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Old 07-31-2018, 01:31 PM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Default Garcilaso de la Vega Sonnet XIII

Garcilaso de la Vega
(1501-1536)


DRAFT THREE

Sonnet XIII

Daphne’s arms were in the midst of growing
and—proof they'd turned to branches now—far-ranging.
I saw the green leaves into which were changing
the tresses that till then outshone gold’s glowing.

Rugged bark was gradually flowing
across the soft-skinned legs, which still were lunging.
Into the ground, the white feet started plunging,
contorting into roots while downward-going.

He—the cause of all this mutilation—
so grieved, he forced this tree to grow, by way
of all the tears that it was watered by.

Oh massive woe, oh wretched situation,
that showing grief should make to grow, each day,
the thing he grieved for, and the reason why!

LL2-3 were:
Daphne’s arms were at the moment growing,
and, turning into branches, proved far-ranging.
LL13-14 were:
that grief for her should make to grow, each day,
the cause he grieved for, and the reason why!


DRAFT TWO--Extensive changes! Thanks, Andrew, Roger, and Susan.

Sonnet XIII

All of a sudden, Daphne’s arms were growing
and—proof they’d turned to branches—looked far-ranging.
The verdant leaves I saw her hair was changing
into stopped her tresses’ gold from glowing.

Rugged bark was gradually flowing
across the legs that still were soft, still lunging.
Into solid ground, white feet were plunging,
contorting into roots while downward-going.

He—the cause of all this mutilation—
shed mournful tears in such a forceful way,
the watered tree grew larger than it was.

Oh massive woe, oh wretched situation,
that grieving for it should enlarge, each day,
the reason he was grieving, and the cause!

Alt sestet:

He—the cause of all this mutilation—
shed tears of grief in such a forceful way,
the watered tree grew larger than it was.

Oh massive woe, oh wretched situation,
that mourning it should augment, day by day,
the reason he was mourning, and the cause!

Tweaks after posting (what is it about posting that suddenly makes problems glaringly apparent?)

LL3-4 changed to:
Green leaves I saw then, into which were changing
the locks of hair that once outshone gold’s glowing.
L11 was:
the tree grew larger, watered, than it was.


ORIGINAL DRAFT

Sonnet XIII

Immediately, Daphne’s arms were growing,
already turned to branches, long and lean.
I saw her locks transmute to leaves of green,
the gold within them leaching, draining, going.

Rough bark spread over legs that still were showing
suppleness, continuing to careen
till — plunging into solid ground — her clean
white feet turned into roots: contorting, bowing.

He who was the cause of such upheaval
would grieve in such a forceful, tearful way,
the tree would have to grow from irrigation.

Oh miserable plight, oh massive evil,
that his laments should augment, day by day,
the cause — the reason — for his lamentation!

Tweaks:
L4 was: the gold within them draining out while going.
L9 was: He who’d been the cause of such upheaval


SPANISH ORIGINAL

Soneto XIII

A Dafne ya los brazos le crecían
y en luengos ramos vueltos se mostraban;
en verdes hojas vi que se tornaban
los cabellos qu’el oro escurecían;

de áspera corteza se cubrían
los tiernos miembros que aun bullendo estaban;
los blancos pies en tierra se hincaban
y en torcidas raíces se volvían.

Aquel que fue la causa de tal daño,
a fuerza de llorar, crecer hacía
este árbol, que con lágrimas regaba.

¡Oh miserable estado, oh mal tamaño,
que con llorarla crezca cada día
la causa y la razón por que lloraba!


LITERAL ENGLISH PROSE CRIB

For Daphne, already the arms for/of her were growing,
and into long branches turned (past particple of volver, “to turn”) (they) were showing themselves/seeming;
into green leaves I saw that (they) were turning themselves/being turned (imperfect of tornarse, another “to turn” verb),
the hairs that (were) the gold (direct object) darkening/obscuring/dimming; (English word order: "the hairs that used to darken/obscure/dimming gold")

With harsh/rough bark were covering themselves/were covered
the tender members/limbs that still boiling/roiling/moving violently (present participle of “bullir,” to boil) were;
the white feet into earth were thrusting themselves/were being thrust (“hincarse” can also mean “to kneel,” but the more violent, penetrative sense seems appropriate here, especially since it’s rhymed with another verb of violent motion; also, “hincar” is often used in sexual contexts)
and into twisted roots were turning themselves/were being turned (imperfect of volverse).

