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Passions in Poetry

Statius' Thebaid

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Essorant
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0 posted 07-20-2008 08:09 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

This is a translation from the beginning of Statius' great epic, Thebaid.  I appreciate any critique of it as a translation, or just on the wording and expression of the passage itself.
 

Brotherly strife and altern reign
Fought out with hatefulness profane
And guilty Thebes thus to unwind
Pierian fire befalls the mind.
Whence bid ye go, O Goddesses?
Sing I the rise of this dread race,
Sidonian rapes, Agenor's hest,
Or Cadmus searching seas on quest?
Long back the line: the farmer's yields
Of hidden Mars in faithless fields,
From point to point unfoldingly
To follow out and inwardly,
The song that Tyrian mountains made
To citywalls as Amphion bade,
The malice Bacchus homewards meant,
Harsh Juno's work, for whom was bent
The bow of Athamas' , or why
The mother never feared to die
But leapt with Palaemon would be
To great Ionian waves of sea.
Yet here and now the weal and woe
Of Cadmus I will fain forgo,
Oedipus' troubled house shall be
To this my song the boundary.
Italian signs not yet I aim
Nor of the North's triumphant fame,
How Rhine in yoke was twice begot,
Twice Istor to the laws was brought,
The Dacians thrown from the height
Of conjuration down unlight,
Jove saved from wars in growing youth,
And thou, a treat to Latian truth,
That drawst the doings of thy sire,
That e'er to have is Rome's desire.
Though everyone allow in mind
The stars more narrowly confined,
The shining portion of the heaven
Apart from Boreas and the Seven
And open lightning, edges thee,
Or Phoebus himself heavenly
The firefoot horses' reiner fair
His radiant arc press on thine hair,
Or Jupiter an equal share
Of the great pole for thee prepare,
Yet stay content with human-keep
O power of earth and waters deep!
And as thou mayst within thy might
Give constellations to the height.
Sometime unweaker I will wax
Pierian-fired to sing thy facts!


Notes:

altern: alternating
Pierian: of Pieria,  a home of the muses, hence "of the muses".
And thou: Statius is addressing the Roman Emperor Domitian.  Poetry had lofty audiences back then!
The shining portion (...): the southern part of the sky.
the Seven: the Pleiades

[This message has been edited by Essorant (07-22-2008 02:00 PM).]

© Copyright 2008 Essorant - All Rights Reserved
chopsticks
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1 posted 07-23-2008 08:32 AM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

Essorant, your timing is just not good. We donít know much about epics , but we do know sonnets.
Bob K
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2 posted 07-23-2008 11:08 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Essorant,

          As a rule I enjoy your translations.  I don't have any Latin, so I can't be of any help to you there.  My understanding is that thee and thy were pretty much back-country usages in Shakespeare's time and were evidence of a certain perceived archaism in speech.  How it got to pilgrims and Quakers, I don't know.  I know your preference for using it.  I believe it is a block to people's access to your generally fine work.  I believe that is the case here.

     The verses themselves are unfortunately hard on my ear.  You have put so much work into them I wince at saying so.  But the sort of work you've put in here shows itself strongly, and to my ear it seems unclear whether the lines are strong stress anglo-saxon type lines with some sort of twist to them, or whether they are tetrameter with occasional three foot exceptions.  My ear.  The addition of the rhyming couplets to the mix and the careful and, I believe, deliberate archaism with the thick studding of references to classical mythology gives this poem fragment a forbidding aspect.

     If Statius is as good as you say he is, I ask you if the original text posed, other than being in Latin, which most of us do not care to learn, the difficulties that this text poses.  I would find it odd indeed if the meter were anything of this sort at all, which is neither the meter of Statius' time,  nor the meter or diction of our own.  

     I am grateful to you for presenting me with a text that I would never have otherwise encountered, Essorant.  And I  thank you for that.

     Yours, BobK
oceanvu2
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3 posted 07-24-2008 02:12 AM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ess!  Well, we've been back and forth enough over your choice of form, so no point belaboring that.

On the other hand, unless I missed a punctuation mark, from "Italian signs" to "water's deep is two sentences over 21 lines...

First, its skillful as always that you can do it, but how does this help the reader follow the complex imagery and allusions?

Second, my own comment above strikes me as silly, like Mozart's patron in the film "Amadeus" complaining that Mozart's music had too many notes.

