qué queréis, mi capitán? contestóle el guía que efectivamente era un sargento aposentador;

“In the palace there is not room for another grain of wheat, much less for a man; of San Juan de los Reyes there is no use in talking, for there it has reached such a point that in one of the friars’ cells are sleeping fifteen hussars.
en el alcázar no cabe ya un grano de trigo cuanto más [see note] un hombre; de San Juan de los Reyes [see note] no digamos, porque hay celda de fraile en la que duermen quince húsares.

BEGIN NOTES

cuanto más, much less.

San Juan de los Reyes, a convent founded in 1476 by the “Catholic Kings”, Ferdinand and Isabella, and dedicated to their patron saint, John the Baptist. It was much damaged by the French in 1808.

END NOTES

“The monastery to which I am taking you was not so bad, but some three or four days ago there fell upon us, as if out of the clouds, one of the flying columns that scour the province,
El convento á donde voy á conduciros no era mal local, pero hará cosa de tres ó cuatro días nos cayó aquí como de las nubes una de las columnas volantes que recorren la provincia,

and we are lucky to have prevailed on them to heap themselves up along the cloisters and leave the church free for us.”
y gracias que hemos podido conseguir que se amontonen por los claustros y dejen libre la iglesia.


“Ah, well!” exclaimed the officer, after a brief silence, with an air of resigning himself to the strange quarters which chance had apportioned him, “an ill lodging is better than none.
—En fin, exclamó el oficial después de un corto silencio y como resignándose con el extraño alojamiento que la casualidad le deparaba, más vale incómodo que ninguno.

At all events, in case of rain,—not unlikely, judging from the massing of the clouds,—we shall be under cover, and that is something.”
De todas maneras, si llueve, que no será difícil según se agrupan las nubes, estaremos á cubierto y algo es algo.

With this the conversation was broken off, and the troopers, preceded by the guide, took the onward way in silence until they came to one of the smaller squares,
Interrumpida la conversación en este punto, los jinetes, precedidos del guía, siguieron en silencio el camino adelante hasta llegar á una plazuela,

on the further side of which stood out the black silhouette of the monastery with its Moorish minaret, spired bell-tower, ogive [pointed arch / gothic arch] cupola and dark, uneven roof.
en cuyo fondo se destacaba la negra silueta del convento con su torre morisca, su campanario de espadaña, su cúpula ojival y sus tejados de crestas desiguales y obscuras.

“Here is your lodging!” exclaimed the sergeant at sight of it, addressing the captain,
—He aquí vuestro alojamiento, exclamó el aposentador al divisarle y dirigiéndose al capitán,

who, after commanding his troop to halt, dismounted, caught the lantern from the hands of the guide, and took his way toward the building designated.
que después que hubo mandado hacer alto á la tropa, echó pie á tierra, tomó el farolillo de manos del guía, y se dirigió hacia el punto que éste le señalaba.

Since the church of the monastery was thoroughly dismantled, the soldiers who occupied the other parts of the building had thought that the doors were now a trifle less than useless
Como quiera que la iglesia del convento estaba completamente desmantelada, los soldados que ocupaban el resto del edificio habían creído que las puertas le eran ya poco menos que inútiles,

and, piece by piece, had wrenched off one to-day, another to-morrow, to make bonfires for warming themselves by night.
y un tablero hoy, otro mañana, habían ido arrancándolas pedazo á pedazo para hacer hogueras con que calentarse por las noches.

Our young officer, therefore, did not have to delay for turning of keys or drawing of bolts before penetrating into the heart of the sanctuary.
Nuestro joven oficial no tuvo, pues, que torcer llaves ni descorrer cerrojos para penetrar en el interior del templo.


By the light of the lantern, whose doubtful ray, lost in the heavy glooms of nave and aisles, threw in giant proportions upon the wall the fantastic shadow of the sergeant going on before,
Á la luz del farolillo, cuya dudosa claridad se perdía entre las espesas sombras de las naves y dibujaba con gigantescas proporciones sobre el muro la fantástica sombra del sargento aposentador que iba precediéndole,

he traversed the length and breadth of the church and peered into the deserted chapels, one by one, until he had made himself thoroughly acquainted with the place,
recorrió la iglesia de arriba abajo y escudriñó una por una todas sus desiertas capillas, hasta que una vez hecho cargo del local,

when he ordered his troop to dismount, and set about the accommodating (original translation: “bestowing of ”) that confused crowd of men and horses as best he could.
mandó echar pie á tierra á su gente, y hombres y caballos revueltos, fué acomodándola como mejor pudo.



