Textkit Logo

Fire and Ice (Ignis et Glacies) -- An Elegiac

This board is a composition workshop, like a writers' workshop: post your work with questions about style or vocabulary, comment on other people's work, post composition challenges on some topic or form, or just dazzle us with your inventive use of galliambics.

Moderator: annis

Fire and Ice (Ignis et Glacies) -- An Elegiac

Postby Didymus » Sun Sep 24, 2006 3:12 pm

This is my first effort at Latin verse comp. I am not entirely displeased with it, although I recognize at least some of its infelicities. I would be greatly interested in comments and suggestions for improvement.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-- Robert Frost

Code: Select all
Ignis et Glacies

igne ferunt alii mundum nostrum periturum,
  multi alii glacie, nescio verum equidem.
e desiderio tamen acri quod male sensi
  illis me ducit credere qui favorem
dant igni.  sin bis foret hic periturus aquosus
  mundus, odi puto me scire satis citus ut
magnam etiam glaciem esse ruinae dicere possim
  et satis esse et plus quam satis esse mihi.


This version is cast firmly in the Catullan mode -- for example, there are elisions throughout, and the endings of lines and hemipes don't follow strict Ovidian usage. The third line, with its ending in consecutive disyllables, is unfortunately particularly jarring. I fear that this effort is probably too clumsy to be emended to meet Ovid's standards.

Certain words exist to fill out the meter; I single out here especially aquosus in line 5. I don't have a Gradus; therefore I am somewhat on my own when it comes to inventing epithets. Anyone have any better ideas?

In line 2 nescio is scanned as a dactyl, as licensed by at least Vergil and Catullus. In line 6 puto is scanned short-short, as seems typical in elegiacs. In line 8 mihi is some kind of ethic dative, "in my eyes" or some such.

I hope that meae nugae, such as they are, have not caused anyone to faint dead away in horror. Again, suggestions for improvements will be most welcome and appreciated!

Didymus
Didymus
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:46 pm

Postby bellum paxque » Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:23 pm

I'm afraid that I can offer but little advice in the realm of verse comp. My efforts extend only to two imitations of Vergilian hexameters, and I can do little more than scan with some accuracy.

Still, I enjoyed reading your translation of a poem I've always loved.

I did have a question or two about syntax, which, I realize, is probably not what you're most interested in.

"e desiderio tamen acri quod male sensi
illis me ducit credere qui favorem
dant igni."

What is ducit doing here? Is it impersonal? Or perhaps there's an implied subject? The relationship of e desiderio... to the rest of the sentence seems exceedingly vague. But maybe there's an idiom with ducit e that I'm not familiar with.

"odi puto me scire satis citus ut"

Is citus one of the filler words you mentioned?

"magnam etiam glaciam esse ruinae"

This follows the English pretty closely, but I'm not sure that "ruinae" really expresses "for destruction." At least I was confused reading this until I compared with the English and realized what you were doing.

"et satis esse et plus quam satis esse mihi."

There's a great Latin idiom for this, "satis superque" which sadly won't work in this sort of verse because of the quantity. But what about satis et super? I think you could slide that in nicely. It's just that the last line seems plus quam satis to me, in its length. "And would suffice" gets stretched out pretty long.

And a few minor notes on quantity.

Are you scanning glacie in line 3 as short-short-long? Maybe I'm missing something, but it sure seems like it's short-short-short and you need a long at that point in the elegiac.

For some reason, I thought that the "o" in favorem (line 4) was long. Maybe not? Well, I just checked my dictionary, which confirms this suspicion. So that line doesn't quite scan right.

As I said, I'm no expert (!!!), but I'm pretty impressed by your first venture into verse comp.

Why don't you tell us a little about yourself? If you want to try for a Latin introduction, just visit the Agora.

Respectfully,

David
phpbb
bellum paxque
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 718
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 2:29 pm
Location: nanun Hanguge issoyo (in Korea sum)

Postby Didymus » Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:02 am

bellum paxque wrote:I did have a question or two about syntax, which, I realize, is probably not what you're most interested in.

"e desiderio tamen acri quod male sensi
illis me ducit credere qui favorem
dant igni."

What is ducit doing here? Is it impersonal? Or perhaps there's an implied subject? The relationship of e desiderio... to the rest of the sentence seems exceedingly vague. But maybe there's an idiom with ducit e that I'm not familiar with.


These two lines run something like: "Nevertheless, that which I have male felt from sharp desire leads me to believe those who give preference to fire."

"odi puto me scire satis citus ut"

Is citus one of the filler words you mentioned?


Yes, it is. I don't think it's as bad as some, however, because I get the impression that Frost would indeed "swiftly" assent to either fire or ice. But definitely filler.