Is it worth considering a middle ground?

Best, Jimbeaux
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4 posted 07-24-2008 10:13 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Chops:  Re: "We donít know much about epics , but we do know sonnets."  What is this "we" stuff?  You got a frog in your pocket?

Best, Jimbeauc


chopsticks
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5 posted 07-24-2008 11:43 PM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

No Ocean, its not a frog it just looks like one,  Now donít be jealous , youíll

grow up and have one someday.
moonbeam
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6 posted 07-26-2008 06:12 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam


quote:
And thou: Statius is addressing the Roman Emperor Domitian.  Poetry had lofty audiences back then!

Don't complain Ess!  You have Chopsticks!

Whenever I read your learned translations I feel inadequate and small and generally unqualified to comment "expertly".  All I can say in truth is that they don't inspire me at all.  I marvel at your tenacity and dedication, while all the while wondering why on earth you do it.  When Fiona Sampson was appointed editor of Poetry Review I "groaned in spirit" because she is a maniac for translations.  I've been surprised however at just how much I've enjoyed contemporary eastern European work.  The emphasis is however on "contemporary".  Translations of old texts I simply cannot find appealing, and, shock horror, even Heaney's Beowulf didn't hold me for very long.  So why do some people find what you appear to enjoy so, well, enjoyable?  

Awhile ago I wrote the nonsense below to a friend at university who spent what I considered to be an unreasonable length of time in the library rather than with me.  I still feel the same I think - which probably means I'm shallow and haven't progressed much!

Scholar

And so we go da dum da dum
Until it merges to a hum,
And lulls one to a state of sleep
(Or else induces me to weep).
These iambs of the ancient gods
Could lead to soporific nods
In even those inclined to say
They love the Latination way.
Or is there something noble here
When through the library's gloom we peer?
The sun shafts in through eave high slits,
And motes of learning dance to its
Eternal light.  No cognisance
of this the tomes of tales and rants
in alleys shelved so deep and high
that nothing bright may sanctify
this dead ravine.  And there beside
a flame of wax with inky hide
and splitting quill, the scholar reads,
with valiant strength, of godly deeds
and worthless trials, and how this bow
was shot by him and how this po
tion drunk by her, and cities razed
and cities built, and emperors praised ---
and now all lost to memory.
Or not.  If this the fatigued bee
who totters round the frames of books
can yet extract from hiving nooks
one nuance from the ancient Greek,
(say: Pan is shy instead of meek!).
He keeps alive his queen of hearts
(for surely only Cupid's darts
could fuel this literary passion
keep him bound in such a fashion)
with morsels out of make believe
where brave men die and damsels grieve,
until like Causabon he wakes
one day outside the pearly gates
to find that actually nothing's made,
that everything he did will fade,
because he spent his waking hours
in rearranging long dead flowers.


chopsticks
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7 posted 07-26-2008 06:51 PM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

ď Don't complain Ess! You have Chopsticks!Ē

He does Moonbeam, I admire Essorant and read  all his work.

ďA friend at university spent what I considered to be an unreasonable length of time in the library rather than with me.Ē

Moonbeam, the reason for  that could be your low PH or it could be something else.

Essorant
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8 posted 07-29-2008 06:49 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Thanks everyone for commenting.


Chopsticks,

Thanks for showing up.  But I am not sure what I ought to think about that comment.  Was I supposed to wait for a special signal before I posted?  


Bob,

I enjoy and appreciate your critiques as well.  It is no problem if you don't  know the Latin, for that is not necessary for judging the poetic virtue of a poetic writing/expression.  

About "thou".  I agree, the thou-words,  may be a bit of a "block", but it is easy to overcome by simply learning how to use them.   Whoever knows how to use he/his/him and the inflection -s also knows how to use thou/thine/thee and the inflection -est, for they are the same principle in two different words.  I would rather inspire someone to remove that "block" than give into the weighty bulk of laziness.  

Indeed, the meter (Iambic tetrameter) is much different from Statius' meter.  He used Dactylic Hexameter and a syntax that often breaks one phrase with another.   Consider the below line describing Jupiter entering an assembly of the gods, where the adjective placido "(with) placid" modifies vultu "face", but the two words are put at opposite ends of the line, split by a contrasting phrase in between:

placido††     quatiens      tamen   omnia     vultu
with placid   shaking up   however   all things   face

(With placid face, however shaking up all things)

I love how that is done in Latin, but I wouldn't wish to try to make English be Latin and do that.  English has its own traditions and styles.  When writing in English therefore, I generally don't try to imitate the Latin or Greek, but follow the important traditions of the English language.

