Friday, July 07, 2006

You can run, but you can't hide...

I can't hide from everything and anything in real life reminding me of works of Spanish language literature that I've studied in grad school.*

Latest example: three of my friends and I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl on DVD on Thursday evening. I've done a lot of reading the past few days, and I've been rewarding myself for that by watching movies. Also, there's a new sequel out (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), and I'm going to see it very soon.

When we watched the first movie, almost all I could think about was what José de Espronceda (a Spanish poet, 1808-1842) would think of Captain Jack Sparrow, based upon the famous — and really fun to recite — poem "La canción del pirata," and if Jack would agree with most or all of the poem. With the latter question, I'm leaning towards "most." As to the former, speculating on what Espronceda would think of the character played by Johnny Depp would take a very long time and require consulting books that I don't have in my own personal library, as I'm not an expert on piracy or this particular poet.

I am certain, however, that Jack would heartily agree with the poem's refrain. Let me lay out my textual evidence.

Que es mi barco mi tesoro,
que es mi dios la libertad,
mi ley, la fuerza y el viento,
mi única patria, la mar.

Here's an English translation of those lines. Personally, I think they would sound better if the translator hadn't tried to make them rhyme in English, but one can't have everything in life...

My treasure is my gallant bark,
My only God is liberty;
My law is might, the wind my mark,
My country is the sea.

Side note: bark, the translator's choice to render barco into English, is an archaic term for a particular type of three-masted sailing ship. I had to look it up in the dictionary; I don't think I'd ever encountered that meaning of bark before.

Now, behold, my proof that Jack would agree. This little snippet of dialogue comes from scene in which two characters, marooned on an island, discuss the finer points of piracy over a campfire and bottles of rum.

And you'll be positively the most fearsome pirates in the Spanish Main.

Not just the Spanish Main, love. The entire ocean. The entire world. Wherever we want to go, we'll go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails. That's what a ship needs, but what a ship is... what the Black Pearl really is... is freedom.

There is fodder for at least one article discussing both "La canción del pirata" and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies; I know it. Probably more. However, I get the feeling that the article(s) should wait to be written until the third film in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, comes to theaters in 2007. Maybe I'll take a film studies class one of these days and write about this myself.

*I can't escape Harry Potter, either. Or books written by Tolkien. Or Firefly. Or biblical trivia. Et cetera. Not that I'd want to hide from these: that's beside the point.

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