In a previous article, I attempted a translation of the oldest know literary work in Maltese, Il-Cantilena, without looking up any translations, and relying only on my knowledge of Arabic as a native speaker of both classical and a North African dialect (Egyptian). I was largely successful.
Today, I attempt the same for another peom, Mejju gie, with Arabic translation, as well as a translation from the My-Malta (MM) web site, as well as my own translation (KB). A question mark is where I was not originally sure of the word, due to the Latin orthography, before looking up the English translation.
1. Mejju gie' bl'Uard, u Zahar
مايو جه، بالورد و زهر
MM: May arrived with its flowers and blossoms,
KB: May has come, with roses and flowers.
2. Aadda l bart, e Sceta, u 'l Beracq
عدى البرد و الشتا و البرق
MM: Gone are the cold, the rain and lightning,
KB: Cold has gone, and rain and lightning.
3. T'ghattiet l'art be nuar u l'Uueracq
اتغطت الارض بالنوار و الاوراق
MM: The ground is covered in blossoms and leaves,
4. heda e riech, seket el Bachar
هدى الريح سكت البحر
MM: The wind grew lighter and the sea has stilled,
KB: The wind is calmer, and the sea is still
5. Tar e schab men nuece e'Sema
طار السحاب من نص؟ السما
MM: The sky is clear of clouds,
KB: The clouds flew from the middle of the sky
6. Sa f'l'e Gebiel neptet el chdura
في الجبل نبتت الخضرة
MM: As greenery springs forth even in the hills,
KB: In the mountains, greenery has sprung
7. Regeet t'ghanni col Aasfura
رجعت تغني كل عصفورة
MM: And the [female] bird sings anew
KB: Every bird came back to sing
Note: col is translated as كل, though it could be merely ال preceded by "c" which should be attached to the previous word. Thus the verse would be رجعت تغنيك العصفورة , which is "back the bird is singing to you".
8. U' f' el fercol cqalb t'ertema
و في ال فركول؟ قلب ترتمى
MM: And pleasure overflows from the heart
Note: fercol is unknown to me. Could be an Italian word?
9. E qaila ferh kien fe di Gesira
و قيلة ؟ فرح كان في دي جزيرة
MM: And there would be little joy on this Island
Note: Turns out قيلة is in fact قلة, but the verse is still odd. Sad after the poem being happy so far.
10. li ma Kiensce min i uuennesha
اللي ما كانشي من الونيشة ؟
MM: Were it not for him who looks after her,
Note: uuennesha is really ونسها which is "keep her company". So the verse should be اللي ما كانشي يونسها He who would not keep her company.
11. li ma Kiensce min i charisha
اللي ما كانشي من الشريشة
MM: Were it not for him who protects her,
Note: Similar to the previous verse with just the last word being different. اللي ما كانشي حارسها He who would not guard her.
12. Kecu tepki el giuh phl lsira
؟ تبكي الجيوه في السيرة؟
MM: She would weep for hunger in slavery.
Note: The first word is unclear to me. The rest of the verse is ؟ تبكي الجوع في الاسيرة
13. Enti el ferh, u 'l hena taana
انتي الفرح و الهنا بتاعنا
MM: You [alone] are our happiness,
KB: You are our joy and happiness
14. Cotoner daul ta aineina
كوتونر؟ دول بتاع عنينا
MM: Cotoner, light of our eyes [i.e. indispensible]
Note: the use of بتاع or the Maltese derivative تاع is uniquely North African and in use today by Egyptians. It is not in classic Arabic.
15. Tant li e Sema i challic chdeina
طانت؟ للسما و خليك حدانا
MM: For as long as Heaven grants us your presence
Note: First word is unknown to me. حدانا is also in the Egyptian dialect today and not in classic Arabic.
16. Fl'achar bart i colna e schana
في الاخر برد و كلنا و شهانا؟
MM: Even in the worst cold will we have warmth.
Note: schana seems to be سخانة from the Arabic root for "hot".