"magnam etiam glaciam esse ruinae"

This follows the English pretty closely, but I'm not sure that "ruinae" really expresses "for destruction." At least I was confused reading this until I compared with the English and realized what you were doing.


Call it a dative of purpose, perhaps, like half of what you see in the "double dative" construction. E.g., in mihi auxilio erat, the auxilio part.

"et satis esse et plus quam satis esse mihi."

There's a great Latin idiom for this, "satis superque" which sadly won't work in this sort of verse because of the quantity. But what about satis et super? I think you could slide that in nicely. It's just that the last line seems plus quam satis to me, in its length. "And would suffice" gets stretched out pretty long.


I agree completely. Catullus has satis et super, although not in elegiacs, and I would be quite keen on paying tribute to his influence. I'll see what I can do to work it in.

And a few minor notes on quantity.

Are you scanning glacie in line 3 as short-short-long? Maybe I'm missing something, but it sure seems like it's short-short-short and you need a long at that point in the elegiac.


glacies is fifth declension and so scans short-short-long in the ablative.

For some reason, I thought that the "o" in favorem (line 4) was long. Maybe not? Well, I just checked my dictionary, which confirms this suspicion. So that line doesn't quite scan right.


That is thoroughly embarrassing! :oops:

As a stopgap solution, I am emending to:

Code: Select all
Ignis et Glacies

igne ferunt alii mundum nostrum periturum,
  multi alii glacie, nescio verum equidem.
e desiderio tamen acri quod male sensi
  illis me ducit credere qui calidum
ignem praeponunt.  sin bis foret hic periturus
  mundus, odi puto me scire satis citus ut
magnam etiam glaciem esse ruinae dicere possim
  et satis esse et plus quam satis esse mihi.


This leaves three of my four hexamter lines with rather rough endings, but at least it scans -- I think. Unfortunately that's about the best I can say about it right now!

As I said, I'm no expert (!!!), but I'm pretty impressed by your first venture into verse comp.


Thanks, I'm glad someone read it! I'm very appreciative of all of your helpful commentary -- hopefully I'll be able to continue to improve this a bit.

Why don't you tell us a little about yourself? If you want to try for a Latin introduction, just visit the Agora.


I shall indeed do so, hopefully tomorrow, when I have a bit more time.

Thanks again for your help!

Didymus
Didymus
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:46 pm

Postby Hu » Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:24 am

bellum paxque wrote:But what about satis et super? I think you could slide that in nicely. It's just that the last line seems plus quam satis to me, in its length. "And would suffice" gets stretched out pretty long.


Sapphic stanzas come to mind for that last part.

Anyway, I enjoyed your composition, even though I found the grammar a little strange in places.
Hu
 

Postby bellum paxque » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:21 am

glacies is fifth declension and so scans short-short-long in the ablative.


Ah... yes. Mea culpa! I'd forgotten all about that. Maybe I should review the 5th declension a bit more... I just don't see enough of it in my reading.

Regards,

David
phpbb
bellum paxque
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 718
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 2:29 pm
Location: nanun Hanguge issoyo (in Korea sum)

Postby Didymus » Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:07 pm

Didymus
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:46 pm

Postby bellum paxque » Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:22 pm

A dangerous question!...and thence to fame, fortune, and undying glory...I don't think I have disclosed anything top-secret here.


Well, I really like your sense of humor. (The other option is that you are some ambitious megalomaniac who is not joking about the need to conceal the details of his nefarious classical strategems!) Seriously, thanks for sharing. Best luck to you in your (temporary) business endeavors and, of course, your long-range plans!

I like the quod desiderium, since it seems a little more Latin to me. That type of partitive genitive crops up everywhere, after all. However, the line is still tricky, mainly because ego and ante are both, strictly speaking, redundant.

How about this as a solution? esurio has great quantity for a final word - is it okay to have a 5 syllable word at the end? also my dictionary (albeit only a Cassel's) cites Ovidian usage.

Here's my solution:

L L L SS L L L S S L S S L L
quod desiderii accidit rapidi esurienti

I think this scans - what of violent desire has fallen upon the one hungering...

Of course, there's two elisions there. You're welcome to emend it at your leisure or discard it as you please.

Best luck!

-David
phpbb
bellum paxque
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 718
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 2:29 pm
Location: nanun Hanguge issoyo (in Korea sum)

Postby Didymus » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:22 am

quod desiderii accidit rapidi esurienti


Unfortunately the i in accidit (<cado) is short in the perfect (and the present, of course). There does exist accido (<caedo) with a long i, but it means "cut down," not "fall upon."

