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Old 07-15-2018, 07:50 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Default Álvarez de Toledo--ruined Rome, again

Gabriel Álvarez de Toledo Pellicer y Tovar (1662 - 1714)

The author, a monk, was Royal Librarian to Felipe V, and one of the founders of the Royal Spanish Academy in 1713.


DRAFT 4 (24 July) — see the end of this post for previous drafts

To Rome, Destroyed

You fell at last, proud Rome, you had your fall,
.....you who had felt, when rising toward the skies,
.....to be earth’s head was something to despise:
.....you arrogantly aimed to be earth’s all.
You built your ego brick by brick—as tall
.....and massive as your plummeting's surprise
.....when you contracted, Rome, to no more size
.....than fit within yourself, from global sprawl.
By founding eternal glory on debris,
.....your corpse—reduced to dust—gets redefined
.....as the deathless stele of your supremacy.
Since only you were what you've been, the grind
.....of time cannot efface your memory;
.....nor can your wreck fit out of sight and mind.

L10 was:
.....your corpse—reduced to dust—will be defined
L14 was:
.....your wreck won't fit completely out of mind.

ORIGINAL SPANISH:

A Roma destruida

Caíste, altiva Roma, en fin caíste,
.....tú, que cuando a los cielos te elevaste,
.....ser cabeza del orbe despreciaste,
.....porque ser todo el orbe pretendiste.
Cuanta soberbia fábrica erigiste,
.....con no menor asombro despeñaste,
.....pues del mundo en la esfera te estrechaste,
.....¡o Roma! y sólo en ti caber pudiste.
Fundando en lo caduco eterna gloria
.....tu cadáver a polvo reducido
.....padrón será inmortal de tu victoria,
porque siendo tú sola lo que has sido,
.....ni gastar puede el tiempo tu memoria,
.....ni tu ruina caber en el olvido.


LITERAL ENGLISH PROSE CRIB

To Rome, destroyed

You fell, arrogant Rome, in the end you fell,
.....you, who when you raised yourself to the heavens,
.....to be head of the globe you scorned,
.....because to be all the globe you claimed [CORRECTION: [is what] you wanted, is what you set out to do.]
As great a quantity of arrogant stonework/brickwork (as) you erected,
.....with no less astonishment/surprise you tumbled down,
.....because from the world in the sphere you squeezed yourself/contracted yourself,
.....O Rome, and only in yourself to fit you could.
Founding on the worn-out (m) eternal glory (f) (Founding eternal glory on the worn-out)
.....your cadaver to dust reduced
.....(a) stele will be immortal of your victory;
Because being you alone that which you have been,
.....neither to use up/consume/waste/spoil/wear out can time (neither can time waste/spoil/wear out your memory,
.....nor your ruin fit into oblivion.


PREVIOUS DRAFTS


DRAFT 2 (18 July, in response to Andrew's and Susan's comments)

To Rome, Destroyed

You fell at last, proud Rome, you had your fall,
.....you who had felt, when rising toward the skies,
.....to be earth’s head was something to despise,
.....and so you sought instead to be earth’s all.
Brick by brick, you built your ego tall,
.....then tumbled down with just as large surprise,
.....for you contracted, Rome, to no more size
.....than fit within yourself, from global sprawl.
Providing eternal glory a worn foundation,
.....your corpse—although reduced to dust—will be
.....the deathless stele of your victorious nation.
Since what you were, you were exclusively,
.....time cannot erase your reputation:
.....your ruin’s scale exceeds obscurity.

Tweaks:
L5 was:
.....and set to work instead to be earth’s all.
.....and made your aim instead [color=purple]to be earth’s all.
Q2 was:
Brick by brick, you built your ego tall,
.....with shock to match, you dropped to your demise,
.....for you contracted, Rome, to just what size
.....than fit within yourself, from global sprawl.
Then Q2 was:
Brick by brick, you built your ego tall,
.....then tumbled down with just as large surprise,
.....for you contracted, Rome, to no more size
.....than fit within yourself, from global sprawl.
L9 was:
Basing eternal glory on waste’s foundation,
L14 was:
.....oblivion can't hold your entropy.



DRAFT 1:

To Ruined Rome

You fell, hubristic Rome, fell to your ending,
.....you who’d said, when rising toward the skies,
.....to be earth’s head was something to despise,
.....and being all the earth was worth pretending.
What heaps of haughty stone you stacked, ascending!
.....With shock as huge, you dropped to your demise,
.....for you’d contracted, Rome, from global size
.....to fit within yourself, no more extending.
Basing eternal glory on waste’s foundation,
.....your corpse—although reduced to dust—will be
.....the deathless stele of your victorious nation.
Since what you’ve been, you were exclusively,
.....time can’t dismantle your commemoration:
.....the Void’s too small to hold your atrophy.


