While reading about thirteenth century poet Cecco Angiolieri (in the excellent La Bella Lingua by Dianne Hales) I found myself recognizing the words of his most famous poem S’ì fosse foco. The lines felt vaguely familiar, something I thought was strange – italian poetry is not usually my thing. Finally, it was the last line that made me realize where I had come across them before:
E vecchi’ e laide lasserei altrui
And the old and the ugly everybody else get
And in Swedish:
Och dom fula och dom gamla, dom får alla andra
The Swedish line is from a somewhat well known seventies punk recording Jag är ingenting (I am nothing) by the band KSMB. When I looked it up, it turns out that the entire song is a translation of Angiolieri’s poem. Apparently the singer Alonzo found, translated and modernized it.
So, which version do you prefer?