Sorry the lines were "hard on the ear".  Any suggestions on how I may work them softer?

Ocean

Thanks for sharing your words.  

quote:
On the other hand, unless I missed a punctuation mark, from "Italian signs" to "water's deep is two sentences over 21 lines...


What is wrong with two sentences over 21 lines?

quote:
but how does this help the reader follow the complex imagery and allusions?


It doesn't.  Remember this is a moment of translation, not a "Statius for dummies"           But I may consider adding more footnotes.  


Moonbeam

Thanks for commenting and sharing that poem.  

quote:
Whenever I read your learned translations I feel inadequate and small and generally unqualified to comment "expertly".  


Well, there is no need to treat yourself that way, Moonbeam.   My rough and awkward translation is no reason to belittle yourself.

quote:
So why do some people find what you appear to enjoy so, well, enjoyable?  


I think it mostly comes from three things:

1.  Enjoying and appreciating the greatness of the work itself.  
2.  Studying and appreciating the work in its original language.  
3. And thirdly, understanding that enriching and reinvigorating the art of translating the work shall enrich and reinvigorate the ability for people to experience and be connected with the work.  

Most people don't know the original language, and rely on translations.  The translations therefore are basically their experience and connection to the work.  If it weren't for translations most people wouldn't be able to read many of the greatest works ever written.

chopsticks
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9 posted 07-29-2008 07:27 PM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

Ess, I think I can call you that now,  your poem had been on the page going on three days  and I wanted to

read some replies , I believe it worked. Your poem had been passed up to reply to a sonnet and that is

their  right.  

You are the coolest poet at this forum.
Bob K
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Dear Essorant,


          I think that one would have to look at actual attempts at full length modern epics in English to see how other folks have had a shot at the same sets of issues in order to give a decent answer to your question.  If not actual epics, then at least long poems in English.

     Three strands of work seem to apply for consideration.  One  sidesteps the elevation of diction that traditional epic at least sometimes offers.  Pound offers an attempt at the elevation of diction, but seems unable to stick to a particular story.  His skill at his variety of languages seems to me also to stretch the actual notion of epic in ways that don't work particularly well.  

     Others seem none the less to have tried to take the epic into the 20th and 21st century by building on the example of Pound.  To throw out any possible technical approaches to translation that might be available as a result of his work and the work of Olsen, Zukovsky and other experimentalists might prove unnecessarily limiting.  While not fond of them myself, they are worth a critical examination and perhaps a technical ransacking.  Their notion of Epic is much more personal than the traditional.

     A second source might be  Auden's long work, such as "Letter From Iceland" and "Age of Anxiety," both of considerable formal skill.  Their adaptation traditional form to modern English diction and syntax is very good.
My understanding of Statius' work is that  his stuff in the context of his time would have resembled Auden's in its elegance and fluidity.  (Auden, too, was an anglo-saxon scholar; Auden had to fortune of being able to study with Tolkien).

     Yet another strand worth studying would be the strand represented by John Gardner and his Jason and Medea, his novel length verse epic, well worth reading.

     What you write can only be written by you, what you translate, can only find its English at your hands, and you are pretty darn good at it.  I think that you restrict your readers with unnecessarily complicated and knotty translations, more difficult than the originals warrant.  To whatever the extent this is accurate, you may be keeping readers from worthy texts, rather than helping to introduce readers to them.  Use of Thee and Thou in texts that don't require them, I believe, blocks potential readers.  

     As a perhaps useless question, I've been doing some reading on Homer, and have run across mention of a (?) lost fifth century B.C.E. Greek epic MSS also titled, I think, The Thebaid.  Is your Statius Mss. related to this earlier Greek Mss in some way, or am I off on a wild Greek chase?  My reading has apparently glanced tangentially off some of your interests, and I thought I'd ask somebody who knows more about this sort of stuff than I do.

     Best from LA, BobK.
moonbeam
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11 posted 07-30-2008 04:34 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Ess

That's precisely the point.  My shame I guess is in being totally unable to distinguish whether it IS rough and awkward or the most brilliant effort.  Beyond contemporary English my linguistic abilities have always been negligible.

