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Song translations

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Song translations

Postby Nooj » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:07 am

These are a couple of stanzas from Joanna Newsom, a singer-songwriter. She's by far my favourite lyricist at the moment.

Whose is the hand that I will hold?
Whose is the face I will see?
Whose is the name that I will call,
when I am called to meet thee?

Cuius manus est quam tenebo?
cuius os quod videbo?
cuius nomen est quod vocebo,
cum vocata congredi ero cum te?

Stand here and name
the one you loved,
beneath the drifting ashes,
and, in naming,
rise above time,
as it, flashing, passes.

Hic sta et nomina
quendam amatum a te
sub cineribus turbatis
nominando itaque
surge supra tempus
fulgens dum exit

Well, I have sown untidy furrows
across my soul,
but I am still a coward,
content to see my garden grow
so sweet and full
of someone else's flowers.

prave aravi sulcos
per animum meum
tamen timida sum
libet mihi spectare hortum florentem
amoenissimum ac plenum florum
qui sunt alieni.
Dolor poetas creat.
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Re: Song translations

Postby Nooj » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:21 pm

Hi there, translated one of Emily Dickinson's poems:

ἡ καρδία ἐρώτα ἡδονὴν πρῶτος
καὶ οὖν σκῆψσιν ἐκ λύπης
καὶ οὖν τὰ ἀνωδύνια ἐκεῖνα
ἃ κακὰ ἤμβλυται.

καὶ οὖν, ὕπνῳ πεσεῖν
καὶ οὖν, εἰ δὲ ἐπιθυμοίη
ὁ τύραννος αὐτῆς
ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη,
ἵνα τελευτήσειεν αὑτὴ.

The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering,

And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.

The Inquisitor being God. Not sure if I could have ἐλευθερία + infinitive, so I used a purpose clause.
Dolor poetas creat.
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Re: Song translations

Postby NateD26 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:17 pm

Nooj wrote:Hi there, translated one of Emily Dickinson's poems:

ἡ καρδία ἐρώτα ἡδονὴν πρῶτος
καὶ οὖν σκῆψσιν ἐκ λύπης
καὶ οὖν τὰ ἀνωδύνια ἐκεῖνα
ἃ κακὰ ἤμβλυται.

The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering,


Hi, Nooj. Beautiful poem and translation.

[σκῆψσιν most likely a typo of σκῆψιν]
I think it should be τὰ ἀνώδυνα ἐκεῖνα, neut. subst. of the adj. ἀνώδυνος.

Nooj wrote:καὶ οὖν, ὕπνῳ πεσεῖν
καὶ οὖν, εἰ δὲ ἐπιθυμοίη
ὁ τύραννος αὐτῆς
ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη,
ἵνα τελευτήσειεν αὑτὴ.

And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.

Can you explain, if that's ok, what did you mean by the use of the opt. in the apodosis?
Shouldn't it be with ἄν, the potential opt.?
Nate.
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Re: Song translations

Postby Nooj » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:48 pm

NateD26 wrote:Hi, Nooj. Beautiful poem and translation.
I'm glad you find the poem so enjoyable, Dickinson is really awesome.

NateD26 wrote:[σκῆψσιν most likely a typo of σκῆψιν]
Yep, that's a typo.

NateD26 wrote:I think it should be τὰ ἀνώδυνα ἐκεῖνα, neut. subst. of the adj. ἀνώδυνος.
Here I have to feign ignorance, because I tried using the diminutive suffix -ιον for 'little anodynes' but didn't know if I could do that.

NateD26 wrote:Can you explain, if that's ok, what did you mean by the use of the opt. in the apodosis?
Shouldn't it be with ἄν, the potential opt.?
Woops, I think that was an accidental omission. Would the correct translation be τελευτήσειεν ἂν?
Dolor poetas creat.
Nooj
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Re: Song translations

Postby NateD26 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 6:01 pm

Nooj wrote:
NateD26 wrote:I think it should be τὰ ἀνώδυνα ἐκεῖνα, neut. subst. of the adj. ἀνώδυνος.


Here I have to feign ignorance, because I tried using the diminutive suffix -ιον for 'little anodynes' but didn't know if I could do that.

