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Monday, November 2, 2009

Lamento Borincano by Rafael Hernández Marín

Sale loco de contento con su cargamento
Ecstatic with joy, he leaves with his load of products

para la ciudad ¡ay! para la ciudad
for the city. Oh! for the city.

lleva en su pensamiento todo un mundo
carrying in his thoughts an entire world

lleno de felicidad ¡ay! de felicidad.
filled with happiness. Oh! filled with happiness.

Piensa remediar la situación
He thinks of bettering the conditions

del hogar que es toda su ilusión, sí.
of the home representing all his illusions, yes.

Y alegre, el jibarito va pensando así,
Happily, the jibarito goes along, thinking,

diciendo así, cantando así por el camino:
saying, singing along the road:

“Si yo vendo la carga, mi dios querido,
“If I sell my products, my dear God,

un traje a mi viejita voy a comprar.”
I’ll buy a dress for my old lady.”

Y alegre, también su yegua va
Happily, his mare trots along

al presentir que aquel cantar
sensing that the song

es todo un himno de alegría.
is wholly a hymn of joy.

En eso les sorprende la luz del día
About then, daylight surprises them

y llegan al mercado de la ciudad.
and they reach the city market.

Pasa la mañana entera sin que nadie quiera
The whole morning passes and no one wants

su carga comprar ¡ay! su carga comprar.
to buy his products. Oh! to buy his products.

Todo, todo está desierto, y el pueblo está lleno
All, all is deserted, and the town suffers

de necesidad ¡ay! de necesidad.
from necessity. Oh! from necessity.

Se oye este lamento por doquier
This lament is heard throughout

de mi desdichada Borinquen, sí.
my unlucky Borinquen, yes.

Y triste, el jibarito va pensando así
Saddened, the jibarito goes along, thinking,

diciendo así, llorando así por el camino:
saying, crying down the road:

“¿Qué será de Borinquen, mi dios querido?
“What will become of Borinquen, my dear God?

¿Qué será de mis hijos y de mi hogar?”
What will become of my children and my home?

Borinquen, la tierra del Edén
Borinquen, Edenic land

la que al cantar el gran Gautier
which, in song, the great Gautier

llamó la perla de los mares.
called the pearl of the seas.

Ahora que tú te mueres con tus pesares,
Now that you drown in your sorrows,

déjame que te cante yo también. Yo también.
let me sing to you as well. As well.

Borinquen de mi amor
My beloved Borinquen

Yo soy hijo de Borinquen
I am a son of Borinquen

y eso nadie va a cambiar.
and no one will ever change that.

Yo soy hijo de Borinquen
I am a son of Borinquen

y eso nadie va a cambiar.
and no one will ever change that.

y el dia en que yo me muera
And on the day I die

en tí quiero descansar,
in you I wish to rest.

yo te adoro, Puerto Rico,
I adore you, Puerto Rico,

y eso nadie me lo va a quitar.
and no one will ever take that from me.

Translation by Judith Mercado. Please post suggestions for alternative translations if you wish.


Alejandro Cabrera said...

hola, mi nombre es Alejandro cabrera y soy el musico y editor del video del lamento borincano con el laud que esta puesto en este blog. Grande y preciosa esta cancion del señor Rafael Hernandez. Muy grande este blog. Saludos desde la islas canarias

Judith Mercado said...

Gracias, Alejandro. He visto el video muchisimas veces y cada vez he comentado que mucho talento tiene. Interesante dato: parte de mi familia hace siglos emigro desde las islas canarias a Puerto Rico. Es posible que seamos parientes. Se parece bastante a miembros de mi familia.

larsjohn said...

I can't seem to find my way back to the page on your blog where you asked for links to other versions of the "Puerto Rican Lament" of Rafael Hernandez, so I'll post my link here - feel free to remove and replace (or ignore) as you will.
It's just an audio version of the song by Los Indios Tabajaras, with still images off the web, of the two brothers Lima


Thanks for your very insightful blog writings: I'm planning to return often.

Anonymous said...

This is the most accurate translation I've seen yet, though the passion and soul expressed in the original native tongue , still eludes adequate linguistic interpretation.

Judith Mercado said...

Thank you, Anonymous. That is high praise. I agree that the song in Spanish cannot be translated adequately. Apart from being written in another language, Lamento Borincano speaks to a reality that could never be fully captured in mere words,

Anonymous said...

Found a lovely female rendition by Las Acevedo, it's on ITunes! Also love the way Salma Hayek sings it in the movie '54' 1998, 19th minute of the film. She only sings four lines butit was enough to make research for hours about these songs. Straight away I started looking for a female rendition. Now got Las Acevedo, over the moon! I thought it was amazing up find her that you were also looking for a female rendition! Thank you for this blog! :)

About Me ¿Quién soy?

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My writing frequently explores multicultural themes. Born in Puerto Rico, I moved at a young age to the U.S., where my parents became Pentecostal ministers. Early immersion in Latino and religious cultures preceded later experiences as a businesswoman, a White House Fellow, and life aboard a trawler cruising from Martha’s Vineyard to South America. These sometimes incompatible worlds have given me a respectful outlook toward differing points of view. My short stories, poems, and essays reflect my own inclusive, yet sharply defined, journey across cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. I recently published Peace on the Journey, a poetry collection which explores the theme of renewal in the face of adversity. @peaceonjourney