Your three reasons for enjoyment:

I can appreciate I suppose that some people find the work of that age inspiring, personally I don't really find it so.  Maybe paradoxically I can in fact see that read in the original language it might have interest and nuances that add dimensions which those who can't read the language would miss to the severe detriment of enjoyment.  Which I suppose means that I can sort of see why a translator would feel inspired to try and bring those tones to a wider audience.  Perhaps most of all, I've never really thought of translation as you describe it; an "art".  Translators I have felt don't actually add anything original to a work, they don't CREATE, they don't, in fact, do anything other than just mechanistically change the words form one language to another.  A computer could do it.  And in point of fact if a translator DID create or add originality would that not be some kind of abuse of the original intention of the writer and therefore not a "translation" at all but a new poem - or at the very least a "borrowed idea", which has a kind of unsavoury feel to it.  

But I can see from what you say that there is clearly more to all this than I imagined in my simple way.  And all I can really repeat is that I greatly admire your knowledge and skills in this field, and thanks for the explanation.

M

Later addendum following a post from another: Just to be clear Ess (as there may be some confusion it seems), when I said "Translators I have felt" I did really mean "have felt" i.e. in the past.  I didn't mean to imply that I continue to feel that way after your explanation.  

[This message has been edited by moonbeam (07-30-2008 06:23 PM).]

chopsticks
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12 posted 07-30-2008 08:19 AM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

ď Fear not old translator because I have news for you ď

Ess., there I go again, some of the best  stuff I have ever read was brought to me by a translator. The very

best stuff I have ever read, thanks to king James, was a translation of a translation.

ďTranslators I have felt don't actually add anything original to a work, they don't CREATE, they don't, in fact, do anything other than just mechanistically change the words form one language to another ď

Now to say a translator donít create, is like saying  when I tell my doctor my symptoms and, he translates

from his medical book, tells me, Chops donít worry about it , its just a  virus  thatís going around.  Then he

gives me a bottle of alkaline pills and charges  me fifty bucks.
Bob K
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13 posted 07-30-2008 09:56 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Moonbeam,

           A decent translation can make the difference between static words on a page and a poem.  You might for example check out the differences between the W.S.Merwin translation of 20 love songs and a Poem of Despair  with translations other other of Neruda's poems by other folks.  Or look at various translations of Rilke's "Der Panther" and you can see what an enormous difference even good translations can make.  MacIntyre vs. Mitchell Vs Snodgrass vs.whomever.  There are even computer translation programs you can put a poem through.  Check out some of those.  

     Even more interestingly, try translating a poem yourself.  There's an amazing amount of art and skill to it.

     With Essorant, sometimes, I worry, that he's pouring his skills into translation at the expense of ignoring his own poetry.  Too much goes into the translation, and shame on me for saying such a thing.  But I'm afraid there's too much Essorant and not enough whomever.  BK
moonbeam
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14 posted 07-31-2008 04:19 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Bob

Me ... read Neruda!? bring out the garlic and cross.    

I find Rilke rewarding and challenging, but only have Bly's Selected Poems translation, so I have nothing to compare it with.  I suppose I need to rectify that sorry state sometime.

As for translating myself (in a manner of speaking), I can hear my old French teacher guffawing even from 35 years ago.  In any case if I was as talented as Ess with his linguistic abilities, I am quite sure that my ego would produce poems with, as you put it, too much Moonbeam and not enough original.  

As for Ess himself - I used to think what you express, now in my mellow moments I wonder whether his translations aren't in fact his "poetry" and his destination.  That is if, after the brother john, thread you actually believe in destinations.

M
Bob K
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15 posted 08-01-2008 12:34 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

  Dear Moonbeam,

            Certainly I do.  I simply have an enormous respect for the part the unconscious plays in getting to the destination and I have a pretty fair understanding of what happens when you try to impose conscious design on unconscious patterning.  The negotiations can be very delicate.  Some folks, folks much more talented than I, are more skillful at riding those particular currents.  I have an idiotic  stubbornness that often keeps me at the process of revision for more than twenty years and often many more than a hundred revisions.  I don't think I've shared anything here that's gone through more than maybe ten or fifteen, and certainly none that I've put any lengthy time into.