That one (masculine) who was the cause of such damage,
by force of weeping, to grow was making
this tree, which with tears (he) was watering.

Oh wretched state/situation, oh evil so sizeable,
that with weeping for her should grow (subjunctive of “crecer”) each day
the cause and the reason for which (he) was weeping!

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 08-06-2018 at 10:49 AM. Reason: Draft 3 tweak
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Old 07-31-2018, 02:41 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Hi Julie,

I'm glad to see another Siglo de Oro poem here. I think you do a nice job with this, and I imagine this myth is of particular interest to you. I'm working on reading it in Ovid, so this is an interesting pairing for me.

I have two quick thoughts.

1. "ya" is such a wonderful, but abrupt word. My wife is Dominican (she's been in the US almost her whole life, but her parents and family are Spanish-first to Spanish-only) so I've heard "ya" quite a lot in my life, though in a slightly different context. Immediately strikes me as one of those English words that sound and function exactly the opposite of their meaning. Something like the ugliness of "pulchritude," or, worse, "pulchritudinous." So I think a poem that already delays "ya" to start with "A Daphne" might be better suited to something more punchy. Further, given we need to elevate a syllable to get to 5 (imMEDiATEly), the word is slowing us down. I think the context here calls for a headless line of pent, or at least an initial trochee. I want to hear something like:

Daphne already had her arms growing...

2. I'm going to be a pain and push on "lamentation." I feel like it's too formal for "llorar." "Lamentation" comes to the Spanish (and English) from λάλος, or to babble like a baby (la la la), and it has a Biblical feel to it (obviously) that llorar does not. I feel like in llorar's simplicity (from Latin "plorō" - to cry out; related to βοή, a cry) is lost in "Lament" and begs instead for "cry" or "weep."

Another, more radical thought: cutting a foot out of each line. There are a few places that seem like they're padded to meet the meter (not badly, mind you): "long and lean," "leaves of green," and "contorting, bowing" stand out in that sense.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:11 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Thanks, Andrew! Very helpful feedback.

I tried a bunch of shorter alternatives for "ya," but kept coming back to the sesquipedalian "immediately." I'll give it another go, but I'm not hopeful that I'll find something that makes me happier (even if it might make you happier, heh).

What's this about the lines being padded for the meter? How very wrong you are! They're padded for the rhyme!

Hmmm. I think I need to try a different set of "b" rhymes, and possibly the "a" rhymes, too. Two of the four "b" rhyme words--"lean" and "clean"--are not in the Spanish at all, and "careen" is a stretch for the roiling motion of "bullendo." The only one that works without excuses is "green." And you're right that there's a lot of repetition to maneuver the "a" rhymes into position, too.

Good point about the audio origins of "lamentation," which is a bit too long and Latinate for Garcilaso, anyway. I can't help noting, though, that the English words "cry" and "sob" are also words that are more sound-related than tear-related.

Thanks for all these thoughts, Andrew--I shall take them away to tinker.
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Old 07-31-2018, 03:22 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Steiner View Post
I can't help noting, though, that the English words "cry" and "sob" are also words that are more sound-related than tear-related.
How true! Though "cry" comes from the Proto-Germanic *krītaną meaning to "cry out" like "plorō, sob is more imitative, probably coming from the sound of sucking in air. I'm glad your post made me look them up.
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Old 08-01-2018, 04:51 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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I'd hate to turn this to tet, though I can see the issue that some of it seems padded. L4, for example, and L8. You can't avoid padding, but maybe it's a bit too obvious if you just give sequences of near-synonyms in place of single words from the Spanish. (The original, I think, is also guilty of this in the final line, with "cause" and "reason" being a bit paddy).

