The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

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DWBrumbley
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The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by DWBrumbley » Tue May 21, 2013 9:44 pm

I’ve wanted to do this particular bit of translation ever since I started working with Latin, and I hope I’ve come somewhere close to being correct. This exists in a number of tiny pieces scattered across the internet, but I wanted to do the whole thing in one place and make sure it’s done well. For that, obviously, I need this wonderful place.

The passage is known as the Litany Against Fear, from Frank Herbert’s Dune series. For those unfamiliar, I’ll post the English first and then my attempt at the Latin. Please rip it apart as necessary.

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing......Only I will remain."



Litania Contra Timorem

Non debeo timere.
Timor animicida est.
Timor mortem parvam est quia excidium totum perficit.
Timor meus spectabo.
Ego id praeterire me et transire me permittam.
Et cum discesserat, vertam oculum interiorem viam eius video.
Ubi timor fuit, nihil erit.
Ego unus remanebo.


As always, any and all feedback welcome.

GJCaesar
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by GJCaesar » Tue May 21, 2013 11:34 pm

All right, let me first of all inform you: I am not a native speaker of English, so please pardon me in advance for any brutal or unnecessary mistakes from my part.

But, I have studied Latin and Greek for quite a while now and I think I might be able to help here. Even though anyone will give you a different translation - for Latin is known for its diversity - I think mine will come close to what is generally thought of as a ''good translation''. But also I are wide open to any kind of advice or change.

Meo non timendum est
Timor animicida est
Timor mors parva est quae excidium totum fert
Timorem meum spectabo
Eum me praeterire et transire permittam
Et cum discesserat/cesserat, oculum interiorissimum vertam ut vestigium eius videam
Ubicumque timor iit, nihil erit


A couple of things from my translation:
-non timendum est --> gerund, and meo is therefore the person who should not fear
-mors parva --> since esse is a copula verb, mortem parvam is wrong. Before and after the verb essere, there should be nominatives, not an accusative
-timorem meum --> object with spectabo, therefore it should be an accusative :)
-eum me ... --> you wrote id, but id refers to a neutrum form. Since timor remains the topic, and timor is masculine, eum is the right form. Note that this is NOT an AcI, but an infinitive as a complement with permittere.
-interiorissimum: gives more emphasis
-vestigium --> viam, the word you wrote, is more like a ''road, pathway'' in the sence of the real world. Vestigium gives a bit more of a poetic message. But viam is definitely not wrong.
-ut videam --> a subclause with the function of a goal goes with ut + subjunctive.
-ubicumque --> ''whereever'' , because I think that that is what you mean

Hope this helped, and feel free to give any suggestions ;)
vincatur oportet aut vincat

GJCaesar
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by GJCaesar » Wed May 22, 2013 12:11 am

Oh, it's late here, and I see I did something stupid. Meo should of course be mihi.
vincatur oportet aut vincat

whsiv
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by whsiv » Wed May 22, 2013 3:06 am

Hey there,

Cool idea! Just a couple suggestions.

"Fear is the little-death" - both fear and little-death should be nominative, one the subject and the other the predicate nominative.

"I will face my fear" - my fear is the thing that you are facing, so it should be accusative.

DWBrumbley
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by DWBrumbley » Wed May 22, 2013 3:27 am

Awesome feedback! Thank you so much.

The correction of the relevant lines -

Timor mors parva est quia excidium totum perficit

. . . .

Timorem meum spectabo.

whsiv
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by whsiv » Wed May 22, 2013 12:46 pm

Those changes look good, but I think I spotted something else you can fix up.

"...I will turn the inner eye to see its path" - to see its path to me sounds like a purpose clause, i.e., I will turn the inner eye in order to see/so that I may see its path. To get this effect in Latin, you'll need to use the conjunction ut and the 1st person singular present subjunctive of vidēre.The ut-clause should follow your main clause (vertam oculam interiorem).

GJCaesar
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by GJCaesar » Wed May 22, 2013 6:40 pm

Oh and btw: meo should of course be mihi (dative of agent)
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DWBrumbley
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by DWBrumbley » Thu May 23, 2013 12:19 am

Thank you both for leaving feedback and helping correct some of the things I've done less than right so far. Here's with the corrections.

Litania Contra Timorem

Non debeo timere.
Timor animicida est.
Timor mors parva est
quia excidium totum perficit.
Timorem meum spectabo.
Eum praeterire me et transire me permittam.
Et cum discesserat,
vertam oculum interiorem
ut vestigium eius videam.
Ubicumque timor fuit, nihil erit.
Ego unus remanebo.

I kept the "Non debeo" in the first line because I feel like it maintains the prohibitive feeling of the line. Rather than saying "I should not fear," I think it's an important part of the phrase to actually have the self-imposed injunction against it, "I must not fear." Everything else, though, excellent feedback and it makes the rest of the litany more clearly reflect the intention of the English.

GJCaesar
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by GJCaesar » Thu May 23, 2013 6:14 am

Excellent. But be sure to change quia to quae, since quia means 'because' and you want to start a relative clause with mors parva as antecedent, so quae (femminine) is the right one here.
vincatur oportet aut vincat

radagasty
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Re: The Litany Against Fear // Litania Contra Timorem

Post by radagasty » Thu May 23, 2013 11:21 am

Et cum discesserat, vertam oculum interiorem ut vestigium eius videam.
First, there is a problem with the sequence of tenses in this sentence: the cum clause is in a historic tense, whilst the main clause is in a primary tense. I would suggest instead:

Et cum discesserit, vertam oculum interiorem...

Second, regardless of the sequence of tenses, I am unhappy with cum discesserat. It just sounds a little odd to me to have the pluperfect there, although I can't quite put my finger on why that might be. If you insist on the pluperfect, I would much rather have cum discessisset.

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