Novel Translation

The Greatest Showman – Chapter 10

Chapter 10 – Folk Poet

“I just went through a not-so-successful audition this afternoon ……” Renly’s words caused a wave of amusement from the audience in the bar, and there were even chants of, “Renly, you’re the best! ”

Tom took a quick look at Steven, then saw his old friend’s face pull down again, apparently very unhappy with such blatant provocative behavior by Renly. But Tom was quite interested, a great actor always needs some edge and sharpness, he rather found things more and more interesting.

“But this audition has given me some inspiration that I’d like to share with you here.” Renly’s eyes just skimmed over table fourteen, and then scanned the entire room of blurred faces hidden in the darkness, joking, “I know I’m very popular, and everyone is reminiscing about my previous wonderful performances ……” this sentence caused everyone to laugh, “but today, please allow me to perform this special song for you, just hot out of the oven.”

The audience applauded and cheered for Renly. Stanley, standing next to the bar, turned his head to Neil, his eyes asking, ” Do you know about this accident?”

Neil, however, spread his hands and shrugged, saying he knew nothing about it. Stanley waved his hand, as if swatting a fly, ignoring Neil and looking at the stage again, bathed in light, Renly showed a light smile, the guitar strings danced in the crystal-clear, milky yellow waterfall of light, as if the genie had spread its wings.

Steven couldn’t help but freeze, he thought Renly would bring up the content of the audition, and would use the support of the audience to try to pressure them, or use this kind of platform to showcase his talent again, but he never expected that the melody would simply be happily outlined in Renly’s fingertips, the increasingly light notes carrying happiness and pleasure, so that every listener couldn’t help but follow along with the beat.

This is the second time Steven misunderstood Renly.

The melody like turbulent spring water lingered throughout the bar, Renly lowered his eyes, concentrating on the guitar strings, the corners of his mouth curled up a shallow smile, as if the world was left to him alone, and then the mellow voice in the music notes compiled by the five lines through the score, warm and intoxicating, “I was Cleopatra, I was young and an actress. When you knelt by my mattress, and asked for my hand ……”

The first line of lyrics let Steven frozen in place, he was singing a song about Cleopatra, today afternoon audition Renly performed as Mark Antony who was Cleopatra’s lifelong lover. So, this is what Renly meant by “epiphany”.

“But I was sad you asked it, as I laid in a black dress, with my father in a casket, I had no plans, yeah.” The lyrics were like a mournful narrative poem in the midst of an upbeat melody, gentle and beautiful, with faint touch of sadness and regret running through the lines, this is the story of Cleopatra, but it’s not the same Cleopatra that the world is familiar with, the one described by Shakespeare as “the world’ s sensual demon woman” that brings disaster.

The smile on the corner of Renly’s mouth seemed to take on a touch of sadness, “And I left the footprints, the mud stain on the carpet, and it hardened like my heart did when you left town, but I must admit it, that I would marry you in an instant, damn your wife, I’d be your mistress just to have you around.”

When Cleopatra agreed to Caesar’s courtship, even though Caesar still had a wife at the time. In the eyes of the world, she was a woman who would do anything for power and profit, but no one saw the true feelings in her heart, and that love like a moth to a flame made her fall into the land of no return, forever bearing the disgrace.

She was a woman, a woman who had no status or freedom in the society at that time and could only depend on men. But when people judge her, they always forget this point. Because it is always easier to blame a woman for the downfall of the country and the mistakes made in history.

“But I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life.” The strings in Renly’s hands suddenly stopped, humming in a clear voice, with a simple phrase “too late” that spoke of countless heartaches and despair, “And when I die alone, when I die alone, die I’ll be on time, ah, yeah.”

She missed everything, she missed life, but the only thing she didn’t miss was her own death.

The upbeat and pleasant melody again, lingering in the ears, the sorrow that lingers is spreading on the tip of the tongue, so bitter that it is difficult to swallow, the emotions that pass by like a light breeze in the soft singing, the surge of emotions in a flash firmly occupied the brain, and suddenly the heart aches so much that you cannot breathe.

“While the church discouraged, any lust that burned within me, Yes my flesh, it was my currency, but I held true.” The words, which were like poetry, were beautiful and heartbreaking between the touch of Renly’s lips and teeth. True sorrow is not the absence of freedom, but the refusal to embrace it, firmly imprisoning one’s soul in flesh and blood, like the walking dead. “So I drive a taxi, and the traffic distracts me. From the strangers in my backseat, they remind me of you.”

