Saturday, August 4, 2012

Metres V (provisionally)

Here is my rough version of Metres V, which I will post for comment as I am on my way out the door for a month of camping in Wyoming. Please send me your thoughts on what's there & how it can be made better. There were several places I must confess where I had no idea what the poem was literally trying to say, and so my attempts to smooth the translation out is even more provisional than usual.

[Edit:] I just located a modern English translation of both the Metres of Boethius and Alfred's translation of the Consolation of Philosophy online, done by John Sedgefield in the early twentieth century. Both will be of great use when confronting some of the more difficult passages in the poems. Expect some changes upon my return as I digest the other translation.

[2nd Edit:] Just reworded much of my translation of Metres V (see below), after comparing Sedgeworth to what I had done.


You can perceive clearly by the sun
and by all the other stars which brightest shine across the cities.
If the dark clouds should hang before them,
then they could not send down their rays so radiant,
until the thick clouds become thinned.

So often the south wind grimly stirs up
the smooth sea, grey and glassy-clear,
when they are mixed by a great tempest,
moving the whale-waters—then they are false
whose face was gleaming before.

So often the wellspring washes forth
from the hoary cliffs, cool and pure,
and flows straight down by rights,
running along with its landscape,
until the mountain’s mighty stone
cleaves it from within, and lies in its midst,
rolling away from that peak.
Afterwards it becomes separated into two—
the brightness of the brook is disturbed and blended,
the stream is diverted from its straight course,
running apart in rivulets.

So now the shadows of your heart
wishes to withstand the light of my teaching
and greatly disturb your heart-thoughts.
But if you now desire it, as well as you might,
to plainly perceive that true light,
that bright belief, you must forsake
this idle and excessive delight, this useless joy.

You must as well abandon the wicked fear
of earthly miseries, nor may you despair for them all,
nor ever allow yourself to be weakened by pride,
lest you become disgraced with your arrogance soon,
and raised up with carelessness and worldly delight.
Nor despair even so weakly in any good things,
when your adversary fattens you for the world,
you may be oppressed by these matters and you
may dread them very strongly. Because the mind
will always be greatly bound up with confusion,
if both of these evils may vex it and toil within.

Therefore these two misfortunes draw together
against the mind before the mist of error,
that the eternal sun may not illuminate it within,
due to the dark clouds, before they melt away.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Metres VI

Here is Metres VI, a nice short one.

----------------------- VI (II met.iii)

Then Lady Wisdom unlocked her word-hoard,
singing truth-saws and speaking in this way:

“When the sun is shining its clearest and brightest
from heaven, it quickly becomes obscured
all over the earth by another object in space,
and then its brilliance becomes nothing,
set against the light of the sun.

When the gentle wind blows from the south or west
under the heavens, then the blossoms of the field
quickly grow up and are allowed to be joyful.
But the storm so stark, when he comes in strength,
from the north or the east, he swiftly seizes the lovely rose—
and also the northern tempest afflicts the spacious sea,
stirring it up strongly, beating upon its own shores.

Alas, nothing on earth is of stable work
and may not ever abide in this world!