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Thread: Poetry

  1. #316
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    well i don't think you need to know much to see that this is great. heavyweight. the language is free in an authoritative way if not classical. the mythology is thick and fast and free. who's narrating. so many great lines.

  2. #317
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

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    He starts with complete authority in media res by a single word, then off on a journey by a heavy synecdoche.

    I can't help pointing out he breaks the rules by ending line 2 with "and". but it recapitulates the opening word.

    "the godly sea" well the sea, like nature, can be said to have the power of a god. And in mythology it is (or has) a god. So you know this is mythology we're talking.

    A "swart" ship. I haven't looked this word up but you know, or think you know, what it means, broad and strong, like the word. Is it Old English. Who is speaking.

    Look at the way he breaks the lines and the meaning. Look at this single line.

    "Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward"

    Ideal in context and alone.

    "Bore us out onward with bellying canvas,
    Circe’s this craft"

    No grammar lets you run the sentence on like that but so what? It's just heavy image after image.

    "trim-coifed goddess"

    An epithet straight out of Homer that.

    And that's the first sentence nice 1

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  4. #318
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    it's Odysseus speaking. it's a translation of book11 of the Odyssey. The Nekuia. Odysseus performs a rite to summon the dead and to speak to them. He wishes to speak to Tiresias but Elpenor comes first.
    the story breaks to acknowledge the translator Pound is using, Andreas Divus. otherwise it's straightforward. i dont think you need to know much more than that.

    Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus,
    In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer.

    And then went down to the ship,
    Set keel to breakers, forth on the godly sea, and
    We set up mast and sail on that swart ship,
    Bore sheep aboard her, and our bodies also
    Heavy with weeping, and winds from sternward
    Bore us out onward with bellying canvas,
    Circe’s this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.
    Then sat we amidships, wind jamming the tiller,
    Thus with stretched sail, we went over sea till day’s end.
    Sun to his slumber, shadows o’er all the ocean,
    Came we then to the bounds of deepest water,
    To the Kimmerian lands, and peopled cities
    Covered with close-webbed mist, unpierced ever
    With glitter of sun-rays
    Nor with stars stretched, nor looking back from heaven
    Swartest night stretched over wretched men there.
    The ocean flowing backward, came we then to the place
    Aforesaid by Circe.
    Here did they rites, Perimedes and Eurylochus,
    And drawing sword from my hip
    I dug the ell-square pitkin;
    Poured we libations unto each the dead,
    First mead and then sweet wine, water mixed with white flour.
    Then prayed I many a prayer to the sickly death’s-heads;
    As set in Ithaca, sterile bulls of the best
    For sacrifice, heaping the pyre with goods,
    A sheep to Tiresias only, black and a bell-sheep.
    Dark blood flowed in the fosse,
    Souls out of Erebus, cadaverous dead, of brides
    Of youths and of the old who had borne much;
    Souls stained with recent tears, girls tender,
    Men many, mauled with bronze lance heads,
    Battle spoil, bearing yet dreory arms,
    These many crowded about me; with shouting,
    Pallor upon me, cried to my men for more beasts;
    Slaughtered the herds, sheep slain of bronze;
    Poured ointment, cried to the gods,
    To Pluto the strong, and praised Proserpine;
    Unsheathed the narrow sword,
    I sat to keep off the impetuous impotent dead,
    Till I should hear Tiresias.
    But first Elpenor came, our friend Elpenor,
    Unburied, cast on the wide earth,
    Limbs that we left in the house of Circe,
    Unwept, unwrapped in sepulchre, since toils urged other.
    Pitiful spirit. And I cried in hurried speech:
    “Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast?
    “Cam’st thou afoot, outstripping seamen?”
    And he in heavy speech:
    “Ill fate and abundant wine. I slept in Circe’s ingle.
    “Going down the long ladder unguarded,
    “I fell against the buttress,
    “Shattered the nape-nerve, the soul sought Avernus.
    “But thou, O King, I bid remember me, unwept, unburied,
    “Heap up mine arms, be tomb by sea-bord, and inscribed:
    “A man of no fortune, and with a name to come.
    “And set my oar up, that I swung mid fellows.”