As to a pentasyllabic closing word, it is my guess that it is exceptionally rare. Taking a glance through Catullus 64 (hexameters), it only occurs twice in over 400 lines: 64.152 (alitibusque) and 64.205 (contremuerunt). I did not check any other poems; I figured this was a good poem to search for metrical oddities (cf. 30-some spondaic lines). That being said, I kind of like it.

I think if we are to use the participle, we really ought to have a mihi. Thus in theory the line could run something like:

quod desiderii mihi pervenit esurienti

(pervenit must of course be present). Unfortunately, the Perseus Lewis & Short only gives examples of pervenio in this poetic sense with an accusative, not a dative. I'd also prefer to preserve Frost's past tense ("from what I've tasted"). I find esurio, despite the metrical irregularity it leads to, to be particularly nice because it preserves some allusion to tasting (a vague one, granted). Furthermore, I don't have a sense of just how irregular two consecutive closing disyllables are; perhaps they are much worse! (Catullus does have it at least occasionally in elegiacs, e.g. 89.1 bona mater and 91.1 mihi fidum)
Didymus
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:46 pm

Postby bellum paxque » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:27 am

Unfortunately the i in accidit (<cado) is short in the perfect (and the present, of course). There does exist accido (<caedo) with a long i, but it means "cut down," not "fall upon."


Yikes! Faulty memory of the quantities of cado's compounds. Thanks for the correction.

(pervenit must of course be present). Unfortunately, the Perseus Lewis & Short only gives examples of pervenio in this poetic sense with an accusative, not a dative.


peruenit did occur to me but I was really uncertain about the dative, too. I guess my hunch was right.

I find esurio, despite the metrical irregularity it leads to, to be particularly nice because it preserves some allusion to tasting (a vague one, granted).


That was one of the reasons I picked it. Also, that participial dative construction is a pretty good Latin idiom, I think. That is, it's one that's peculiar to Latin, at least in comparison to English.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained...

L S S|L L|LSS|L SS|L SS|LX
quod rapidi desiderii fuit esurientem
illis me ducit...

Hear I'm switching esurienti to esurientem, to go with me, thus connecting the experience with Frost himself. This allows us to unload the mihi (that I just couldn't fit anywhere).

Also, fuit is not exactly the most colorful verb, but sandwiched between two strong words (desiderium and esurio) I think it's okay.

Here a generous but faithful translation might be, "The amount of violent desire that has been leads me, one of the hungry, to agree..." It even hints that even now Frost battles destructive desire.

It's challenging, but I enjoy this sort of experiment. Thanks for providing the challenge, Didymus!

-David
phpbb
bellum paxque
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 718
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 2:29 pm
Location: nanun Hanguge issoyo (in Korea sum)

Postby Hu » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:07 pm

Didymus wrote:For prose I spend my time with Bradley’s Arnold in Latin, and Sidgwick in Greek. As you can see, I’d like to get into verse comp as well. This will doubtless proceed more slowly, but I have good library access through my fiancée, and so with inter-library loan, I figure that the world is my oyster.

Excellent! I have North & Hillard and Sidgwick from this website, and I think I'll start using them soon.

Didymus wrote:Hu, you mentioned that you found some of the grammar odd. Anything in particular? I’d like to focus my energies on mending those infelicities first, because I think that will sometimes give me a chance to straighten out the meter anyway. Far better than making the meter of an incomprehensibly-worded poem conform to strict Ovidian usage!

Just the way you phrased the first line. "Some carry our world to be going to die with fire" is the intended meaning, I think, but it kind of confused me. Still, it's an elegant way of phrasing the original.
Last edited by Hu on Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hu
 

Postby bellum paxque » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:58 pm

Didymus wrote:
Hu, you mentioned that you found some of the grammar odd. Anything in particular? I’d like to focus my energies on mending those infelicities first, because I think that will sometimes give me a chance to straighten out the meter anyway. Far better than making the meter of an incomprehensibly-worded poem conform to strict Ovidian usage!

Just the way you phrased the first line. "Some carry our world to be going to die with fire" is the intennded meaning, I think, but it kind of confused me. Still, it's an elegant way of phrasing the original.


This use of fero (roughly equivalent to dico, fama est) is pretty common, I think. It didn't strike me as weird at all. But maybe I've just been reading too much Tacitus. It may be unusual for verse (of which I've read Vergil and only pieces of Catullus, Ovid, Martial, etc.).

David
phpbb
bellum paxque
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 718
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 2:29 pm
Location: nanun Hanguge issoyo (in Korea sum)

Postby Didymus » Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:26 pm

Hu wrote:
Didymus wrote:Hu, you mentioned that you found some of the grammar odd. Anything in particular? I’d like to focus my energies on mending those infelicities first, because I think that will sometimes give me a chance to straighten out the meter anyway. Far better than making the meter of an incomprehensibly-worded poem conform to strict Ovidian usage!

