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Unread 05-18-2022, 11:09 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ellan Vannin
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Would you try it in tet, Carl? Just wondering.

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Unread 05-18-2022, 11:28 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
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I don't know Russian, and I haven't looked at the crib, but I think the translation reads quite well overall. The puffiness factor largely eludes me. If there's metrical filler, you've mostly disguised it well, and the difficult rhyme scheme is handled quite smoothly. I think that's probably more important than reducing the alleged swelling.
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Unread 05-18-2022, 04:13 PM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is online now
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
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David: Hmmm. I’ve tried translating hexameter into pentameter and found that it changed the flavor of the poem too much. Never tried pentameter into tetrameter. It’s a thought, though.

Roger: There is a little more filler here than I normally like, but I hoped it would be justified by the overall effect. If you think it worked, I’m very encouraged. Thank you.
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Unread 05-22-2022, 01:25 AM
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Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Regina, SK; Canada
Posts: 391

Quite a decent translation, to my thinking. I admire how much literal accuracy you've retained, despite the challenges of the poetic form.

"At life's beginning" may be a bit too literal though. It is hard to think of anyone speaking that way in English - about school "at life's beginning", instead of, say, "in my early years" "in my childhood" "when I was young", "early in life" etc.

A woman very meek, in shabby dress,
who had a nonetheless majestic poise,
was there to strictly guide our early steps.
Consider perhaps "rather" (or "somewhat") to avoid putting undue emphasis on "meek", and some adjustments to avoid the split infinitive - perhaps something like this:

"A woman rather meek, in shabby dress,
Who nonetheless possessed a stately poise,
With strictness supervised our early steps."


Last edited by Kevin Rainbow; 05-22-2022 at 01:30 AM.
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Unread 05-22-2022, 06:31 AM
Carl Copeland Carl Copeland is online now
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Posts: 220

Thank you, Kevin, for putting your finger on a few weak spots. I hadn’t thought about it, but “at life’s beginning” does sound unnatural. It’s also a little misleading in reference to Pushkin, who became a teenager during his first year at the Imperial Lyceum. I’ll definitely give it some thought. As for the undue emphasis on “meek,” it’s something that bothered me too. A quick fix might be:

A woman who was meek, in shabby dress,
but …

The split-infinitive rule, on the other hand, was invented, for no good reason that I know of, by nineteenth-century grammarians. Careful readers may be annoyed by split infinitives, and I avoid them if I can do that without sacrificing anything. Your annoyance is noted.

This is just the sort of fine-tuning I was looking for, Kevin. Thanks for your help.


Last edited by Carl Copeland; 05-22-2022 at 10:06 AM.
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