Thursday, 9 February 2017

Aristophanes - The Hoopoe Serenade Part Two

#aristophanes #greekcomedy #hoopoe #song

In the previous post I gave you the Greek text and a transliteration into English so non Greek readers had some idea of how the song may have sounded

This time first a word for word paraphrase with notes then a cleaned up version.

Most of the lines in the serenade are 11 syllables long and in a meter that's not really suitable for English verse and then there's the poetic syntax problem

I've tried to keep as close as possible to the original line breaks but sometimes ...

Line One Age is an imperative given the rest of the line Awaken is acceptable

sunnome means mate consort partner moi to for me pausai future infinitive however its  NEAR future event so cease and sleep hupnou is genitive from sleep

Line 2 luson release free loosen and nomous herds laws normally the idea seems to be multiple lines of song hence strains of song in many translations I'm going to add soon justifying it by the future infinitive in the first line

line 3 hous dia theiou stomatos threeneis which by/ thru divine lips mouth you lament

Dative tois sois for for mine (own) and yrs much wept for Itys (their son)

elelizomenee is often translated as trills but she is literallly quivering trembling with song liquid fresh  dierois song melesin

Yes theres no up in original but its bird song rising up see next stanza

Proceeding or advancing thru leafy curls  and i have moved up smilakos and moved down kathara

Dios equals Zeus though divine could also be used

hina so that the goldhaird Phoibos = apollo hearing
ack one long sentence with verb stuck in middle !

yes elegy is a greek word antiphalloon to play a stringed instrument as a response or accompaniment
it being Apollos phormigga or lyre with ivory inlay

i had to merge and shift two lines next

histeesi should be causes to stand up (to sing) but that just does not work in english

Xumphonos is probably used here cos the attic dialect form fits the metre better or for euphony with khoorei  or both

there are 2 genitives in greek  but of harmony of unison in english .... no

ololugee can be cries of both sorrow and joy ?  if i use both it echoes the original metre ?


Awaken Consort for me Cease from Sleep

And Loosen Soon Odes of sacred song

Which through your divine mouth you make lament

For mine and your son much wept for Itys

Trembling with liquid song

Up From your tawny throat

Proceeding thru leafy curls of woodbine

A pure sound echoing towards Zeus' seat

So that golden haired Phoibos  listening

to your elegies responds (then) with song

 ivory inlaid lyre stirring  godly choirs

and thru immortal lips comes a harmony

of sound divine blessed cries of sorrow and joy


I have tried to balance echoes of the original structure and metre with the need to reflect the actual meaning and the need to have a loose but poetic translation that could perhaps actually be set to music in English and I hope  hasn't become BAD free verse?

If you can figure out a way to get this into an English friendly metric scheme that even rhymes do share or comment please?