Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top


Thread Tools Display Modes
Unread 06-09-2019, 10:00 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,820
Default Martial, V.81


If you are poor now, Dave, get comfy in your ditch—
.....these days money’s only for the rich.


L1: "that" --> "your"
L2: italicized "these" --> back to unitalicized


semper pauper eris, si pauper es, Aemiliane.
dantur opes nullis nunc nisi divitibus.


You will always be poor, if you are poor, Aemilianus,
Now wealth is given to no one but the rich.


It's an elegiac couplet, so I wanted to keep the same 6-5 couplet that's in the original, but add the rhyme so it snaps into place well.

I want it to speak to today, so "Aemilianus" had to go.

Rich obviously needed to be the last word for the whole thing to work, and there aren't a lot of rhyme words that fit this context, so very quickly I became more interested in a more interpretive than literal translation. I'm obviously adding an image that's not in the original, but I think it helps create the snappiness of Martial's original. We'll see if people agree.

Last edited by Andrew Szilvasy; 06-10-2019 at 03:37 PM.
Reply With Quote
Unread 06-09-2019, 12:17 PM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,525

Hi! I like this. My only quibble is the choice of the new name. There are a lot of monosyllablic options. Dave seems weak, limp, dull, dull. You don't want Walt, probably, to avoid enraging the Whitmans; or Don, to avoid enraging the duck fans, past and future; or Bill, to avoid enraging so many other people; or Bob, because that's a cliche. Bert and Ted are no-wins. Mack has a nice disdainful feeling that is similar to Max. Both convey the condescension that's common in Martial. Maybe something more intimate with seeming condescension too, like Doug (which has deep ideational links to "ditch")--nah!, or simply "Bub", which has the signature blow-off of Martial. Personally, I'd go for Mack!
Reply With Quote
Unread 06-09-2019, 01:47 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,224

Andrew, I've translated this epigram myself, and I hate "Dave" or any other modern name as an equivalent for "Aemilianus." If you want it to sound contemporary without the cringe factor, I would recommend that you leave out the name and also cut it down to 5-5, which will give the punch line a lot more zing. I can't see the point of changing the name but keeping a meter that is never used in English except by classicists.


P.S., you can also avoid a stumble in the meter by italicizing "these."
Reply With Quote
Unread 06-09-2019, 04:22 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,820

Thank you Allen and Susan!

Allen, I'm glad you like it. Both you and Susan hate "Dave." Poor Dave. He has to go. I'm going to think of the name, or addressee. I liked Dave because it is common and catches up with ditch.

Susan, I'm glad you chimed in. I don't have your copy of Martial, but I know you translated a great deal and given how much I enjoy reading your Rilkes, I'm sure they're quite good.

I think you're right on the italics for "these" and I've made that change already.

The name Dave is going to be gone--clearly that is not working--but I think the addressee is an important part of the poem. I anticipated that some might be against that, though. I feel the same about keeping the elegiac's structure. Mike Juster, for instance, keeps it (without rhyme, though) whenever he translates elegiacs, and I quite like the sound. In a couplet you got to get the rhyme, and I like the way the rhythm of elegiacs sound in English when they rhyme. So, that's to say I will keep the 6-5, though I appreciate your pushback.
Reply With Quote
Unread 06-09-2019, 04:27 PM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 1,922

I like "Dave"; it's such a "just a guy" name, which I think is what this poem, translated this way, needs.

I dislike italicizing "these" intensely.
Reply With Quote
Unread 06-09-2019, 05:25 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,445

[double post]

Last edited by Matt Q; 06-10-2019 at 02:31 PM.
Reply With Quote
Unread 06-09-2019, 05:38 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,445

Hi Andrew

Apparently Aemilianus was a very common name, so Dave seems to work for that, I guess, plus it alliterates with 'ditch', which alternatives wouldn't. I guess you have the option of "Aem", if you wanted a mono-syllabic name and the informality, both. I guess much depends on how you'd translate (and modernise) the rest of his epigrams -- if that's your plan. If elsewhere you have someone whipping the cook because of an undercooked hare, Dave is going to look out of place.

I don't think you need the italics. I think the sense of the phrase already places 'sense stress' on 'these'. I don't hear the metre as off. Italicising 'these' seems to give extra emphasis (of meaning) to the 'these', which I don't think it warrants, and (to me) then suggests there's something going on that I don't know about. (Why specifically these days?)

Reply With Quote
Unread 06-09-2019, 06:15 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 14,587

I would lose "now" and "Dave", and I have no preference when it comes to italicizing "these." With that adjustment, I think it's very good, and I'm fine with your adding "ditch," which is well within the spirit and meaning of the original.
Reply With Quote
Unread 06-09-2019, 06:27 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952

Hi Andrew,

Just to stir the pot, I like it as is, with Dave and no italics. It is living and breathing, as Martial might have written today.

Reply With Quote
Unread 06-10-2019, 02:17 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,430

I vote with Roger/Bob. I'd also use a contraction for you're, and perhaps change that to your:

If you're poor, get comfy in your ditch;
these days, money's only for the rich.

A very timely epigram!
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right

Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,021
Total Threads: 19,976
Total Posts: 255,489
There are 701 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right

Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online