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)

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