Thursday, February 25, 2010

Last part of Juliana V

The final stanzas of the fifth section of Juliana are now drafted. These were fairly complicated, and will probably change incrementally as I continue to read them aloud to myself.


“I have borne it all—cruel crimes throughout human nations,
those that have happened in the wide ages from the start of the world
for the kindred of men, the earls upon the earth.
There was none among them that have dared to touch me thus
boldly as you now do, holy with your hands.
There were none of these mindful men across the earth
through holy might, none of the high-fathers or prophets:
even though the God of Multitudes, the King of Glory,
revealed to them the spirit of wisdom, his boundless gift,
nevertheless I might approach the way to them. (506b-518a)

There was none of them who have laden me with bonds so boldly*
or whelmed me over with calamity, before now
when you seized me fast and overcame my great strength,
which my father gave me, the enemy of man-kind,
when he ordered me to venture, a prince from the darkness,
so that I had to sweeten your sins for you.
There sorrow befell me, a heavy hand-struggle.
I need not rejoice over this errand in the company of my kinsmen
after this sore suffering, when I must render unto them
a sorrowful account in our gloomy home.” (518b-530a)

Then Heliseus the noblemen, a cruel-minded man, ordered
Juliana, holy in heart, to be lead out from her narrow house
unto his doom-seat to speak with the heathens.
She, sainted and inspired in her breast, dragged with her
that unbelieving devil, fastened in bonds.
Then he, wretched and careful, lamented his errand,
bewailed his pain, bewept his bad fortune, speaking wordfully:

“I entreat you, my lady Juliana, before the peace of God,
to work me no further insult, no disgrace in front of these earls,
more than you have done already, when you overwhelmed
the wisest under the prison’s shadow, the king of the hell-dwellers
in the city of fiends; he is our father, the evil prince of murder.
So, you have chastised me by your soreful swats!
I know as truth that I have never met, before or since,
in worldly realms a woman like you—more bold in your thoughts,
nor more cross-timbered* of all womankind!
It is clear to me that you have become in all things
unabashed and wise in mind.” (539-553a)

At that moment the woman allowed the devil after his time
of suffering to seek the shadows in the dark earth,
the adversary of souls, in pain of torment. He knew more readily,
that messenger of malice, to speak of it before his kinsmen,
torture’s thanes, how it befell him on his journey. (553b-58)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Okay, so a sense of flow is returning now that I've made a point to work on Juliana a little bit every day. Here are the first fifty lines of the fifth part of the poem, in which the interrogation of the demon continues:


Then that beautiful woman, the light of glory,
spoke wordfully to that pledge-breaker:
“You must confess more wicked deeds,
humiliated spirit of hell, before you may go hence—
what iniquity, what great evil works by dark error,
have you accomplished, against the children of men?” (454-60a)

To her that devil replied: “Now I learn it by your speech,*
that I must speak my mind, constrained by compulsion
as you command me, to suffer your affliction.
This miserable time is full strong, this punishment excessive.
I have to suffer and tolerate all things in your judgment,
to uncover my dark and stained deeds, which I have plotted for an age.
Often I have stolen the sight, blinding countless warriors
by wicked thoughts, the kindred of men, covering the light
of their eyes with a cowl of mist, through the poisonous spear-point
and storms of darkness, and I have crushed the feet
of some through evil contrivances, others I have brought into burning,
into the blazes’ embrace, so that the last of his tracks was visible.* (460b-75a)

“Also I did unto some so that the blood spewed
from their bone-locks, so that they with sudden peril
gave up their ghost through the welling of their veins.
Others on a sea-voyage were drowned upon the way of waters,
on the ocean-flood, by my skill under the gloomy gushing.
Some I delivered unto the rood so that they gave up their life,
dreary, upon the high gallows. Others I incited by my teaching
to make strife so that they in sudden peril renewed old grudges,
drinking beer. I poured out for them crime from the cup,
so that they lose their soul in the wine-hall through sword-grabbing,
hastening fated from the flesh-home, seeking sore wounds.
When I find some without the mark of God, heedless
and unblessed, then I boldly slay them by various deaths
with my own hands and devilish devices. (475b-94a)

“Even though I sit a summer-long day,* I could not relate
all the suffering that I have performed as evil, early and late,
indeed since the heavens and the way of stars were areared,
the earth was fastened and the first humans, Adam and Eve,
from whom I snatched away life and instructed them
so that they abandoned the love of the Lord, his eternal blessed gift,
and their bright happy home, so that wretchedness became them both
forever and so upon their heirs, the darkest of sinful deeds—
How much more endless evil must I recount? (494b-506)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Juliana IV complete!