    And Anticlea came, whom I beat off, and then Tiresias Theban,
    Holding his golden wand, knew me, and spoke first:
    “A second time? why? man of ill star,
    “Facing the sunless dead and this joyless region?
    “Stand from the fosse, leave me my bloody bever
    “For soothsay.”
    And I stepped back,
    And he strong with the blood, said then: “Odysseus
    “Shalt return through spiteful Neptune, over dark seas,
    “Lose all companions.” And then Anticlea came.
    Lie quiet Divus. I mean, that is Andreas Divus,
    In officina Wecheli, 1538, out of Homer.
    And he sailed, by Sirens and thence outward and away
    And unto Circe.
    In the Cretan’s phrase, with the golden crown, Aphrodite,
    Cypri munimenta sortita est, mirthful, orichalchi, with golden
    Girdles and breast bands, thou with dark eyelids
    Bearing the golden bough of Argicida. So that:
    Last edited by luka; 05-07-2018 at 08:08 PM.

  5. #319
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    Is it Old English.

    yeah it deliberately echoes his translation of the seafarer i think (assume ive got the chronology right)
    it's about origins so the old english goes in there alongside homer. lots of old english alliteration

  6. #320
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    for what it's worth chapman starts like this

    Our mast up, put forth sail, and in did get
    Our late-got cattle. Up our sails, we went,
    My wayward fellows mourning now th' event.
    A good companion yet, a foreright wind, 5
    Circe (the excellent utterer of her mind)
    Supplied our murmuring consorts with, that was
    Both speed and guide to our adventurous pass.
    All day our sails stood to the winds, and made
    Our voyage prosp'rous. Sun then set, and shade 10
    All ways obscuring, on the bounds we fell
    Of deep Oceanus, where people dwell
    Whom a perpetual cloud obscures outright,
    To whom the cheerful sun lends never light,
    Nor when he mounts the star-sustaining heaven, 15
    Nor when he stoops earth, and sets up the even,
    But night holds fix'd wings, feather'd all with banes,
    Above those most unblest Cimmerians.
    Here drew we up our ship, our sheep withdrew,
    And walk'd the shore till we attain'd the view 20
    Of that sad region Circe had foreshow'd;
    And then the sacred offerings to be vow'd
    Eurylochus and Persimedes bore.
    When I my sword drew, and earth's womb did gore
    Till I a pit digg'd of a cubit round, 25
    Which with the liquid sacrifice we crown'd,
    First honey mix'd with wine, then sweet wine neat,
    Then water pour'd in, last the flour of wheat.
    Much I importuned then the weak-neck'd dead,
    And vow'd, when I the barren soil should tread 30
    Of cliffy Ithaca, amidst my hall
    To kill a heifer, my clear best of all,
    And give in off'ring, on a pile composed
    Of all the choice goods my whole house enclosed.
    And to Tiresias himself, alone, 35
    A sheep coal-black, and the selectest one
    Of all my flocks.

  7. #321
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    and this is pope

    "Now to the shores we bend, a mournful train,
    Climb the tall bark, and launch into the main;
    At once the mast we rear, at once unbind
    The spacious sheet, and stretch it to the wind;
    Then pale and pensive stand, with cares oppress'd,
    And solemn horror saddens every breast.
    A freshening breeze the magic power supplied,
    While the wing'd vessel flew along the tide;
    Our oars we shipp'd; all day the swelling sails
    Full from the guiding pilot catch'd the gales.

    "Now sunk the sun from his aerial height,
    And o'er the shaded billows rush'd the night;
    When lo! we reach'd old Ocean's utmost bounds,
    Where rocks control his waves with ever-during mounds.

    "There in a lonely land, and gloomy cells,
    The dusky nation of Cimmeria dwells;
    The sun ne'er views the uncomfortable seats,
    When radiant he advances, or retreats:
    Unhappy race! whom endless night invades,
    Clouds the dull air, and wraps them round in shades.

    "The ship we moor on these obscure abodes;
    Disbark the sheep, an offering to the gods;
    And, hellward bending, o'er the beach descry
    The doleful passage to the infernal sky.
    The victims, vow'd to each Tartarian power,
    Eurylochus and Perimedes bore.