I haven't worked through the whole sonnet yet to the point of giving suggestions, but I have read it enough to be comfortable with it in Spanish and find it enjoyable. The main issue I have with your translation is that it bogs down, while the Spanish moves very swiftly and presents the transformation almost as an action scene. The language in Spanish is actually pretty straightforward without the ornate posturing you find in so many sonnets of that period. The translation adds unnecessary synonyms and lots of commas and dashes (the Spanish has none except at the end of lines) and words like "suppleness."

I'm not sure I get the meaning of the "gold" line, but my sense is maybe what it means to say is that her hair, before it turned green, had been golder than gold, i.e., it turned gold into something dark and dim by comparison. I could well be wrong. But I'm not following the "leach" interpretation. Here's something very rough that sort of gets at what I'd try for:

Daphne's arms then started to unfold
and seemed to me like branches, long and lean.
I saw her locks become dull leaves of green
that once were bright enough to darken gold.


I may have more when I take a closer look at the rest, but I may not have time so I've gone ahead and posted now before I forget to share the few thoughts I've had so far.

(The ending in Spanish is quite lovely, though it's hard to feel a whole lot of pity when you recall just why she turned into a tree to begin with).
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Old 08-01-2018, 06:59 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Slater View Post
The main issue I have with your translation is that it bogs down, while the Spanish moves very swiftly and presents the transformation almost as an action scene. The language in Spanish is actually pretty straightforward without the ornate posturing you find in so many sonnets of that period.
Yes, THIS!

Garcilaso uses a much simpler vocabulary and syntax than later poets of the same century, who were consciously using Latin- and Greek-inspired hyperbaton and coinages and convolutedly euphemistic beating-around-the-bush in order to develop ridiculously erudite ways of saying things. So I need to keep it simple, too.

Quote:
gold
The mention of gold here is probably a nod to the traditional mention of golden hair in a literary blazon's top-to-toe description of a beautiful woman. Daphne’s transformation proceeds in the same top-to-toe order, except that her upraised arms are higher than her golden hair, so that’s where the change begins. (This also allows her to keep running from her would-be rapist until the metamorphosis reaches her feet.)

I'd been treating "escurecer" in L4 as a variant of "escurrir," (run out, drip, drickle, drain, seep, leach), on the theory that some sort of alchemical or industrial/mining metaphor was going on with the gold; but I think you're right that taking "escurecer" as an archaic form of "oscurecer/obscurecer" ("to darken or dim") makes a lot more sense.

Quote:
(The ending in Spanish is quite lovely, though it's hard to feel a whole lot of pity when you recall just why she turned into a tree to begin with).
Yeah, my initial reaction to L14, when I first encountered this poem as a teenager, was something along the lines of, "Way to blame the victim, dude!"

(I’m actually very fond of Garcilaso. He seems like such a sweet, sensitive soul. But his sympathy for Apollo in this scenario seems badly misplaced. Is Garcilaso really so naïve that he doesn't realize that Apollo is probably feeling far more sorry for himself than he is for Daphne?)

Quote:
[repetition of "cause and reason" in L14]
I realize that you're making a different point, but that reminds me: I'm struck by the fact that Garcilaso uses the same word (causa, “cause”) for both parties in the sestet (Apollo in L9, and Daphne in L14). Is he being ironic? Probably not. I can’t think of any other occasions on which Garcilaso was satyrical. He probably sincerely identifies with another broken-hearted man who blew his chances when he came on too strong (although I can’t imagine Garcilaso coming on anywhere near as relentlessly as Apollo here).

Thanks, Roger. Very helpful thoughts.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 08-01-2018 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 08-02-2018, 07:32 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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I suppose you can read the sonnet as saying that he was weeping guilty tears because he realized that he was responsible for causing her death by tree, and maybe he regretted it? After all, in L9 he is directly held responsible for causing the "daño" -- a word you translate more forgivingly as "upheaval" -- and there's no blaming Daphne for having rejected his advances.
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Old 08-02-2018, 08:49 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Julie, I don't know the Spanish, so it is hard for me to propose alternatives, but your translation does sound convoluted and is adding ideas that don't seem to be in the original. For instance, why say that Daphne's feet are "clean" when they are thrusting into the dirt? I can see that they are white because her skin is white, but "clean" seems bizarre in the context. In your place I would not replicate the rhyme scheme exactly but would probably turn to an equivalent pattern (perhaps ABBA CDDC) that would allow me to stay closer to the meaning of the original. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to translation, but like Roger I hate to see a lot of padding, using a lot of synonyms for what is one word in the original, and I think the overtones may be straying too far from the original (as when "damage" is turned into "upheaval").