As we have said, the church was completely dismantled; before the High Altar were still hanging from the lofty cornices torn shreds of the veil with which the monks had covered it on abandoning that holy place;
Según dejamos dicho, la iglesia estaba completamente desmantelada; en el altar mayor pendían aún de las altas cornisas los rotos jirones del velo con que le habían cubierto los religiosos al abandonar aquel recinto (enclosure);

at intervals along the aisles might be seen shrines fastened against the wall, their niches bereft of images;
diseminados por las naves veíanse algunos retablos adosados al muro, sin imágenes en las hornacinas;

in the choir a line of light traced the strange contour of the shadowy larchwood (type of pine) stalls;
en el coro se dibujaban con un ribete de luz los extraños perfiles de la obscura sillería de alerce;

upon the pavement, destroyed at various points, might still be distinguished broad burial slabs filled with heraldic devices, shields and long Gothic inscriptions;
en el pavimento, destrozado en varios puntos, distinguíanse aún anchas losas sepulcrales llenas de timbres, escudos y largas inscripciones góticas;

and far away, in the depths of the silent chapels and along the transepts, were vaguely visible in the dimness, like motionless white spectres, marble statues which,
y allá á lo lejos, en el fondo de las silenciosas capillas y á lo largo del crucero, se destacaban confusamente entre la obscuridad, semejantes á blancos é inmóviles fantasmas, las estatuas de piedra que,

some extended at full length and others kneeling on their stony tombs, appeared to be the only tenants of that ruined structure.
unas tendidas, otras de hinojos sobre el mármol de sus tumbas, parecían ser los únicos habitantes del ruinoso edificio.



For anyone less spent than the captain of dragoons, who carried in his body the fatigues of a ride of fourteen leagues,
Á cualquiera otro menos molido que el oficial de dragones, el cual traía una jornada de catorce leguas en el cuerpo,

or less accustomed to seeing these sacrileges as the most natural thing in the world,
ó menos acostumbrado á ver estos sacrilegios como la cosa más natural del mundo,

two drams of imagination would have sufficed to keep eyes from closing the whole night long in that dusky, awesome haunt,
hubiéranle bastado dos adarmes de imaginación para no pegar los ojos en toda la noche en aquel obscuro é imponente recinto,

where the oaths of the soldiers, who were loudly complaining of their improvised barracks,
donde las blasfemias de los soldados que se quejaban en alta voz del improvisado cuartel,

the metallic clink of their spurs striking rudely against the once sepulchral slabs of the pavement, the clatter of the horses as they pawed impatiently,
el metálico golpe de sus espuelas que resonaban sobre las antes losas sepulcrales [see note] del pavimento, el ruido de los caballos que piafaban impacientes,

tossing their heads and rattling the chains which bound them to the pillars,
cabeceando y haciendo sonar las cadenas con que estaban sujetos á los pilares,

formed a strange and fearful confusion of sounds that reverberated through the reaches of the church and was repeated, ever more weirdly, from echo to echo among the lofty vaults.
formaban un rumor extraño y temeroso que se dilataba por todo el ámbito de la iglesia y se reproducía cada vez más confuso repetido de eco en eco en sus altas bóvedas.

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las antes losas sepulcrales = las losas, antes losas sepulcrales

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But our hero, young though he was, had already become so familiar with those shiftings of the scene in a soldier’s life,
Pero nuestro héroe, aunque joven, estaba ya tan familiarizado con estas peripecias de la vida de campaña,

that scarcely had he assigned places to his men than he ordered a sack of fodder flung down at the foot of the chancel steps,
que apenas hubo acomodado á su gente, mandó colocar un saco de forraje al pie de la grada del presbiterio,

and rolling himself as snugly as possible into his cloak, resting his head upon the lowest stair,
y arrebujándose como mejor pudo en su capote y echando la cabeza en el escalón,

in five minutes was snoring with more tranquillity than King Joseph himself in his palace at Madrid.
á los cinco minutos roncaba con más tranquilidad que el mismo rey José [see note] en su palacio de Madrid.


BEGIN NOTE

rey José; Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon, whom the latter made king of Spain in June, 1808. Madrid was his capital.

END NOTE

The soldiers, making pillows of the saddles, followed his example, and little by little the murmur of their voices died away.
Los soldados, haciéndose almohadas de las monturas, imitaron su ejemplo, y poco á poco fué apagándose el murmullo de sus voces.

Half an hour later, nothing was to be heard save the stifled groans of the wind which entered by the broken ogive windows of the church.
Á la media hora sólo se oían los ahogados gemidos del aire que entraba por las rotas vidrieras de las ojivas del templo,

the skurrying flights of night-birds whose nests were built in the stone canopies above the sculptured figures of the walls,
el atolondrado revolotear de las aves nocturnas que tenían sus nidos en el dosel de piedra de las esculturas de los muros,

and the tramp, now near, now far, of the sentry who was pacing up and down the portico, wound in the wide folds of his military cloak.
y el alternado rumor de los pasos del vigilante que se paseaba envuelto en los anchos pliegues de su capote, á lo largo del pórtico.

Pt 1 – El Beso / The Kiss         Pt 2 – El Beso / The Kiss Pt 3 – El Beso / The Kiss

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Stories & Essays about the Pure Love Business!

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