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  #11  
Old 06-09-2018, 10:08 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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John, I think you and I are reading the gold in different ways. I had in mind The Merchant of Venice(1.3), in which Antonio says to Shylock, "Was this inserted to make interest good? / Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?" And Shylock replies, "I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast." People joke about "breeding" gold, using money to make money. And the gold of the courtesan's hair glowing in the sun is also making money.

Clive, thanks for your observation about "ob." I have tried making a few changes to add the image of crossing over on the bridge. I hesitated to change "are" to "arch" in L4, even though the arch of the brow is immediately suggested to me by comparing it to a bridge (and Venice's bridges are arched). But I think adding "over" in L5 helps to clarify the image of crossing over on the bridge of her brows.

Susan
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2018, 12:12 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Susan,

I like your solution to the arch question. It is compact.
Yes, I was reading the gold visually, as in Titian's Venus of Urbino. I like your Shylock quote.

Cheers,
John
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  #13  
Old 06-12-2018, 02:54 PM
Nigel Mace Nigel Mace is offline
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Hi Susan,

My major issues I've left to a sort of generic post on your new St Sebastian translation. I'm sure you will guess what they are.

However, on this poem I'll restrict myself to two particular problems. The first is using "town" for Venice. It just won't do for one of the most iconic of ancient and 'serene' cities.

I also don't find your - or is that actually Rilke's (?) - "over" in relation to her eyebrows very helpful. The real meaning, if it is to have any poetic force or feeling, is surely 'to'. They may 'arch' - I don't at all object to your interjection here - 'over' the canals but this youth destroyer's eyes are what young men are fatally drawn 'to'.

All being said - thank you again for another fascinating post.
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:25 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Nigel, "city" is one of the meanings of "town." I need "town" for the meter, obviously; though I considered other options, they didn't work as well. Clive Watkins pointed out that "ob" means "over," and I realized that the bridges always lead over the canals, not to the canals. I assume that Rilke is suggesting that the bridges and canals are close to one another, like eyebrows and eyes. A bridge may seem a safe way to get over a canal, but one may always wind up jumping, falling, or being pushed into the water from one.

Susan
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:40 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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This to me makes for a very interesting bridge discussion. As to rhyme scheme: I feel that if you have a sonnet, keep it a sonnet, otherwise you deform the thing. And keep Shakespeare and Petrarch separate. A little tercet variation is fine by me, but if it's abba, I'd not go abab, for instance.
Everyone puts the Commedia into things other than terza rima. This I can only regret. Buy Geoffrey Bickersteth's terza rima Commedia, his life's work.

Cheers,
John
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  #16  
Old 06-13-2018, 03:30 AM
Nigel Mace Nigel Mace is offline
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Well, John has raised my, so far, unposted bother about this translation.

The rhyme scheme of Rilke's original was abbb, accc, def, fed and here it emerges as abba, cdcd, efg, hig(?) assuming that "earth" and "mouth" are claimed as slant rhymes. I appreciate, Susan, that you do not regard this as a major issue (perhaps not one at all?) - but, like John's comment above, it does seem to me to be a needless lack of keeping faith with the original. After all what's wrong with Rilke's rhyme scheme? Surely he had his reasons for it - and how are we the better served by ignoring it?

Of course, this type of question is/can be a permanent one for translators of poetry and perhaps, as I've suggested on your fascinating St Sebastian thread, it should have a discussion of its own.... or did I miss it years ago, and can a Spherian elder resurrect it or direct me to it?
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  #17  
Old 06-13-2018, 08:17 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Nigel, my rhyme scheme is abba cdcd eefggf. With the slant rhymes I am trying to keep the final consonant sound consistent, while varying the vowel sounds and, in some cases, the preceding consonant sound. You say that Rilke surely had his reasons for his rhyme schemes. I agree, but we can't always know what those were. Maybe they were just that he liked one wording over another among the possible rhyme schemes. But when the words change, as they must, sometimes the rhyme scheme must change, too. Luckily, no one can alter Rilke's original, so the reader may choose among many different interpretations, depending on what the reader values in a translation.

Susan
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