re: can't we do something else? elegiacs.

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whiteoctave
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Post by whiteoctave » Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:33 pm

i like the sound and theme of your couplet very much, and there are few mistakes that need comment.

most importantly, alas, you've fallen foul of the mendum Benissimense of only having five feet in the hexameter. It should not exercise you too much to add a foot - a spondee would be nice.
I am puzzled about 'is' - the best explanation for it seems to be English 'is' which has slipped in (this once happened rather amusingly to a word in my pentameter). If instead it is meant to be a form of is, ea, id - this pronoun is exempt from elegiacs. there is an 'est' missing somewhere, but this may be the reason. the 'hortus' will be useful in helping you fix things, for it begins, effectively, with a vowel.
The vocative is nice, though mi would not precede h without elision. It may be better for prosody and variation to use a new word for garden here. Is 'rosae' a defining genitive or a pl.? If the latter micuit (a nice verb) would need to be pluralised. Finally 'bratus' is a lovely word, and very rare too (only, I think, in Pliny's Natural History).
So, there is some tweaking in order but it could turn out to be a truly sterling first effort.

A diaeresis is a break between words that coincides with a break in feet. A caesura is just a break in feet. To call the break in the pentameter a diaeresis would be true (and better), but the thought of it as the hepthimemeral caesura found in the hexameter is ingrained upom me!

~D

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whiteoctave
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Post by whiteoctave » Thu Aug 12, 2004 8:28 pm

i was turning Auden's 'Epitaph on a tyrant' yesterday into elegiacs (Latin), and have been unable so far to obtain a satisfactory closing line. I can get lines to fulfil the necessary rules, but the last line needs a certain elegance and power, as in the original.
The poem runs:

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

I have taken pains to equate an English line with the latter.

Anyhow, there is quite a large amount of information in the latter to get in. For "and when he cried" i have the elliptic construction "cum lacrimos" which has the verb "ediderat" (pluperfect tense for frequentative sense) scilicet from the preceding verse's "cum risum ediderat".
I would be interested to see what people can come up with, remembering that the last word needs to be disyllabic and either a noun or a verb here. The sense may need to be tweaked, but not changed.
Greek suggestions would be interesting, in order to show the discrepancy that the languages can often hold in composition. Versions with a disyllablic close, though not essential in Greek elegies, would be looked upon with a welcome eye.

~D

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Post by chad » Fri Aug 13, 2004 8:46 am

Greek suggestions would be interesting, in order to show the discrepancy that the languages can often hold in composition.
here's a quick version in greek, just a plain translation (into a pentameter, which is what u wanted in latin i think)...

[face=SPIonic]klau/santoj d' e)/qanon pai=dej e)n au)to/q' o(dw=|.[/face]

and when he cried, the children died in the street on the spot.

the first word is a 1-word aorist genitive absolute: i've seen 1-word gen absolutes in herodotus... the rest is self-explanatory, although can i ask, can you can slip the adverb between "in" and "street" in elegaics like this? thanks :)

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whiteoctave
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Post by whiteoctave » Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:49 am

klausantos is neat. the interposition of adverb between preposition and governed noun is not unheard of, and, if used, would most likely be found in the pentameter.
you could go for poetic singular and write:

klau/santoj d' e)/qanen paida/rion kaq' o(do/n.

which captures the littleness of the victim(s). i leave the final step to you, of getting the plural back, therefore restoring ethanon and having the two hemiepes rhyme. di' or kath' hodon will have to stay to allow that.

as regards a latin version,

cum lacrimas, cecidit filia parva foris

is the best i have come up with so far. i used poetic singular in the line before, so the senator laughing inside is contrasted with his daughter dying outside. i still do not like the fact it ends with an adverb. the pentameter is, of course, not to have any weight or real significance before its closing word is read. my pentameter has dealt all its punches by filia. parva puella would delay the noun a bit, but i then lose the explicit link between senator and daughter that aids the antithesis.
in latin one ought not end a pentameter with prepositional phrases - a further restriction! adverbs end the line pentameter in Ovid once about every 45 couplets!

~D

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whiteoctave
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Post by whiteoctave » Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:10 pm

i think i've solved it now.

cum lacrimas, media filia caesa via est.

prodelision of est at the end of the pentameter is v common, and medius is one of the few superb adjectives that can carry a locative sense in itself.

~D

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Post by Michaelyus » Fri Aug 13, 2004 1:30 pm

I don't understand... is is meant to be a form of is, ea, id... what do you mean when you say exempt from elegiacs?

Rosae is meant to be genitive singular; "rose garden".

I'll try my best to fix those errors. :oops:
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Post by whiteoctave » Fri Aug 13, 2004 2:18 pm

as i say, the errors shouldn't be too big a problem to fix and the effort is very good.
is, as a form of is/ea/id is in an odd position. more importantly, forms of the pronoun is/ea/id were used so rarely in Ovidian composition that they should not be used. besides, such little monosyllables are jarring on the ear, don't you think?
rosae as a defining genitive in the singular seems unnatural in latin, but if you wish to retain it 'a garden of rose' rings nicely in english at any rate.

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Post by Michaelyus » Fri Aug 13, 2004 2:22 pm

What about this?

Sōr-dĭ-dŭs|hōr-tŭs ĕt|ēst||laū-|rūs tŭ(a) ă-|rēs-cĭt ăc|ū-rĭt
Ō rŭ-dĭs|hōr-tĕ rŏ-|saē||mār-cŭ-ĭt|āt-quĕ bră-|tŭs

I had to mess the word order up, and I don't know how to change rosae; I can't fit rosarium in.

This aria is given to the wife of Julius Polybius, who is distraught at the sight of her garden; when it comes to rosae I think there should be a sudden change of key, orchestration and harmony (I don't think I'll use counterpoint here).
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Post by whiteoctave » Fri Aug 13, 2004 10:21 pm

the line is better now, qua its scansion, but there are some problems with word order. et for instance makes no sense where it does, and the positioning of acurit is rather jarring. (i don't know the word acurit; if you mean accurit, it wouldn't scan there.)
the first hemiepes can be rearranged to sordidus est hortus, which will scan if the next word is a consonant.

something like 'sordidus est hortus laurusque manet sed arescit' would scan, but perhaps you don't like the sense.

the vocative phrase now takes up the former hemiepes of the pentameter, which is neat, and should accordingly be separated by a comma. (you could get ' o rosarum horte' as this hemiepes, if the following word began with two consonants, the first of which not being 's').
the latter hemiepes however, cannot really make sense with atque positioned in the middle, for it acts like 'et', not enclitic '-que'. what is the specific sense you want in english?

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Post by Michaelyus » Sat Aug 14, 2004 9:28 pm

Oh dear... :cry: :oops:

I wanted the meaning to be something like: The garden is dirty, your laurel withers; Oh wild rose garden, you are withering, along with your conifer.

Acurit??? It should read as ac urit, but uro is a transitive only verb, isn't it?

I've changed the hexameter to:
Sōr-dĭ-dŭs |ēst hōr|tūs ||tūr|pīs-qu(e) ĕt ă|rēs-cīt |laū-rūs

I'm struggling with the pentameter: the rule that one should have a disyllabic word at the end of the pentameter is proving to be a real headache.
Last edited by Michaelyus on Mon Aug 16, 2004 5:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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