     Don Justice used to suggest that you put your stuff in a drawer sometimes for ten years and see how it looked after it had time to settle.  The older I get, the more I find myself following that advice.  So yes, I do very much believe in destinations.  I also believe that I have to be respectful of my unconscious process in getting to them, simply because I'm not smart enough to get there on my own.

     Does that clarify things at all?

     I'll be out of town for about ten days to visit upstate New York and elderly in-laws and parents.  I'll be leaving tonight, so it's possible a reply to this note may be somewhat delayed.  It is an interesting discussion.  I certainly don't mean to diminish Essorant, if that's how you read me.  His talents are remarkable.

Best wishes, BobK.
Essorant
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16 posted 08-02-2008 01:39 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Bob,

I agree with many of your points.  However I would say one also ought to look beyond Modern English for good epics in English, for Old English and Middle English were especially flowering with poetic retellings of histories and tales, poetic translations and paraphrases.   In truth, it is hard to think of a pre-modern work that wasn't based on other works or earlier traditions surrounding its theme.   The kind of  "freeverse"-style creativity that people pursue today,  almost seems the opposite of the kind of creativity people often sought in earlier times.  Back then people tried to stand stronger on the roots that were already proven and wellestablished to bring forth branches of something new, instead of trying to detach themselves in order to try do the same thing.

quote:
Is your Statius Mss. related to this earlier Greek Mss in some way, or am I off on a wild Greek chase?


I believe so, but don't know for sure.   Thebes is in Greece, therefore it makes sense that the chief sources were probably Greek, probably including that work and others.  Statius spent over a decade working on the poem, so surely it wasn't just a translation of Greek into Latin.  
 

Moonbeam

quote:
Beyond contemporary English my linguistic abilities have always been negligible.


Well, what are you waiting for?  You may overcome that with help.  A good place to begin is Latin Via Ovid.  I like this grammar because it is a good balance between both the "natural" (directly using Latin) and the "analytical" (studying and memorizing grammar)" approaches to learning Latin.  

quote:
Maybe paradoxically I can in fact see that read in the original language it might have interest and nuances that add dimensions which those who can't read the language would miss to the severe detriment of enjoyment.  


I think most translations capture at least the main substance of the work.  And most people only first read the work through the benefit of a translation.  Even though the manner of translation is important,  I think it is the substance of the work that inspires people most to become more intimate with the work, and go even further to seek the original language behind it.  If he didn't admire the work itself (in almost any translation), then the original language is probably not going to make much of a difference.   But if one truly admires the soul of the poem itself then learning the original language is a great way of learning more and experiencing it more fully.   It is the inspiration and admiration of the poem itself that sparks forth studies to learn and share it in translation.  People don't try to study and learn a literary work better to bring the experience into their own language and culture if they don't find great inspiration and virtue in the work itself.





Here are further lines I have been working on from Thebaid. I hope the links help deal with unfamiliar words or references.  



Now I hold out the chelys' charms
Only to sing Aonian arms,
The deadly staff to tyrants twain
And furies death might not restrain,
The flames rebellious reaching higher
With discord of the funeral pyre,
Of kingly corpses lacking tombs
And cities alternating dooms,
Whenas the Dirce's cerulean flood
Should rubricate with Lernaean blood,
And Thetis awed at Ismenos
That thinning oft through dryland flows,
Coming along the riverbed
With unkind clutter of the dead.
Whom first, O Clio, clearly show
Of heroes now wilt thou bestow?
Tydeus in ire unwieldy left?
The laureled prophet's sudden cleft?
Fell Hippomedon's slaughterforce
Driving the hostile rivercourse,
Urges, and due is to deplore
The violent Arcadian's war
And in another horror hung
Capaneus' story to be sung.

Now dolven were deserving eyes
With impious hand to penalize
And damnate shame forletting sight
Was drowned within eternal night.
Oedipus thus had holden breath
Of life, below a longsome death,
Indulgent in a blind retreat
And inmost dwellings of his seat
Impervious unto heaven's rays
Keeping with care his private place.
But the harsh mind's own daylight brings
The ceasless circling of its wings
And in the bosom now belongs
The Furies' wreaking of his wrongs.
He lifted orbs bereft of light,
Of life the raw and wretched wite,
To-heaven-wards and hands blooddrowned
Beating upon the idle ground,
He thus resounded through the air
With sorry steven in a prayer:
"O Gods, that govern guilty souls
Tartarus also strict with tolls,
And thou, O Styx, that I besee
Greyish with grounddepths shadowy
And Tisiphone muchclept by me,
Nod at my prayer's perversity.  