Just the way you phrased the first line. "Some carry our world to be going to die with fire" is the intennded meaning, I think, but it kind of confused me. Still, it's an elegant way of phrasing the original.


I don't have dictionary access right now, but I promise that this use of fero is fairly common. See, e.g., Catullus 2b, inter alia:

tam gratum est mihi quam ferunt puellae
pernici aureolum fuisse malum,
quod zonam soluit diu ligatam.

"It is as pleasing to me as they say that the golden apple was to the swift girl, which loosened the girdle that had been bound for a long time."

I see that bellum paxque has said much the same thing.

bellum paxque, pondering your suggestions. If you've got any more, keep 'em coming!
Didymus
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:46 pm

Postby Didymus » Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:51 pm

quod rapidi desiderii fuit esurientem


bellum paxque, desiderii in that position crashes through the main caesura – not that this is without parallel, by any means, but in combination with the pentasyllabic closing, this line starts getting pretty odd pretty fast. Not to say that my original version wasn’t!

Here’s a quick idea that I’ll throw out:

quod desiderii tamen esuriens male sensi

This doesn’t solve the problem of the two consecutive disyllables closing the line, but it does have the advantage of working in the more natural partitive genitive, and especially esurio, which is a word that I very much like here.
Didymus
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:46 pm

Postby Hu » Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:10 pm

Didymus wrote:I don't have dictionary access right now, but I promise that this use of fero is fairly common. See, e.g., Catullus 2b, inter alia:

tam gratum est mihi quam ferunt puellae
pernici aureolum fuisse malum,
quod zonam soluit diu ligatam.

"It is as pleasing to me as they say that the golden apple was to the swift girl, which loosened the girdle that had been bound for a long time."

I see that Whitaker's WORDS program has "tell/speak of; consider" as part of the definition of fero. It's evidently a meaning I haven't encountered before. As I said, it's a pretty elegant way of phrasing the original.
Hu
 

Postby Episcopus » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:58 pm

Before anything is said I claim NO expertise in verse composition as this would be wrong and conceited.

That's a good effort. A few little (yet crucial) points, along with the classic complete reworking in a couple of cases (don't worry every one has this, it sucks I know) would bring it up to the Ovidian models.

1. periturum not viable. u u - - to end the hexameter (faciebam, capiatur, periturum etc.) can not be done. hex is usually to end in di/trisyllable
2. avoid elision in the pentameter (multi alii)
3. verum equidem is 1/sweet, both due to elision and equidem ending it, both due to it not being a pronoun/verb/noun/[adj. if emphatic] and that it is not a disyllable. THE PENTAMETER MUST END IN A DISYLLABLE, UNLESS IT IS "EST" WITH PREVIOUS SYLLABLE ELIDED, AS "bonaque est" though that sounds a bit poor too.
4. as you say the hexameter must not end in 2 consecutive disyllables, though I recall Milton using "quod bene" as the 5th foot dactyl. That sounds poor too, so don't do it. Ovid wouldn't.
5. "favorem" the o is long so you wouldn't get u u - to terminate the pentameter, morever it's not a disyllable.
6. the enjambement "favorem...dant" "aquosus ... mundus" "citus ut" is too much. The lines should be closed off and as neatly packed as possible, otherwise, particularly with the subordinate ut clause introduced, it appears too prose like - you definitely don't want this. Couplets particularly need the "tidy" feel, while Vergil seems to be a bit more liberal with it in constant hexameters since he is telling a story.
7. "citus ut" can not end a pentameter! disyllable only!
8. "mundus odi" - u - -

Too many points to try and fix it you'd just go crazy, just try and really absorb each stylistic point into your natural writing and soon you'll have an instinct for it, as this is really good for a first go! Better than my crap about slipping on fish sauce left on the floor! :shock:
User avatar
Episcopus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm

Postby Didymus » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:10 pm

Episcope, multas tibi gratias ago. I was unfortunately all too aware of many of the stylistic defects, but I was embarrassingly ignorant of my scansion errors. favorem was inexcusable; as for odi, I misled myself by the quantity of the noun odium. I should have known better though ... odi et amo.

I greatly appreciate your taking the time to critique this. Perhaps I shall try to recast it when I have a bit more time -- maybe I will try pure hexameters, as I would have a bit more freedom. It is a challenge to achieve that "tidy" and neatly packed feel that elegiacs demand, as you rightly observe.
Didymus
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:46 pm

Postby Episcopus » Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:34 pm

Don't be discouraged, nor deterred from trying your hand at more elegiacs, because you'll quickly find your verses improve dramatically, since certain errors embarrassed you so much, you tend to never repeat or indeed forget them!
User avatar
Episcopus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm


Return to Composition Board

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ben Clark and 14 guests