Song Offering - Nature of Translation

Nature of Translation

Rabindranath Thakur took the liberty of doing free translation while rendering these 113 poems into English. Consequently, in many cases these are transcreations rather than translation; however, literary biographer Edward Thomson found them 'perfect' and 'enjoyable'. A reader can himself realize the approach taken by Rabindranath in translating his own poem with that translated by a professional translator. First is quoted lyric no. 1 of Song Offering as translated by Rabindranath himself :

Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure.
This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again,
and fillest it ever with fresh life.

This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands
my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.

Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine.
Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.

It is the Lyric number 1 of Gitanjali. There is another English rendering of the same poem by Joe Winter translated in 1997:

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