(to be continued)

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-02-2008 06:53 PM).]

Essorant
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17 posted 08-09-2008 11:56 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Oedipus' Prayer & Curse


If ever I was earning well,
When from my mother's womb I fell,
Thou favouredst me within thy barm,
And healedst my feet throughstung with harm;
If Cirrah-lake I yode unto
Betwixt the ridge with summits two
Whenas my life might be content
Beside untrue Polybus spent,
Where Phocian narrow's three ways thring
Lifewrestled with the longyeared king,
And carved his trembling face in ire
While I was searching for my sire;
By thee foreshowing I o'ercame
The cruel Sphinx's riddlegame;
If in sweet furies I was led
Into my mother's sorry bed,
Unholy nights unseldomly
I bore, and bairns begot for thee,
As well thou wost, I wished my wite,
Wreaking with fingers cutting right,
My eyes whereof I be bereft
Upon my wretched mother left.
Hear out, if worthy be my prayer
To raging, that thyself might bear.
My sons nor help to guide in grief
Nor with their words would lend relief,
Those, on whichever bed I bore,
Lo, overmoody! O for sore!
And with my death, the kingdom own,
My blindhood scorn and hate my groan.
Funereal too am I to these?
Idle the sire of gods besees?
Come now,  my right revenger be.
Web their whole line in penalty.
Don thou the horebeshitten crown
By my own bloody nails brought down.
Stirred by a father's wish and pain
Go in between the brothers twain
And by swordiron up and under
Let bonds of kindred burst asunder.
Give, O Tartarean abyss' queen
The crime I covet to have seen.
Nor will the younglings' spirits two
Be tardy followers thereto.
Come thou that worthy art alone,
My weds shall unto thee be known. "


barm: bosom
yode: went
thring: to press or crowd together
bairns: children
wost: present tense, singular, second person form of the verb wit "to know".
overmoody: arrogant
hore: filth
beshitten: befouled
weds: pledges, (Latin pignora), with special meaning "children" in Latin


Essorant
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18 posted 08-18-2008 02:13 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant



Therewith, the cruel Diva stirred,
Turned her grim cheer and harked his word.
Beside Cocytus' flood unfair,
By chance, she sate with loosened hair
That with its snakes had let down slide
And lick at large the swevelen tide.
Swifter than levinfire of Jove,
Swifter than falling stars above,
Anon, she leapt with no delay,
Left the trist bank and took her way.
The people fled, inane and shady,
And feared the course of their own lady.
She went through shade and shadowwong
Throughglidden by a ghostly throng
To where irremeable sate
The threshold of Taenarus' gate.
The day then felt her coming near,
The night againstwards gan t'appear
With pitchy welkin overpight
And vexed the shining steeds with fright.
Far Atlas shook with axles great
And loosened heaven's dubious weight.
Resurging forth from Malea's dell
To-Thebes-ward took a way known well,
For swiftlier nany path she foor
Nor liked her own Tartarus more.
Hund nadders' shade her face o'erspread,
The turmoil of her gruesome head.
Within her eyeorbs' sunken pits
A ferreous shining deeply sits,
As Phoebus' work, through welkins led,
Atracian art supplies with red.
With venom and with sweaty hore
Her hide is stretched and swells e'er more.
Forth from her mouth fullswart and dire,
Comes longsome thirst, a steam of fire,
Disease and hunger, from that breath,
And people's universal death.
Adown her back and shoulders cast
A horrid pall is holden fast,
Whose nodes cerulean come around
Amidst her breast, together bound.
Atropos thilk attire, thereto,
Eke queen Proserpine make new.
Then, both her hands shake up with ire:
This, blazes with a funeral fire,
That, with a living watersnake
Swinges the air and makes it shake.  