Renly suddenly with the right hand speed up the sweeping strings, the melody becomes more and more cheerful, as if flamenco dances under the fluttering of skirts, bright and flamboyant red dance out of a piece of gorgeous petals, thrilling to cause the heart to stop beating, but in the midst of that cheerfulness there is a diffusion of unspeakable sadness, as if the naked eye could see that the fluttering dust brought this silence to the shoulders of everyone, sinking them. Sentiment let the corners of his mouth smile with a touch of sorrow.

“But I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life. And when I die alone, when I die alone, when I die I’ll be on time.”

The shiny musical notes were like the dewdrops reflecting the splendor of the early morning sunrise, and the poetic lyrics collided between the lips and teeth to create a raging boiling emotion that made the chest ache. There was nothing fancy about it, Renly just relied on his own voice in singing, and it was so magnificent and grandiose that the light lost its color.

Suddenly, Tom’s tears fell to the ground, everything came so suddenly that he himself was caught off guard. Inexplicably, Mark Antony and Cleopatra came to mind. In Shakespeare’s other tragedy “Antony and Cleopatra”, he always believed that Antony was obsessed with Cleopatra’s beauty and delayed the affairs of state, which led to the decline of Rome. But, this was fate.

The two people who once loved each other, were in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading to the wrong fate and a lifetime of delay.

Delayed for life. What a tragic and miserable phrase. Unexplained sighs and sadness take firm hold of the heart.

“And the only gifts from my Lord were a birth and a divorce, but I’ve read the script and the costumes fits, so I’ll play my part.” The guitar strings hooked up again and the calm melody brought the thoughts to another level.

It turns out that all of this is just God’s arrangement, all of this is just a play, all of this is just the mockery of fate. Absurd, ridiculous, sad, teasing, mocking. How sad, how helpless, how desolate, she was like a puppet, wearing the costume, following the script, playing her part. But what about herself?

“I was Cleopatra, I was taller than the rafters, but that’s all in the past love, gone with the wind; now a nurse in white shoes leads me back to my guest room ……” The melody gradually goes higher and higher, and after Renly’s song tears up to a high point, there was an extra touch of silence, as if the sunset remained at the edge of the sky in a few strokes, “it’s a bed and a bathroom, and a place for the end.” Fate’s tease has come to an end after all. This time, she will not miss it again.

Love, how simple yet how complex of a word; freedom, how extravagant yet how mundane of a word. The woman called Cleopatra, once recklessly chased the desire of the heart, but was left a life full of curses, even more sadly, she still missed it after all, she once thought Caesar was the love of her life, but he failed her; she once thought that Antony was her destiny, but he once again hurt her. In this path of fate, she stumbled, staggered, bruised and was left all alone.

“I won’t be late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life. And when I die alone, when I die alone, die I’ll be on time, ah.”

The melody slowly dissipated in the air, with a hint of magnetism in Renly’s long trailing voice, dragging out a long tail in the air, like a firefly falling in the darkness of the night, clearly seeing the light trace off a trajectory, then getting dimmer and dimmer until it disappeared completely. The whole darkness once again disappears into the night.

“And when I die alone, when I die alone, die I’ll be on time.”

Tom wretchedly wiped the warmth from his eyes, the raging emotions could not be calmed down at all, his mind once again recalled Renly’s audition in the afternoon, and that momentary burst of sadness fermented and settled in the midst of the melody just now. The complex heart of his chest couldn’t find a precise word, but the resonance is undeniably stirring.

Soon, Tom realized that he was not the only one. At this moment, sitting in the bar, many of the audience, actually teary-eyed staggered to look at the stage, they do not care about their own distress, but just quietly watching Renly, even the light spilling down has become extra gentle.

These were real listeners, real listeners who listened to the music with their souls, who understood the story in Renly’s songs, and then immersed themselves in the music. There was no applause, no screaming, no roar, not even a sound, everyone was quietly savoring the faint sorrow, the sadness hidden under the cheerful melody, and the poetic wisdom of the bard. This is the power of truly outstanding music.

A/N – Cleopatra (Cleopatra – The-Lumineers), Song link

Translator Rumblings of the day – Sorry because of the late chapter. I was kind of busy last two weeks. I will try to be more consistent…the key word is try. All jokes aside I will really give my all in translating this novel, now and in the future because trust me this one is a gem.


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