poesía de gotán:

La copa del olvido (1921)

A Glass of Forgetting
lyrics by Alberto Vaccarezza
music by Enrique Delfino

Waiter! Bring another round,
and serve a drink to anyone who wants one.
I’ve felt quite alone
and I’ve been quite sad
since I discovered the cruel truth.
Waiter! Bring another round—
last night, I saw the two of them together…
I wanted revenge, I wanted to kill her,
but some impulse calmed me down.

I went out to the street, taken aback,
I was in a haze until I arrived here
to ask these wise men
to ask them what I should do…
“Forget it, my friend,” some will say,
but I could never just forget her…
and if I kill her, then I’d live without her—
live without her! I never could!

Waiter! Bring another round
and serve a drink to anyone who wants one.
I want to make myself happy with this wine—
we’ll see if wine makes me forget.

Orquesta Ricardo Tanturi, singer Alberto Castillo (1942)

Carlos Gardel

(Spanish original after the jump)

La copa del olvido

¡Mozo! Traiga otra copa,
y sírvase de algo el que quiera tomar,
que ando muy solo
y estoy muy triste
desde que supe la cruel verdad.
¡Mozo! Traiga otra copa—
que anoche, juntos los vi a los dos…
Quise vengarme, matarla quise,
pero un impulso me serenó.

Salí a la calle desconcertado,
sin saber cómo hasta aquí llegué
a preguntar a los hombres sabios,
a preguntarles qué debo hacer…
“Olvide, amigo,” dirán algunos,
pero olvidarla no puede ser…
y si la mato, vivir sin ella,
vivir sin ella—nunca podré.

¡Mozo! Traiga otra copa
y sírvase de algo el que quiera tomar…
quiero alegrarme con este vino—
a ver si el vino me hace olvidar.

About Derrick Del Pilar

Born and raised in Chicago, I came to the tango while studying at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires in 2006. In 2008 I earned my B.A. with majors in Creative Writing and Spanish & Portuguese from the University of Arizona, and in 2009 I earned an M.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. My specialty is the history & literature of early 20th century Argentina.


4 thoughts on “La copa del olvido (1921)

  1. I became familiar with this lyricist when La Casa del Tango presented his sainete El Conventillo de La Palamo. Vacarezza invented the sainete, and a group of amateur singers presented an adaptation of his work in December. The son of Vacarezza was present that night, and there are tentative plans to present it once again at La Casa del Tango for the 50th anniversary of his death in August 2009. It’s one of the many places in Buenos Aires that host a “pena de cantores y poetas” (open mic session) with musicians.

    Thanks for the translation of this tango which I have danced many times without knowing Vacarezza was the author. At least this tango is written in standard Castellano rather than the style of his sainetes which require more time to understand. My friend adapted the script and a scan of the text proved that I needed six months of study to understand it.

    Posted by jantango | 05.09.2009, 2:44 AM
    • Glad to be of service, as always!
      I must confess, I’m not familiar with sainetes…what are they? A widening of my knowledge is always appreciated 🙂

      Posted by poesiadegotan | 05.09.2009, 11:26 PM
  2. According to my dictionary of Argentine speech, a sainete (Spanish origin) is a play characterized with humor about the customs of daily life in the conventillos. Vacarrezza wrote several of them, and the language is unique to the conventillos.

    A few hours ago I danced this Tanturi/Castillo recording, and it meant more after reading your translation. Gracias!

    Posted by jantango | 05.13.2009, 5:08 AM


  1. Pingback: Lejos de Buenos Aires (1942) « Poesía de gotán: The Poetry of the Tango - 05.08.2009

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The sound files on this site are included for illustrative purposes only. Those wishing to obtain high quality versions for their personal collections should purchase commercially available copies. If you can't get to a record store in Buenos Aires, a great many tangos are available, song by song, in meticulously digitized versions from http://www.tangotunes.com/ and others can be found on the iTunes music store or Amazon (transfer quality varies widely). Though he no longer has inventory available, Michael Lavocah's superb http://milonga.co.uk/ can help you determine which CDs might be best to buy used.
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