Susan
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Old 08-05-2018, 07:27 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Draft Two posted above. Thanks for your thoughts, Andrew, Roger, and Susan.

Andrew:
I tried a different approach to "ya," and have my fingers crossed that it will be more successful. Your thoughts (and Roger's) on moving "Daphne" closer to the beginning of the poem, in part by making "ya" more abrupt, made me think about the way that Daphne disappears from the Spanish after she's named. It's a bit harder to get that effect in English, due to Spanish's habitual avoidance of personal pronouns for body parts: the legs, the hairs, the legs, the feet. Basically, after her name, she's gone from the original, until the "la" appended to the infinitive "llorar" in L13. [Edited to say: Actually, I think that the "la" in "llorarla" refers to "la causa y la razón," "the cause and the reason," rather than Daphne, but there's ambiguity there.] I have to consciously avoid "her" in order to erase Daphne from the English.

Rogerbob:
I've thought more about your comments, too, especially about my treatment of that troublesome "escurecían," my downgrading of "daño" to "upheaval," and the need to use simpler vocabulary and syntax throughout.

Susan:
Thanks for your reinforcement of Roger's points, and for nudging me to loosen up the rhyme at least a little. I'm still clinging to the ABBA ABBA, but you've pried my fingers loose enough to use consonantal rhymes between the two quatrains' Bs.

All:
Because the original ends each line of the octave with verbs in an iterative, continuous past tense ("imperfect," in the sense of incomplete), I think it's important to keep that participial business going on, even at the price of some intrusive em-dashes here and there. And yes, I admit that there's still some unavoidable padding. I'm much happier with the new version, though, and I'm glad for your help in seeing what needed to change. Thanks!

[Ugh, now suddenly I hate L2 again. Time to break for dinner.]


Draft Three now posted above.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 08-06-2018 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:50 PM
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Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
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I think this is quite a decent attempt over all.

A few thoughts and suggestions -

"In the midst of" feels too much like filler. I wonder if something along the lines of "Already Daphne's arms...." can be used. "Immediately" and "in the midst of" are too syllably and don't seem as appropriate in meaning.

"Far-ranging" doesn't seem to go with "arms" or "branches" very well. I've never heard anyone say an arm or branch "ranges". And why would being long (instead of short) be proof that they are now branches? . This feels somewhat like more unnecessary filler.

I don't think the -ing-word rhyming is doing the English version a favour. Along with "far-ranging", "gold's glowing" is awkward/abnormal, as we don't as idiom refer to "gold's glowing", or to gold as glowing (it shines or glitters or glisters, rather than "glows"). It is also redundant because it is a given that gold shines, and the verb "outshone" naturally implies that what it outshone also shines. Likewise for bark "flowing". How can bark really flow, rather than grow or cover something? Roger Slater's idea for the first stanza I think is quite good. Forget about the "-ing" words and use good English instead.

"Mutilation" (From Latin mutilare to cut off) sounds a bit too violent to me. The "damage/harm" here is more in the extent and irreversibility of the transformation, isn't it, rather than being along the lines of physically dismembered and physically wounded? Maybe "The author of this tragic transformation" may be better?


No need for "he" in line 10. Since you use "grieved" in the next stanza, consider perhaps "saddened/sorrowed" here. Also, I think the comma after "grow" can be done away with:

"so saddened, forced this tree to grow by way
of all the tears that it was watered by."

The last stanza is very good. The only thing that may be a bit of an issue is "make to grow", as we usually don't say "make "something to grow", rather than "make something grow" (no "to") .

.

Last edited by Kevin Rainbow; 08-06-2018 at 06:04 PM.
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