Saturday, April 04, 2020


Mother Tongue

"The Right of the Maltese Language," in Dun Karm, Poet of Malta. Texts Chosen and Translated by A.J. Arberry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961 = University of Cambridge, Faculty of Oriental Languages, Oriental Publications, 6), p. 55:
Why do you spurn the tongue your mother gave you
and waste your heart upon a foreign idiom?
Maltese was the first word you ever uttered
and in Maltese you spoke, a happy infant.

And that first tongue grew up with you, its beauty
was interwoven with all your life's adventures:
in it you expressed your heart when you were happy,
in it you expressed your grief when weeping I saw you.

So why do you disown, my Maltese brother,
the very tongue which makes you Maltese truly?
Love foreign tongues, if they are of service to you,
but drive not out that which is of the home.
Related posts:
Hat tip: Hsen Andil.

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