Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Tender Liver's Itch

Last week I posted the results of our intial efforts to translate an excerpt from De bello troiano, by the 12th-century poet Joseph of Exeter.  We didn't get very far, but we persevered.  Below I'll paste the excerpt again, and our complete prose translation.

You can compare what we produced with a version by A.G. Rigg.  We hope to put our own version into poetic form soon!

Haut minus insignes latebras secretius ornat
Vitalesque colit thalamus et digerit urbem
Interior natura suam. Cor principe motu
Libratum disponit opus, modulamina lingue
Limat pulmo loquax, modico dipensat hiatu
Splen risum, facili fal castigatius ira
Uritur. At teneri titillat mollius equo
Pruritus iecoris meriteque insignia fame
Mergens natiue titulos incestat amoris.
Hoc monstrum non ales edax, non labile saxum,
Non axis torquens non mendax uicerit unda;
Cum bene fracta tepet moriturque sepulta libido,
Respirant plenis incendia pristina fibris.
Sic Helenam totam pars unica mergit et ipsum
Excitat in cladem regnis certantibus orbem.

By no means less the chamber quite secretly adorns and protects her remarkable and life-giving recesses, and her inner nature shakes apart her own city.  The heart by its principal motion disposes a balanced work, and the loquacious lung polishes the tongue’s melodies, the spleen dispenses laughter through a modest open mouth, the more controlled gall bladder is burned by easy anger.  But the tender liver’s itch titillates more softly than is right and, drowning the signs of her well-earned reputation, defiles the attributes of inborn love.  This monster, not the greedy bird, the toppling rock, the cheating wave, the turning wheel, will conquer; when the well broken and buried lust simmers down, then the original fires breathe again into the engorged entrails.  Thus, the singular part sinks the whole of Helen and stirs up the whole world to ruin in clashing kingdoms.

Anyone know any good rhymes for "gall bladder"?

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