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A melody has to catch the ear. A lilt is an up and down movement that has to be asymmetrical or surprising in some way. It can go up, and ...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

From the Middle Ages to the 19th Century

The idea of translation during a long period of time was to translate verse metrically, and to make the translation just about as good as a poem written originally in English.  This ideal held from the Middle Ages to the 19th century

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Ya por la ciudad de Burgos el Cid Ruy Díaz entró.
Sesenta pendones lleva detrás el Campeador.
Todos salían a verle, niño, mujer y varón,
a las ventanas de Burgos mucha gente se asomó.
¡Cuántos ojos que lloraban de grande que era el dolor!
Y de los labios de todos sale la misma razón:
“¡Qué buen vasallo sería si tuviese buen señor!”

We can take 12th century text in Spanish, and it is completely intelligible today, albeit with modernize spelling.   I only had to look up one word, pendones.  

Chaucer, two centuries later, is harder: 

Almighty and al merciable queene
To whom that al this world fleeth for socour,
To have relees of sinne, of sorwe, and teene,
Glorious virgine, of alle floures flour,
To thee I flee, confounded in errour.
Help and releeve, thou mighti debonayre,
Have mercy on my perilous langour.
Venquisshed me hath my cruel adversaire.



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