Oh, I forgot about the diminutive suffix. Whether or not one can do that, I do not know.
Perhaps adding μικρὰ as an adj. for ἀνώδυνα instead?

Nooj wrote:
NateD26 wrote:Can you explain, if that's ok, what did you mean by the use of the opt. in the apodosis? Shouldn't it be with ἄν, the potential opt.?


Woops, I think that was an accidental omission. Would the correct translation be τελευτήσειεν ἂν?

I'm not sure now that I read the English again. The protasis, "if it should be...," reads as a polite supplication which is often the opt. but is the apodosis here ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη or the purpose clause?
I have not studied many conditional constructions with the opt. The one that was the default, or "less
vivid" was εἰ (μὴ) + opt. » (οὐκ) opt. ἄν, in which both the condition and the result were perceived
as doubtful, less likely to happen. I'm not sure that is the case here.
Nate.
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Re: Song translations

Postby NateD26 » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:06 am

Nooj wrote:καὶ οὖν, ὕπνῳ πεσεῖν
καὶ οὖν, εἰ δὲ ἐπιθυμοίη
ὁ τύραννος αὐτῆς
ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη,
ἵνα τελευτήσειεν αὑτὴ.

And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.

I've searched for ἐλευθερίαν + inf. as direct object. I've found many results in Thucydides, but it was the other way
around, that is, "to ask for liberty" rather than "the liberty to ask".
Maybe you can enclose the condition as a parenthetical phrase, -- εἰ δὲ ἐπιθυμοίη ὁ τύραννος αὐτῆς --
and then end with this ἐλευθερίαν ὥστε* τελευτῆσαι, "the liberty so as to die".

* [Smyth 2267] Sorry. I edited from ὡς which according to Smyth 2086c is followed by a fut. participle. But your initial ἵνα + verb. is also common
with the same meaning. The question is: should it be opt. here instead of subj.?
Nate.
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Re: Song translations

Postby Nooj » Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:40 pm

NateD26 wrote:Oh, I forgot about the diminutive suffix. Whether or not one can do that, I do not know.
Perhaps adding μικρὰ as an adj. for ἀνώδυνα instead?
I can't believe I didn't think of that. Thank you. :)

NateD26 wrote:I'm not sure now that I read the English again. The protasis, "if it should be...," reads as a polite supplication which is often the opt. but is the apodosis here ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη or the purpose clause?
I think it would be ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη, because that's the part that expresses the consequences of the fulfillment of the condition.

But I also like your suggestion of the parenthesis - are you allowed to do that in Greek? I'm very much a beginner to the language.
Dolor poetas creat.
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Re: Song translations

Postby NateD26 » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:10 pm

Nooj wrote:I think it would be ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη, because that's the part that expresses the consequences of the fulfillment of the condition.

But I also like your suggestion of the parenthesis - are you allowed to do that in Greek? I'm very much a beginner to the language.

I'm also a beginner. Only had one year in college last year then continued on my own with a major help
from this awesome forum. :)

Sadly, I'm not familiar with the various constructions for conditionals with optative.
I only know of one: εἰ + opt. » opt. ἄν, the less vivid future.
The speaker is doubting the will of the inquisitor, God, to grant her freedom to die.
It sounds like the result is also less likely, from the speaker pov.
But you've added "it might ask for liberty" as the apodosis. Should it be ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη ἂν ἵνα τελευτήσῃ αὑτὴ.
or ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη ἵνα τελευτήσειεν ἂν αὑτὴ? or even ἐλευθερίαν ἐρωτῴη ἂν ἵνα τελευτήσειεν ἂν αὑτὴ?
That I truly do not know. I hope others will join in, 'cause I think I overcomplicated things.
Nate.
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Re: Song translations

Postby NateD26 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:44 am

Nooj, what is your approach when translating a poem? I would love to hear suggestions from you and others. :)
Nate.
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Re: Song translations

Postby Nooj » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:36 am

I don't think it's possible or at least it's very hard, to transfer the nuances of one language into another with any great accuracy. Poets just love playing around with words, it's what they do. And the trouble is that the words and syntax are from their language, not yours. Translating is a creative process really, because a translated poem owes as much to a translator's interpretation as to the original author.
Dolor poetas creat.
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