Friday, November 9, 2007

Quote(s) of the day

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
--Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Quote courtesy of NaPlWriMo and my dad, who noted that it echoed my statement "I'd better fall in love with my play so deeply that I can't not write it."

But, knowing how many misattributed quotations are out there, I decided to try to find the quote in the original French--that would teach me if it was authentic or not.

Seems like someone else has already done the work, dredging up Saint-Exupéry's poem "Dessine-moi une navire" ("Design me a ship") which expresses the same concept, but somewhat less evocative language.
Créer le navire,
ce n'est point tisser les toiles,
forger les clous,
lire les astres,
mais bien donner le goût de la mer.

To create a ship
is not at all to weave the sails,
forge the nails,
read the stars,
but rather to give a taste for the sea.
(my translation)
The popular English version is perhaps an improvement--but it ain't-exactély Saint-Exupéry.

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