Post by RMichaelPyle on Mar 26, 2020 17:20:10 GMT -4
Been dipping into Arthur Golding's 1567 Elizabethan translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Such a fantastic set of over 250 stories of different transformations of people and things into other things. I bought this volume years ago and have never really dipped into it much. I'm going to try to read all of it in the next couple of weeks. Golding has a curious reputation as a translator. He was William Shakespeare's go-to Ovid, and Shakespeare used Ovid over and over and over in his plays and even in his two long narrative poems. The introduction by John Frederick Nims to this edition is extremely informative and, quite frankly, almost chatty. Made the learning fun. The translation is of Publius Ovidius Naso's 15 Book poem Metamorphoses ("Transformations"), and it's done in the English meter called fourteeners, an iambic meter of fourteen syllables per line. The poem is translated into fourteener rhymed couplets. It takes the 12000 lines of Ovid and translates them into nearly 14,500 lines. Golding had a habit of expansion... He's also rather rustic and chatty, and makes his stories from Ovid more countrified from the somewhat courtly way they were originally written. These are really fun to read. I'm into Book I presently, and will probably finish it tomorrow.
That sounds like a fascinating project R Michael. I have read only bits of Ovid and lack the stamina to read all of his works (enjoyable and rewarding as it sounds). Project Gutenberg predictably does have that translation but it also has another done later in blank verse by the Earl of Lonsdale. I think the aspirations in the title page will amuse you.
THE RIGHT HONORABLE WILLIAM, EARL OF LONSDALE, KNIGHT OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER, &c. &c. &c.
THE TRANSLATOR CONFIDES HIS ATTEMPT TO RENDER THE BEAUTIES OF OVID MORE ACCESSIBLE TO ENGLISH READERS, AND TO CHASTEN THE PRURIENCE OF HIS IDEAS AND HIS LANGUAGE, SO AS TO FIT HIS WRITINGS FOR MORE GENERAL PERUSAL.
Post by RMichaelPyle on Apr 21, 2020 8:36:31 GMT -4
Well, I'm about half-way through Golding's Ovid. It's one of the best books I've ever read. I've also been astonished by several things. Many of the transformations sound like science alien to early peoples. I know, that sounds weird. Well, let it. Anyway, when I'm finished, I'll review it in "What Have You Read Lately", or whatever that thread is called.
Richard, as far as your comment and that other translator: to quell the prurience is to lose half the fun. I will admit, though, Jove is one roving-eye individual...and that's cleaning up the way I'd like to put it. If I were Juno, I'd be looking elsewhere, too - FOR A HIT MAN!!
Post by RMichaelPyle on Jul 1, 2020 16:20:27 GMT -4
Been reading Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. He and Sir Thomas Wyatt practically invented the use of the sonnet in English. Henry Howard's most famous sonnet is a pip:
OF SARDANAPALUS'S DISHONORABLE LIFE AND MISERABLE DEATH
Th' Assyrian king, in peace, with foul desire And filthy lusts that stain'd his regal heart; In war, that should set princely hearts on fire, Did yield, vanquisht for want of martial art. The dint of swords from kisses seeméd strange; And harder than his lady's side, his targe: From glutton feasts to soldier's fare, a change; His helmet, far above a garland's charge: Who scarce the name of manhood did retain, Drenched in sloth and womanish delight: Feeble of spirit, impatient of pain, When he had lost his honor, and his right, (Proud time of wealth, in storms appalled with dread,) Murder'd himself, to shew some manful deed.
Post by RMichaelPyle on Jul 23, 2020 15:25:23 GMT -4
Went dipping into Matthew of Paris's Chronicle (1235-1373), trans. by Giles, today. An English (though probably born in Paris) cleric Latin chronicler - and rather fine historian he was - his work is written as an annals, and makes for fascinating reading. I have many, many chronicles of the early English periods, and now I've ordered three more, Nicholas Trivet's Annals of Six English Kings, Roger of Wendover's chronicle called The Flowers of History, and Henry of Huntingdon's Chronicle. Great reading for the historian. I'm still finishing up - and getting close - my Introduction to my translation of John Barbour's The Bruce. I've been learning the history for nearly 50 years - and I've got it down pretty well.
Post by RMichaelPyle on Aug 7, 2020 12:21:17 GMT -4
Last year while visiting Wilmington, North Carolina, I dropped into a bookstore and bought an 1848 ninth edition of Rufus Griswold's The Poets and Poetry of America. The book was quite famous, well-known and respected, in the nineteenth century. His publication of a few poems of Edgar Allan Poe was legion. Interestingly enough, at the front of the book is a collage of five lithographs of "famous" poets of America at the time. The five pictured are Richard H. Dana, William Cullen Bryant, Fitz-Greene Halleck, Charles Sprague, and a very young Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I'd heard of all but Charles Sprague. Anyway, I was meandering through the book of well over a hundred poets - and, by the way, the book is dedicated to Washington Allston, "The eldest of the living poets of America and the most illustrious of her painters" - and I picked five of the writers whom I'd not heard of and tried to buy editions of their works to peruse. One of the volumes I bought was an 1876 edition of The Poetical and Prose Writings of Charles Sprague. I bought this because he was one of the five poets pictured in the lithographs at the beginning of Griswold's anthology, and I'd never heard of him and wondered what it was that made Griswold choose to picture him eminently among a couple of hundred poets of America in the 1840's. Well, the copy I bought is inscribed by Sprague's son: "Nelly, with the love of the poet's son! Dec. 1. 1878". I therefore got more than I originally bargained for! The book was also edited by Sprague's son, Charles J. Sprague. The poems are well constructed for their day, definitely hearkening back to the 18th century - definitely not looking forward. They're quite nice for what they are, but they're not something which necessarily would be anthologized today. It's interesting to note this because Sprague at the 1825-1835 range in American history was considered America's finest living poet. Today I would venture only a couple of people would even know who he might be. His fifteen minutes passed. However, I read a number of his poems today and found a couple of very lovely examples of what passed as great in the day. One of these is still quite lovely in its own way and I'll put it here:
"The Winged Worshippers" ADDRESSED TO TWO SWALLOWS THAT FLEW INTO CHAUNCEY PLACE CHURCH DURING DIVINE SERVICE
Gay, guiltless pair, What seek ye from the fields of heaven? Ye have no need of prayer, Ye have no sins to be forgiven.
Why perch ye here, Where mortals to their Maker bend? Can your pure spirits fear The God ye never could offend?
Ye never knew The crimes for which we come to weep. Penance is not for you, Blessed wanderers of the upper deep.
To you 'tis given To wake sweet Nature's untaught lays; Beneath the arch of heaven To chirp away a life of praise.
Then spread each wing, Far, far above, o'er lakes and lands, And join the choirs that sing In yon blue dome not reared with hands.
Or, if ye stay, To note the consecrated hour, Teach me the airy way, And let me try your envied power.
Above the crowd, On upward wings could I but fly, I'd bathe in yon bright cloud, And seek the stars that gem the sky.
'T were Heaven indeed Through fields of trackless light to soar, On Nature's charms to feed, And Nature's own great God adore.