DRAFT 3 (20 July) — see the end of this post for previous drafts

To Rome, Destroyed

You fell at last, proud Rome, you had your fall,
.....you who had felt, when rising toward the skies,
.....to be earth’s head was something to despise,
.....and arrogantly aimed to be earth’s all.
You built your ego brick by brick, as tall
.....and massive as your plummeting's surprise,
.....for you contracted, Rome, to no more size
.....than fit within yourself, from global sprawl.
Providing eternal glory a worn foundation,
.....your corpse—although reduced to dust—will be
.....the deathless stele of your victorious nation.
Since what you were, you were exclusively,
.....time cannot consume your reputation:
.....your ruin overflows obscurity.

L14 was:
.....nor can the Void absorb your atrophy.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 07-26-2018 at 12:43 AM. Reason: Draft 4
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:18 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Hi Julie,

I've really enjoyed reading this series of translations, even when I haven't jumped in. I'm hoping to keep coming back to this to find more to comment on, but for all that's good afterwards, I think the opening line isn't working.

I think your translation loses too much in deviating from the repetition of "Caíste," which makes the original opening so forceful. I think you'd do well to stick more to your crib for that opening line. It also brings you to translate "pretendiste" as "pretending," which I think is off the mark here. Your crib says "claimed" but I think of it more as "intend" or "aim" and that feels more in line with the original.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:33 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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[Edited to say: I notice that the abbreviated title for this thread on the main index page is "Álvarez de Toledo--ruined..." Ouch!]

Thanks, Andrew.

Yes, the RAE entry for the verb "pretender" is closer to your interpretation than to mine:

1. To want to be or to obtain something.
2. To carry out the tasks necessary to obtain something.
3. Said of a person: to woo another.

I'll try a different "a" rhyme to see if I can fix that, and also spice up the first line.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 07-16-2018 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 07-18-2018, 10:39 AM
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Revision posted, at long last! Thanks, Andrew. I'm much happier with Draft 2.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:39 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Julie, I think your revision is an improvement, but some problem areas remain. In L6, "with shock to match" doesn't seem to follow what goes right before it. You might try something like "with equal awe." I am guessing that it is the viewer's astonishment, not the shock of the fall, that is being described. The sestet seems problematic to me. The wording is hard to make sense of. L9 is particularly confusing. For the last line, something like "oblivion can't contain your memory" might work.

Susan
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:50 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Yeah, I agree with your assessment that it's better, but still isn't not quite there yet. Hmmm. I'll keep poking at it. Thanks, Susan.

[Edited later to add: Numerous tweaks posted above. Still not happy with L14. Arrgh. I had "contain" in an earlier draft, Susan, and may go back to that.]

[Edited again: I think "reputation" in L13 is too positive, and thus deflates the humorous twist in L14. Which is falling flat anyway, because I'm botching L14. I think I'll need to try another set of rhymes. Arrgh again.]

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 07-18-2018 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:02 AM
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Draft 3 posted above. Thanks again, Andrew and Susan.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:40 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Julie,

I think this revision is really good. It flows well, and your fixes in the first half all work well.

The only thing that jumps out as still needing work is the last line. I don't think Void has the same connotations as "olvido," and the connotations it does have feel anachronistic and of the wrong register.

Further, atrophy doesn't work for me because the Spanish earlier is "cadáver," or corpse, and corpses don't atrophy, only living things do.
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Old 07-21-2018, 12:41 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Hmmm. Good points, Andrew.

At one point I tried this, but I didn't like the liquid imagery of "overflows," and the meter might be a little too murky. Is this better, though?

Since what you were, you were exclusively,
.....time cannot consume your reputation:
.....your wreckage overflows obscurity.

Here's the original:

porque siendo tú sola lo que has sido,
.....ni gastar puede el tiempo tu memoria,
.....ni tu ruina caber en el olvido.
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Old 07-21-2018, 04:19 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Julie, I think you are continuing to improve the translation, but that last line still could be stronger. What about something along the lines of "even your wreck transcends obscurity"? Also, in the preceding line, something like "raze out" or "erase" might sound stronger than "consume." I tend to think of eating with "consume," but it seems a more placid word.

Susan
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