After only six months, I have finished the first translation of part four of Juliana. It's not that it is particularly difficult rendering, I just have had a lot of other things to do with my time. The final three stanzas are posted below and appear on the Juliana translation page in context. The post-wrestling conversation with the devil is almost finished.


The accursed one addressed her, that wretched miscreant:
“Say to me first how you, daring through deep thought,
became thus battle-bold beyond all of woman-kind
so that you clapped me fast thus in chains,
in every way defenseless. You placed your trust
in God Eternal, He that Sits in Majesty, Maker of Man-kind,
such as I founded hope in my father, the king of hellish citizens. (429-37)

“Then I am dispatched against sooth-fast people,
that I might convert their minds in wicked deeds,
their hearts from health. At times my desire is
restrained by their resistance, my hope for holy ones,
just as sorrow befalls me here on my campaign.
I know that much too late myself: now I, a sin-worker,
have to suffer shame over this for a long time. (438-45)

“Therefore I beg of you through the power of the Highest,
the grace of the Heaven-King, who upon the rood-tree
suffered, Lord of Majesty, that you have mercy upon me
in my wanting, so that I miserable may not wholly perish,
even though I, thus rashly and dull-wittedly sought you
on my journey, where I did not expect such an unhappy time as this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Three more stanzas of Juliana IV

Several more stanzas of Juliana have crept onto the translation page. They are repeated below for your morning-coffee convenience.


If I meet any powerful or mind-proud champions of the Maker
who against my arrows’ flight will not bend far thence
from the battle but heaves up his board against them,
mind-wise, a holy shield, his ghostly war-dress,
who will not betray his God—but bold in his prayers he makes a stand,
fast in a foot-band so I must flee far thence,
low-minded, deprived of comfort, in the grip of gleeds,
mourning my care, so that I can not with craft of strength
go against him with war, but sad I should seek others
lacking in courage, under the bristle of standards,
the more sluggish warrior who I can puff up with my leaven,
and hinder from warfare. Although he the strength of God
may begin spiritually, I will be immediately ready,
so that I look through all his thought,
how established he might be his inward strength,
built his defenses. (382-401a)

I open up the gate of his wall through reproach;
the tower will be pierced, opened by its apeture,
then first I dispatch to him through arrow-flight
into his breast-self bitter thoughts by varied desires of the mind,
so that it seems better to himself to perform sins
instead of the praise of God, lusts of the body.
I am an eager teacher so that he may live
according to my wicked customs,* averted certainly
from the law of Christ, his heart troubled for me
as power in the pit of his sins. I care more,
and more eagerly about the spirit, the ruin of the soul,
than for the body-house, that which must become in this world
the comfort of worms and is commended to a lair in the earth.” (401b-17a)

Then again the woman spoke: “Speak, wretched shape,
spirit unclean, ruler of darkness, how do you associate yourself
in the company of the clean? You of old, pledge-less, labored
against Christ and drew along a struggle, plotting against holy men.
For you was the pit of hell delved below, where you,
harassed by your misery on account of your over-pride
sought a home. I supposed that you must be the more cautious—
and the more cowardly—in such a meeting against the sooth-fast
one that often withstood your will by the Glory-King.

* 410. mon-þeawum: This is usually translated as “human custom” or simply “custom.” However, the possibility cannot be ruled out “mon-” (human) is not “man-” (evil, wicked), especially since the context seems to demand it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Andreas re-lineation is complete

I have finally finished re-lineating and revising Andreas. The line breaks should feel more comfortable and less breath-stretching now, with a concomitant increase in the energy of the translation. Let me know how it works for you.

I have also considered and reconsidered a tough word choice at line 1478-81 (the first lines of section IX):

Hwæt, ic hwile nu haliges lare,
leoð-giddinga, lof þæs þe worhte,
wordum wemde

Listen, I have defamed [proclaimed?] for a while now the teaching of the saint, the praise of what he achieved, in the words of poetic songs

There is an untranslatable pun possible between weman “to announce, persuade, entice” and wemman “to mar, spot, spoil" and "to defile, besmirch” (both are weak verbs and may look the same in the preterite). Both of the translations I rely upon translate it as weman: Kennedy rendering it as “singing” and Bradley as “proclaiming.” The Bosworth Toller Dictionary, however, translates this line
as “I have not given a good account of the saint," and suggests a definition for the phrase wordum wemman "to reproach, blame."

The line is repeated from line 740, where it is used to describe the animated statue speaking. There the pun also works, but not so urgently: it could mean either "proclaiming [to them] in words" or "reproaching [them] ('them' being the priests of the Temple at Jerusalem).

My preference is to go with the unusual, but defensible "defamed" in line 1480—it becomes then a humility topos that fits in with the author's need to re-introduce himself in direct address and begins his apologetic statement. What do you think? Can I keep it as "defamed" or should it be "proclaimed?" I'd like to hear from you on this?