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The Good Life (La Bbonja Famijja) into Yorkshire dialect

Mi gram when late at neet comes home t’owd man
drops the clothes she’s knittin’ us, poor owd pet,
sets us table an’ warms room best she can,
an’ we eat a few spuds, what we can get.

Nah’n again we’ll ’ave us an omèlet,
an’ if tha wer to ’old it up to t’ sun
just like an ear, light’d shine reight thru’ it:
a few crusts to nibble on, supper’s done.

Then me, wi’ t’owd man an’ mi sister Grace
a couple o’ hours o’ suppin’ pass,
while gram cleans up an’ puts things back in place,
til we can see to t’ bottom of us glass.

Next a quick piss and an ’ail mary,
an’ straight up to bed in peace an’ plenty.

Oxford, June 2004

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About the translation:
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Giuseppe Belli
Paul Howard
Original language:
Italian Romanesque Dialect
Series 3 No. 3 - Metamorphoses

Original poem

About the authors


Giuseppe Belli

In the early 1830s the poet Giuseppe Belli (1791-1863) unleashed an explosion of sonnets in the romanesco dialect of his nativ...

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Paul Howard

Paul Howard read French and Italian at Balliol College, Oxford. His first translation of a G. G. Belli sonnet won joint secon...

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The Good Life (La Bbona Famijja) into Yorkshire dialect

Mi’ nonna a un’or de notte che vviè ttata
se leva da filà, ppovera vecchia,
attizza un carboncello, sciapparecchia,
e mmaggnamo du’ fronne d’inzalata.

Quarche vvorta se fàmo una frittata,
che ssi la metti ar lume sce se specchia
come fussi a ttraverzo d’un’orecchia:
quattro nosce, e la scena è tterminata.

Poi ner mentre ch’io, tata e Ccrementina
seguitamo un par d’ora dde sgoccetto,
lei sparecchia e arissetta la cuscina.

E appena visto er fonno ar bucaletto,
’na pissciatina, ’na sarvereggina,
e, in zanta pasce, sce n’annàmo a lletto.

Roma, 28 dicembre 1831


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