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Revolutionary Girl Utena – Gentouchouga Juuroku Seiki

August 21, 2012

Gentouchouga Juuroku Seiki – 幻燈蝶蛾十六世紀 – Magic Lantern Butterfly Moth 16th Century

いたはしや老の身の
手馴れし剣に
力こめしも
老いたる腕のあわれなる
覘は外れて太刀風に
よろめきまろぶ
老人よ!

ita wa shiya oi no mi no
tenareshi tsurugi ni
chikara komeshi mo
oitaru kaina no awarenaru
nerai wa sorete tachikaze ni
yoromeki marobu
oibito yo!

The plank filleth his field of vision
Though an old man put all his strength
Into his well-trained blade
His wither’d arm is still pathetic
Missing his aim, with a swish of the sword
He stumbleth and falleth
O, old man!

唸る太刀風
トロイの城楼
燃ゆる頂上
雷火と砕け落ちければ

unaru tachikaze
TOROI no jourou
moyuru itadaki
raika to kudakeochireba

The sword howleth
The burning summit
Of the fortress tower of Troy–
An it falleth, struck by lightning…

ビーラス暫く
耳聾ひたリ

BIIRASU shibaraku
mimishii hitari

For a short time
Byrsa’s ears shall grow deaf

見よ! 白頭の老爺!
斫らんと上げし
剣は空にとどまりて
ピーラス立縮む
ピーラスやがて敵意を復し
血汐したたる血刀を
老王めがけて打下す!

mi yo! hakutou no rouou!
kiran to ageshi
tsurugi wa sora ni todomarite
PIIRASU tachisukumu
PIIRASU yagate tekii o kaeshi
chishio shitataru chigatana o
rouou megakete uchiorosu

O, look! White-haired aged king!
Swung and raised,
The sword halteth in the sky
Pyrrhus standeth petrified
Pyrrhus shall soon return this violence
Aim the blade dripping with blood
At the aged king, and strike him down!

Translator’s Notes:

I apologize for the renaissance-faire-ese, but the original Japanese has a very archaic flavor which I was trying to preserve.

Neither ビーラス (BIIRASU) nor ピーラス (PIIRASU) seems to be in common use outside of this particular song, but I did find a book giving ビーラス (BIIRASU) as the katakana transliteration of Byrsa, which according to Greek tradition was the North African settlement founded by Queen Dido which later became Carthage. ピーラス (PIIRASU), meanwhile, has been suggested to refer to Pyrrhus, a name shared by several ancient Greek figures but most famously associated with Pyrrhus of Epirus, the king whose heavy losses in his successful battles gave rise to the term “Pyrrhic victory”. Given the clear reference to Troy in the song, I found these interpretations the most plausible (certainly more so than the other options, which include an Israeli executive, a semi-famous photographer, a service offered by the mobile phone company Softbank, and a misspelling of “virus”).

(Original lyrics by J.A. Seazer.)

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