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Homer in English Hexametres

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Homer in English Hexametres

Postby Elucubrator » Thu Apr 24, 2003 1:33 am

This passage is from a new book (2002), the first of its kind to be published in over one hundred years! The book is called "A Guide to Latin Meter and Verse Composition", by David J Califf. On one page of this little gem of a book is the following:<br /><br /><br />The dactylic rhythm is rather difficult to achieve in English, which more readily lends itself to the iamb, but there have been some notable successes. In 1847, a group of poets collaborated on a project of English Hexameter Translations. Dr. Thomas Hawtrey, a minor poet but technically skilled versifier selected a passage from Book III of Homer's Iliad. .... [here an] excerpt from Hawtrey's translation, which Matthew Arnold praised as "the most successful attempt hereto made at rendering Homer into English".<br /><br />_______________________________________________________<br /><br />Clearly the rest I behold of the dark-ey'd sons of Achaia;<br />Known to me well are the faces of all; their names I remember;<br />Two, two only remain, whom I see not among the commanders,<br />Kastor, fleet in the car--Polydeuces, brave with the cestus--<br />Own dear brethren of mine--one parent loved us as infants.<br />Are they not here in the host, from the shores of lov'd Lakedaimon?<br />Or, tho' they came with the rest of the ships that bound thro' the waters,<br />Dare they not enter the fight or star in the council of Heroes,<br />All for the fear of the shame and the taunts my crime has awaken'd?<br /> So said she;--they long since in Earth's soft arms were reposing,<br />There, in their own dear land, their Father-land, Lakedaimon. :'(<br />_______________________________________________________<br /><br /><br />The little face was my insertion. ;)<br /><br />This short passage in English hexametres observes all the rules of the ancient Greek hexametre, including quantities, caesurae, and bridges.<br />Be sure you read it aloud, as things ought to be read, so that one may hear them better. :)<br /><br />Beautiful Thomas,<br />Absolutely beautiful. <br /><br />Hope you enjoy'd this one,<br /><br />-S.
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Re:Homer in English Hexametres

Postby Jeff Tirey » Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:08 pm

i'm feeling a little :'( myself after reading that passage - very beautiful.
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Re:Homer in English Hexametres

Postby Raya » Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:27 pm

That is one *stunning* rendition...<br /><br />It's amazing what difference the meter makes. I think that's what my own study of Homer has lacked so far - keeping in mind that my Greek isn't good enough to approach him in the original yet - not just meter, but diction in general, which is inevitably lost in translation. I know in English poetry I am sensitive to the *sounds* more than anything else...
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Re:Homer in English Hexametres

Postby Raya » Sat Apr 26, 2003 9:50 pm

[quote author=Elucubrator link=board=2;threadid=67;start=0#239 date=1051148002]<br />...which Matthew Arnold praised as "the most successful attempt hereto made at rendering Homer into English".<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Anyone interested in reading Arnold's lectures on translating Homer? It's available in PDF form here:<br /><br />http://www.ajdrake.com/etexts/texts/Arnold/Works/on_trans_homer_last_w_1862.pdf
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Re:Homer in English Hexametres

Postby Elucubrator » Sun Apr 27, 2003 3:49 am

Raya!!!<br /><br />thanks for digging up the link to the Matthew Arnold Lecture. It's too long for me to read right now. But I'm glad to have it. ;D <br /><br />-S.<br />
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