Where most with peak abruptly high,
Cithaeron runs into the sky,
Behold, she stood, with verdant hair,
And twins wild hisses through the air,
A sign to lands and life around
Whence all Achaean shores resound,
Wherewith Pelopian kingdoms lide,
With din and echoe wandering wide,
Parnassus in midheaven heard,
And rough Eurotus further stirred,
Oete moved dubious to its sides,
And Isthmos scarce withstood twin tides.
Palaemon's mother, then, in sooth,
From curvy dolphin hent her youth
Wandering from reins, her son most dear,
Pressed to her breast and held him near.


cheer: face
unfair: unbeautiful
swevelen: sulpherous
wong: field
trist: sorrowful
glidden: past participle of glide
pight: pitched
axles: shoulders
nany: not any
foor: fared
hund: hundred
nadders: snakes
eke: also
lide: to make a noise (related to the adjective loud)

Atracian:

"Atrax, -cis, Atracia, Stephanus; a town of Thessaly, on the Peneus, almost ten miles from Larissa, Livy, Strabo; in the district of Pelasgiotis, Stephanus.  Atracius, the epithet: hence, Atracia ars [Atracian art], Statius, denotes magic.  Atraces, the people, Livy." - A Dictionary of Ancient Geography, by Alexander MacBean, Samuel Johnson

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-19-2008 12:16 PM).]

Essorant
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19 posted 08-24-2008 08:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


Thence, to the Cadmean rooftop's height
The headlong Goddess took her flight,
And there anon, so as her list,
She set the house in wonely mist.
Soon, sudden stirrings, up and under,
Clapped through the brothers' breasts like thunder,
And furor hent the hearts of kin,
And envy sick at other's win,
Hatefathering fear and kingdomlust,
And broken bonds of brothertrust,
Ambition loathing second grace
Wishing alone the foremost place,
And discord such with all its pains
As e'er accompanies partnered reigns.
As through a rough and savage flock
Indeed, in laborous yoke to lock,
A farmer will and holds in mind
To have two chosen bullocks bind,
That, with steep necks unready yet
Not bent in knotful arms and set,
Indignant, draw a diverse course,
But loose the chains with even force,
And thus in many sundry way
Confound the furrows as they stray:
Not otherwise, hot discord grew
Twixt the indomite brothers two.
Of altern year, they laid by law,
One duke in banishment should draw.
An oath malignant thus bestow
And bid their fortune overgo,
That, whom, by headlong right were rex,
That other heir should ever vex.  
This was the bond the brothers bore,
And sole delayment of a war,
That nould, in truth, between the twain
Perdure unto a second reign.


list: to please (the impersonal verb)
wonely: usual, wonted
win: joy (as in winsome)
many sundry way: many (a) sundry way (When used singularily many does not need to be followed by a(n), and originally a(n) was not used with it at all.  For example, Ģśr wśs helm monig eald ond omig "there was helm many old and oomy (rusty)" (Beowulf line 2762)
rex: king
nould: would not


[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-24-2008 11:32 PM).]

Essorant
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20 posted 08-29-2008 03:09 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


Not then were fulvous ceilings seen
With metal crass, as one might ween;
Not with Greek mounts aloft and tall
Was shining forth the propped-up hall,
Holding enough the clients' heap;
Nor spears guard o'er the kings sore sleep;
Nor set in many altern stow
No watchmen groaning as they go;
Nor care a winecup gemmed to hold
Nor with the food to sully gold;
But naked power armed the twain
To fight about a richless reign!
And while they both ambiguate
And twixt themselves raise much debate,
Of which the squalid acrework
Should turn and till of narrow Dirce
Or o'er the Tyrian exile's throne
Unlofty, be with boast upblown,
Farewell to justice' bonds that bind!
Those humanly or heavenkind,
With goodness giving up its breath,
Farewell to worth of life and death!
Wherewards, alas, do ye aspire
Miserable ones, to stretch your ire?
What if by such a crime, the goal
Were paths and limits of the pole
Whereof the sun with rosey tinge
Emitting from the eastern hinge
Or setting at th' Iberian gate
Beholds the heavenly estate;
Or lands most distant and unneigh
He touches with his sidelong ray,
By Boreas frorn, or warming there
With fire and dewy Notus' air.
Not if both Tyre's and Phrygia's gold
Were heaped as one for one to wold!
The dreadful steads so as they sate
And tow'rs accursed sufficed in hate,
Purchased with savage rage and heat:
The price of Oedipus's seat.

crass: thick
neigh: another spelling/pronunciation of nigh (as in neighbour)
Boreas: the north wind
Notus: the south wind
frorn: the original past participle of freeze
wold: to have power over

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-29-2008 04:10 PM).]

chopsticks
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21 posted 08-29-2008 06:13 PM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

Essorant, I enjoy  your translations. I wonder if you could touch on the word~ person~ particular from the Greek and Latin . I know the dictionary definition . I  hope you can put some personality to the word. I wonít tell you why, so I wonít bias your thinking

If you donít have the time , I understand .

