Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fish slime and Brine

So without giving anything away, I've been working with English translations of a racy (to early modern people, apparently) text for this book chapter I'm finishing.

This is only a sampling of one terrible Greek-to-English translation from the middle of the 17th century:

"Fish slime and Brine have made thy penance great,
Come now, into my bosome drop thy sweat."

Hmm . . . I think there's actually good reason why it didn't garner as much acclaim as the more famous version.


Hilaire said...

Ugh! Yuck! I'm glad you get to work with...prettier (?) versions, to banish this one from your brain, perhaps.

Pamphilia said...

Oh yes, not only are they prettier, they're wittier.

This one made me laugh out loud, though it turned into a kind of snort-giggle, and some readers turned and looked at me. This translator in particular will do anything for a rhyme, even a slant rhyme.