Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Start of Juliana II

I've had a little spare time to work on the translations. Besides working on Juliana, I've been reassessing the lineation of the Guthlac poems. Despite several suggestions to try for a prose poem form, I am convinced that the translation belongs in some form of free verse. I am redoing Guthlac now, so please come by to see how you like the new line breaks.

Below are four stanzas of Juliana from the second part of the poem:


To her father then blessed Juliana gave answer,
she that had to God firmly founded her wifely friendship:
“Never will I endure this prince’s husband-love
unless he should cultivate the God of Hosts more eagerly
than he has previously done, loving with gifts
he that created the light, heaven and earth and the course of the seas,
the orbit of the universe. He cannot otherwise bring me to his bed.
Eleusius must look with his goods for another woman for bride-love—
he will have nothing here.” (105-16)

Then Juliana’s fiendly father replied to her in rage—
and he was not promising her ornaments:
“I shall make it such, as my life endures, that if you do not abandon
this crime first, if you henceforth attend to an alien god
and abandon those that are dearer to us, who stand as succour to our people,
that you shall succumb to death, quickly forfeiting your life
through the clutch of beasts, if you do not wish to submit to
the legal union, the partnership with brave Eleusius.
Great is that enterprise and terrible too for one like you,
one that despises our lord.” (117-29)

Blessed Juliana then gave him back answer, wise and dear to God:
“I wish to speak a truth to you, so long as I am of the living,
I wish not to tell a lie. Never will I fear your judgments,
nor are your torturing perils bitter to me, your battle-crash
by which you with violent evil-doing threaten me,
nor will you ever cause by your idolatry
me to turn from the praise of Christ.” (130-9)

Then Africanus* was infuriated, angry and ferocious,
maddened and mind-grim, the father against the daughter.*
Then he ordered her beaten, threatening her with torment,
troubling her with tortures and spoke this speech:
“Exchange your thoughts and convert these word that you spoke
in folly before when you disparaged the worship of our gods.” (140-7)

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Juliana lines! Yatta!

Long time no post, nu? Here is the first section of Juliana, which has been posted to the appropriate page as well, fresh off the grill. There are doubtlessly still some mistakes, and notes are marked but not yet completed. As usual, please send me your comments and suggestions.



Listen! We have heard of heroes deliberating,
deed-brave men determining what occurred in the days
of Maximian, who throughout middle-earth, raised up
persecution, an infamous king killing Christian men
and felling churches—a heathen war-leader pouring out
upon the grassy field the sainted blood of the God-praising,
the right-performing. His realm was broad, wide and mighty
across human nations—very nearly across the entire earth. (1-10)

They traveled among the cities, as he had commanded,
the Emperor’s awful thegns. Often they roused strife with perverted acts,
those that hated the Lord’s law through criminal skill.
Fiend-ship was aroused, heaving up heathen idols
and slaying the holy, breaking the book-crafty and burning the chosen,
terrifying the champions of God with spear and flame. (11-7)

There was a certain wealthy* man of noble kind, a mighty count.
He ruled over guard-cities, ever defending that ground and holding
hoarded treasure in the city of Nicomedia. Often he earnestly and by duty
sought an idol, heathen-worship over the word of God. His name was ascribed
to be Eleusius and he had a great and renowned authority.
When his mind began to yearn after the virgin Juliana curiosity broke him.
She bore in her soul the holy troth, eagerly intending that her maidenhood
would be preserved for the love of Christ, pure from any sin. (18-31)

Then was that woman, with the wish of her father, betrothed to that wealthy man.
Her fate he did not fully know—how she, young in spirit, despised espoused friendship.
Her fear of God was greater in her mind than all the riches that abode
in the possession of that nobleman. Then the wealthy one, that gold-rich man,
was eager in his heart for marriage, when the woman would most promptly
be prepared for him, a bride unto his home. She firmly set herself against
that warrior’s love, although he owned acquired-wealth within hoard-locks,
uncountable jewels upon the earth. (32-44a)

Condemning it all, Juliana spoke a word amongst a multitude of men:
“I can say to you that you need not trouble yourself so greatly. If you adore
and believe in the True God and exalt his praise, you would recognize
the Comfort of Souls and I would immediately, without faltering, be prepared
to submit to your desire. Likewise I say to you, if in fact you confide
in an inferior god through devil-worship, or call to heathen-idols,
you cannot have me nor can you compel me to sin.
Never will you, through your violent spite, prepare the harsh pain
of severe torments that you should turn me from these words.” (44b-57)

Then the nobleman grew swollen with fury,
stained with criminal acts, hearing that woman’s words.
Rough and heart-blind, he ordered then a swift messenger
to bring the saint’s father to deliberation at once.
Voices mounted up after they leaned their spears together,
these war-great men. They were heathens sick in their sins,
father-in-law and son-in-law. (58-65)

Then spoke the ward of realms
with that woman’s father, and a dangerous mind,
spear-holding: “You daughter has shown me
shame. She says to me—singling me out—
that she does not care for my husband-love
nor my conjugal ways. These great difficulties
were a disgrace to me in my heart’s ken.
She quite viciously offers me abuse before your own people—
she commanded me to worship an alien God with my wealth,
—over the other Gods that we have known before—
to praise him wordfully, to extol him in my mind,
or else I will never possess her.”* (66-77)

Then darkened the bold father-in-law after these words
Juliana’s father, unbinding his mind-hoard:
“I swear it by the true gods, as I find favor at their hands,
or else, my prince, comfort at yours in wine-halls,
if these words are true, dearest of men, which you say to me,
that I will not spare her, but will give her to you,
famous prince, unto your authority for her ruination.
Sentence her to death, if you deem it appropriate,
or allow her to live, whatever may be more preferable to you.” (78-88)

Then her father boldly went to speak with Juliana,
resolute and wrath-wretched, swollen with rage,
where he knew the glad-hearted young woman kept her home.
He spoke then by word: “You are my daughter, dearest
and sweetest in my heart, close by the earth, the light of my eyes,
Juliana! You have in foolishness taken, through your idle hostility,
a way contrary to the judgment of wise men.
You renounce too strongly according to your own advice,
your bridge-groom, who is better than you,*
more noble in this world, more wealth-endowed in money riches.
He is good to have as a friend.
Therefore it is worthy that you be the lady of this man,
his eternal love’s blessing, yet not forsake him.” (89-104)