Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A famous song by the Swedish troubadour Evert Taube (1890-1976)


While still the boat sails along

While still the boat sails along,
while still the heartbeat is strong,
while still the sun’s rays on waves are a glittering throng,
for just a day maybe two
let that be plenty for you,
for many live with no gleam of light ever in view!
And why should you be the one the world’s giving
so much good fortune and sunshine while living?
Have fo’c’sle watch late at night
beneath the stars’ twinking light,
enjoy a kiss maybe two in the dance’s swift flight?

Yes, why should you be the one with keen hearing and eye,
catch the roar of the waves, be always singing?
And why should you have the best meal that money can buy,
like a wave-bobbing bird freed from winging?

And to the engines slow song,
and should your watch seem too long,
remember soon will the bell toll for you: ding, ding, dong!
While still the boat sails along,
while still the heartbeat is strong,
while still the sun’s rays on waves are a glittering throng.
Though you should suffer, perform each endeavour,
There will be rest soon for ever and ever!
But that’s no reason at all
to not be glad and stand tall,
it’s time to strike up a quite irresistable waltz!
It’s such a great stroke of luck you’re alive now, my friend
and can waltz through the day around Havanna!
And when your last money’s gone, go to sea once again
with the trade wind your sailor’s bandanna.

Do your duty aright,
Go on land that’s in sight,
Take a kiss maybe two in the dance’s swift flight!
While still the boat sails along,
while still the heartbeat is strong,
while still the sun’s rays on waves are a glittering throng.

One of the best-known of Taube's songs. To hear it sung, go to here for Evert Taube's version, or to here to hear his son Sven-Bertil's.

5 comments:

Dan Koehl said...

Bra, funderar på att länka hit från min sajt www.everttaube.info om det är OK att jag citerar några rader på http://everttaube.info/index.php?lang=sv&id=57?

John Irons said...

fine by me!

Rikard Björk said...

Incredible translation, a real fine work!

Lars-Erik Öller said...

Just when I thought I would try to translate this song I found this magnificent translation. Tank you very much John!

John Irons said...

The first book I ever owned in Swedish, from 1965 I think, was a present from a Dutch woman, Joke, who was studying at a Swedish Folk High School at Stensund, near Trosa. It was a squarish book with a red cover and a sea-blue dust cover with a photo of Evert Taube in his beret and smiling face. 'Så länge skutan kan gå...' it said. With texts and music inside. What a treasure trove!