Friday, July 01, 2011

Ancient Hebrew Poetry Pt 5

Here is Psalm 77: 4-6 in Pagnini's translation and Jerome's translation from the Hebrew.

Recordabar Dei, & tumultuabar: loquebar, & angustiis afficiebatur spiritus meus. Selah.

recordans Dei conturbabar

loquebar in memet ipso et deficiebat spiritus meus.

אֶזְכְּרָה אֱלֹהִים וְאֶהֱמָיָה; אָשִׂיחָה, וְתִתְעַטֵּף רוּחִי סֶלָה.

Tenuisti vigilias oculorum meorum: contritus sum, nec loqui potui.

prohibebam suspectum oculorum meorum stupebam et non loquebar

אָחַזְתָּ, שְׁמֻרוֹת עֵינָי; נִפְעַמְתִּי, וְלֹא אֲדַבֵּר.

Tunc supputavi dies qui fuerunt a principio, annos seculorum.

recogitabam dies antiquos annos pristinos

חִשַּׁבְתִּי יָמִים מִקֶּדֶם-- שְׁנוֹת, עוֹלָמִים.

Here is this passage in the King James Version,
3I remembered God, and was troubled:
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
Thou holdest mine eyes waking:
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I have considered the days of old,
the years of ancient times.
In comparison to Jerome's translation, Pagnini has retained more of the parataxis, that is the use of "and" or "&" rather than using subordinate clauses. Pagnini also kept the "selah" and stays closer to the Hebrew for holding the eyes awake, or "on watch."

In verse 5, he struggles with Hebrew expressions which he interprets as "from the beginning" and "of eternity."


Bob MacDonald said...

you might want to add the first two words in the Hebrew to verse 4 אֶזְכְּרָה אֱלֹהִים

My Hebrew Latin concordance by Dr Solomon Mandelkern is fun to look at to scare me into other English thoughts of a Latinate variety. meminisse, recordarim reminisci, metitare, memorare is what it gives for zkr.

Suzanne said...

Thanks, Bob. I had some trouble formatting and lost this and that. I hope to redo the post this evening.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Whew. That looks better.

Bob MacDonald said...

It is fascinating to see how variable and therefore personally expressive Latin was 600 years ago. My sense of this passage is here. I treat this psalm as a preparation for psalm 78.

I remember God and I growl
I ponder and my spirit is disabled
you have held my watching eyes
I am beaten down and I will not speak
I have reckoned the days of old
the years of the ages past

I am more inclined to Jerome's terseness, but I also tend to follow the lead of every letter

If you have time, I find myself wondering what these two translators did with verse 13 וּבַעֲלִילוֹתֶיךָ אָשִׂיחָה? - especially the word I have rendered prodigality
and in your prodigality I ponder

see this post for all the verses using this word in the psalms. As I said there re wantonness and prodigality (both rendering this Hebrew word): If indeed we are to want nothing, then wantonness is a prodigality to be avoided, but the prodigality of God is a wantonness to be sought.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Predictable - just like the KJV.

Meditabor in omni opere tuo J

Meditabar in omnibus operibus tuis P

You say that you prefer J's terseness but you have followed the parataxis in P. P is on the left and he uses parataxis consistently. However he does add words in verse 6 to get the notion of "from the beginning." I am not sure that is the most literal, but he seemed to have an idea about how to translate these multivalent words, like קֶּדֶם qedem and עוֹלָמִים olam.

Bob MacDonald said...

Thanks for the quotes - I see I have sung these words - I would never have heard the connections from the Latin that I found myself considering in the Hebrew. Do I mislead myself with these connections? No - but I may be come incomprehensible to others. Too terse.

I got a real kick out of reading the comments on the recent BBB post. You do well - keep it up. Don't be discouraged.

Parataxis is a new word to me - yes, I do it, I tend to coordinate rather than subordinate clauses.

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the encouragement. i don't really keep up. But one can learn lots of new words if you hang out on the BBB.

Parataxis - arrangement beside, coordinating

Hypotaxis - arrangement under, subordinating

One is egalitarian and the other - oh well.