Essorant
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22 posted 08-29-2008 11:50 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Thanks Chops.  The word person comes from Latin persona and betokened the mask worn by a player (an actor) in a play.  Some resources say persona comes from the equivelant Etruscan word phersu "mask" (back then ph was pronounced as it looks p + h, not as "f") and that that comes from the equivelant Greek prosopon "mask, face" (plural prosopa).   But similar sounds and meanings don't necessarily mean one evolved from another.  A more logical etymology is given in my Elementary Latin Dictionary, referring to persona as being made up of per "through" and son- "sound", just as the verb personare "to sound through".  Therefore most literally it may mean the thing, usually the mask, through (per) which the actor sends the sound (sonus) of his voice.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-30-2008 12:30 PM).]

chopsticks
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23 posted 08-30-2008 12:56 PM       View Profile for chopsticks   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for chopsticks

"Therefore most literally it may mean the thing, usually the mask, through (per) which the actor sends the sound (sonus) of his voice."

Thanks Essorant, this should help.
Essorant
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24 posted 09-14-2008 01:40 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant



Now Polynices right to throne
The drawings of the lots postpone.
What then, indeed, was that to be
O cruel one, that day for thee,
When sole alone in hollow hall
Thou sawst thy pow'r and servants all
But ne'er a wight within that stead,
With equal heed held up his head?
Murm'ring in th' Echion folk begins
And mute dissent about the prince,
And as their wont within their love
A venturer is set above.
Some lowly churl arose theremong
Whose mood was most in making wrong
With venomed words, nor would he e'er
With willing neck such leaders bear:
"This the sour fates have hither brought
This to Ogygian land, the lot?
This often those that ought be feared
To change and change how things are steered,
And doubtful necks together lock
Beneath an alternating yoke?
The fates of folk they turn together
And handle fortune as a feather.
In turn, fore'er, I ought to lout
To exilelords, in days of doubt?
Of heav'n and earth, thou sower highest
To friends is this the mind thou guyest?
Is yet on Thebes the omen old
Sith Cadmus bidden forth and bold
Upon Carpathian billows worden
Sought the Sidonian bull's sweet burden
As exile through Hyantean plains
Came on a kingdom, in his pains,
Sew in the gaping, fruitful earth
Brotherly strife and much unmirth,
An omen founding there at once
Forever unto future sons?
Lo, with his consort now away
See how his pride has no delay
And harsher and erectly now
He threats, arising 'neath his brow!
What threats he carries in his face!
What overmood and lack of grace!
Will this a private life e'er share?
Yet that was mildmood to our pray'r
More friendly in his speech was he
And patient of equality.
What wonder?  He was not alone,
But we a throng, vile to the bone
Are prompt and e'er ourselves prepare
For any ruler whatsoe'er
As hence by frigid Boreas,
By Eurus eke nubiferous,
Sails be outdrawn and ships abroad
Amidst wild fortune bend and nod,
Alas, indeed, the bitter fate
This worthless theed must tolerate
That much uncertainty besets
While this one rules and that one threats."


O cruel one: referring to Eteocles, the brother of Polynices.
lout: to bow
guy: to guide. (related to the verb guide, but not to the noun guy)
is this the mind: "mind" more or less means "plan or intent" here.
sith: since
worden: past participle of the verb worth "to become".  The th turned to d, as in the past participle of seethe: sodden, and the variant form of burthen: burden.
the Sidonian bull's sweet burden: Europa, after whom the continent Europe is named.  Jupiter loved Europa and in the shape of a bull carried her away on his back.  
sew: the original past tense of sow
Will this...yet that: This = Eteocles, that = Polynices.
mildmood mildspirited (originally -mood was widely used in adjectives this way, and without an -ed.  We often still use foot this way, as threefoot, instead of threefooted)
overmood: arrogance.
theed: nation, folk

[This message has been edited by Essorant (09-15-2008 11:35 AM).]

 
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