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Main  ::  Translations - all  ::  Mistake in the translation of Carmen 66 (Carmen 66)

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AuthorMessage
Guest
Posted on Sun Nov 23, 2008 22:45:26  
I think that the translation of lines 77-78

… of my mistress,
the one with whom I drank many thousands of unguents, while
she was a young girl formerly devoid of all perfumes.

of

quicum ego, dum uirgo quondam fuit omnibus expers
unguentis, una milia multa bibi.

is wrong.

The sequence of words in Latin is arbitrary (as in Russian poetry). I think that the ‚Äútraditional‚ÄĚ sequence of words in the Latin text would be as follows:

quicum ego, omnibus expers unguentis, dum uirgo quondam fuit una milia multa bibi.
(“Now I am devoid of all unguents, but when I was a virgin, I drank thousands of them).

Otherwise the poem would have no poetical sense. The Berenice’s hair asks young ladies to pour some perfumes in her honor, because at present she is missing such perfumes and she is accustomed to them. If she were not accustomed to them, she would not miss them. And her mistress has cut her hair immediately after her marriage. It means that the hair could be accustomed to thousands of perfumes only during the period of virginity of her mistress.

Olga (Russia)


zbrg
Posted at Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:44:51  Quote
Well thank the gods for a useful translation of 66. I was relying on a Penguin book of translations by Peter Wigham but his translation is hopeless. The literal translation here is helpful.  However it confirms my suspicion that 66 stinks. It could be a good translation of Callimachus. But it's a bad poem.
 


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