Mon 5 Jan, 2004 05:25 pm
The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed--
It blesseth him that gives,
And him that takes.
If I, in my years of waning light, score a Porsche, would that constitute a threesome?
boy, this one went nowhere. i just think that were not ready for the bard.
alls well that ends.
I'm all for the Bard's special kind of mercy, especially when it comes to killing all the lawyers.
I am with William - only I call it compassion - I think vengefulness and harsh judgement and such taketh twice - from the one who judges and the judged.
The rain image is wonderful - and carries within it, I think, the sense of softening and generativity that is inherent in compassion - in the sense that it can take root and bear fruit in many ways and far, in time and distance, from where the seed was planted.
Vengefulness and harshness are arid and barren.
But that is just what I aspire to....
I''m worrying about how long time it is needed to learn how to write a perfect poem in English?
Check it out...big Willie anticipates Existentialism:
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
I already did that in another thread, Cav . . .
My favorite short take on the subject is Fitzgerald's translation of Kayyam:
The moving finger having writ
Moves on. Nor all thy piety
Nor all thy wit, shall lure it back to cancel half a line
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.
Well tweak me codpiece Setanta....I dinna see that other thread. The Fitzgerald translation is lovely.
Whew! I was afraid this was going to be another Koala Tea joke.
Sooooooo, What do I think Setanta? I think Romeo's soliloquy before he does himself in, is beautiful for the drama and the words:
Come bitter conduct; come, unsavory guide!
Thy desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy seasick weary bark!
As for Omar, I simply remember my father entoning his verse, and I, as a child, was mesmerized by his voice:
Awake, for dawn has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight,
And, lo, the Sultan's turret is caught in a noose of light?
Did I get that right?
and as a companion piece to your "rain" thing:
Oh, silly buckets on the deck that had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew,
And when I woke it rained.
er, Rog. What's koala tea?
Oh, my gawd, Margo.
I should have known--Roger and his groaners.
"...there is nothing neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so..."
Letty, from Fitzgerald's first and fifth editions:
Awake! For dawn into the bowl of night
Has flung the stone which puts the stars to flight
And lo, the Hunter of the East
Has caught the Sultan's turret in a golden noose of light.
ah, yes, Setanta. Perfect...just perfect.....what a wonderful way to say Good Morning. I have the tent maker's book here that was a gift..I just wanted to see if I could recall some of my favorite lines. Thank you.
Probably the best known (and most often misquited) are:
Oh to be beneath the bough
A book of verse, a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou
Beside me, singing in the wilderness
And wilderness were paradise enow . . .
I think ol' Eddie did a first class job
Setanta, am I getting this right?
Come fill the cup and in the fire of spring,
Your lasting garments of repentance fling.
The bird of time has but a little way to fly,
And, lo, the bird is on the wing.
God, who ever the translator was,
Eddie, or Edward, or F.Scott Fitzgerald,
They were beloved infidels..
I don't recall having read that quatrain, Miss Letty, but the rhyme scheme and meter are correct, and it certainly is in the tenor of Kayyam's poetical productions--Edward Fitzgerald translated ol' Omar's poems in an edition which was highly popular, and which was immediately condemned by "Orientalists" as being inaccurate. In the second edition, he demostrated that he knew Farsi (the language of the Persians, of Iran) well enough, producing translations with which the Orientalists would not quibble, and which were just as dull as dishwater.
In the third edition, he reverted to his original work, and refined those translations, in terms of producing beautiful English verse which he felt were true to the art of Kayyam, if not necessarily the most exact translations. The fourth edition included quatrains which were disputed or which he had not previously translated.
The fifth edition was radically different, however, as he made an effort (a monumental effort) to reconcile precise translation and conventions of English language verse and meter. I personally think the effort was not worth it. For example, in the fifth edition, this is how he renders the quatrain above about dawn:
Wake! For the Sun, who scatter'd into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav'n, and strikes
The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light.
Although the accuracy of the translation may be open to dispute, i think there is more of poetry in English in the version i gave above, which is the one he used in the first and third editions.
Thanks, Setanta. You obviously know your stuff. Guess I'll need to find that book of mine after all.
Fitzgerald faced the same attacks as John Ciardi in his Dante translation. The verse you just cited is not nearly as lovely as your previous one.