    "Here open'd hell, all hell I here implored,
    And from the scabbard drew the shining sword:
    And trenching the black earth on every side,
    A cavern form'd, a cubit long and wide.
    New wine, with honey-temper'd milk, we bring,
    Then living waters from the crystal spring:
    O'er these was strew'd the consecrated flour,
    And on the surface shone the holy store.

    "Now the wan shades we hail, the infernal gods,
    To speed our course, and waft us o'er the floods:
    So shall a barren heifer from the stall
    Beneath the knife upon your altars fall;
    So in our palace, at our safe return,
    Rich with unnumber'd gifts the pile shall burn;
    So shall a ram, the largest of the breed,
    Black as these regions, to Tiresias bleed.

    "Thus solemn rites and holy vows we paid
    To all the phantom-nations of the dead;
    Then died the sheep: a purple torrent flow'd,
    And all the caverns smoked with streaming blood.
    When lo! appear'd along the dusky coasts,
    Thin, airy shoals of visionary ghosts:

  8. #322
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    Is it Old English.

    yeah it deliberately echoes his translation of the seafarer i think (assume ive got the chronology right)
    it's about origins so the old english goes in there alongside homer. lots of old english alliteration
    Cool but answering the question is not really the point. It's the wonder of what is this that I, anyway, like. Also I assumed Odysseus until he is referred to in the third person towards the end. so there are answers you're right. But my point is, as I said, you don't need to know much to think wow.

  9. #323
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    I've only just read the Chapman extract so it might need time to sink in. It took me 15 lines to notice he was rhyming. Towards the end this started putting me off. Some of the rhymes seem pat and thus old-fashioned; it doesn't have the weight, or authority, of Pound.

  10. #324
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Pound is very much in control of an out of control, jagged, line scheme and metre, if those are the terms.

  11. #325
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    kenner makes a big deal out of each generation getting a homer of their own, a remade poem for their own sensibilities.

  12. #326
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    until he is referred to in the third person towards the end.
    it's the summoned Tiresias speaking from beyond the grave

  13. #327
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    i only pasted those translations to show how closely pounds cleaves to homer. hes not making it up. and to illustrate kenners point.

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  15. #328
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    I was reading Fagles translation (having it read to me by Ian McKellen) and I often wondered what difference that made, because I really could never get into the Odyssey. I also wondered what difference McKellen made, because at a certain point he really got on my tits.

    “Now down we came to the ship at the water’s edge,
    we hauled and launched her into the sunlit breakers first,
    stepped the mast in the black craft and set our sail
    and loaded the sheep aboard, the ram and ewe,
    then we ourselves embarked, streaming tears,
    our hearts weighed down with anguish …
    But Circe the awesome nymph with lovely braids
    who speaks with human voice, sent us a hardy shipmate,
    yes, a fresh following wind ruffling up in our wake,
    bellying out our sail to drive our blue prow on as we,
    securing the running gear from stem to stern, sat back
    while the wind and helmsman kept her true on course.
    The sail stretched taut as she cut the sea all day
    and the sun sank and the roads of the world grew dark.
    And she made the outer limits, the Ocean River’s bounds
    where Cimmerian people have their homes—their realm and city
    shrouded in mist and cloud. The eye of the Sun can never
    flash his rays through the dark and bring them light,
    not when he climbs the starry skies or when he wheels
    back down from the heights to touch the earth once more—
    an endless, deadly night overhangs those wretched men.
    There, gaining that point, we beached our craft
    and herding out the sheep, we picked our way
    by the Ocean’s banks until we gained the place
    that Circe made our goal...'

    I looked it up and the original Odyssey doesn't rhyme, so presumably the Fagles translation is more 'authentic' in this regard at least. (Milton's argument re: epic poetry not rhyming comes to mind)
    Last edited by Corpsey; 09-07-2018 at 12:58 PM.

  16. #329
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    'Men many, mauled with bronze lance heads'

    the Pound - 50 Cent connection

    (shame it wasn't with 50 pence lolz)

  17. #330
    Join Date
    Jun 2006


    'Swart' means black or dark (like German 'Schwartz').
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

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