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Author Topic: Terry Herbert, Why Do We Love Him?  (Read 387 times)


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Terry Herbert, Why Do We Love Him?
« on: February 26, 2022, 12:35:55 AM »

The other day I had my old National Geographic documentary DVD on again that includes Saxon Gold: Finding the Hoard and Saxon Gold: Secrets of  Saxon Gold to keep myself company whilst working.  This features Terry Herbert and it reminded of that little rhyme he had developed the habit of saying to himself, when all switched on and ready to begin metal detectoring, Spirits of yesteryear, take me where the coins appear to say nothing of the variant that, seemingly on a whimsy, he said to himself on the day he discovered the Staffordshire Hoard: Spirits of yesteryear, take me where the gold appears.
It occurred to me that an Old English translation of the latter might make for a piquant inscription upon Old English-style or reproduction jewellery.  So far, my best efforts run like this:


gāstas ġiestreġēarum ānimaþ mē hwær þæt gold īewþ
 gāstas ġiestreġēarum feriaþ mē hwær þæt gold ætīaþ
 gāstas ġiestreġēarum ānimen mē hwær þæt gold īewen
 gāstas ġiestreġēarum ferien mē hwær þæt gold ætīen

Only as you see, suspect though I do that the take is a wish rather than a command, I can’t be quite sure about that so I wonder what other ġesīþas have to say?  Also whether you can think of any special reason for favouring īewan over ætīan or vice versa?  Also do you think the main verb should come first, anyone?  Maybe:


  ānimen mē hwær þæt gold īewen, gāstas ġiestreġēarum


Yet it also occurred to me that a ġesīþa or two may actually know Mr Herbert, or can readily contact him, to see if he has any opinion/ preference/ patience with the matter?  For that reason and because, to the best of my not-a-legal-professional understanding, there may be a copyright quibble.  Even newspaper headlines and titles* may attract copyright litigation if the holder and court considers them original enough and not ( as I’m sure an older rule or practice used to be) when more than eleven words are used. Believe it or not but I have proofread poems as short as that, ergo claims of whose original idea it was may arise.  Spirits of yesteryear, take me where the gold appears has nine words so, if Mr Herbert considers it an original composition and hes that bothered it could be his copyright.
Translations, if anyones wondering, are a variety of derivative work and fall under the author’s copyright, just the same as the original.   
Granted we can agree upon an optimal wording, Id suggest I or somebody simply email that, with the suggestion, to makers of Old English-style jewellery unless, of course, ġesīþas have better suggestions.  Does anyone know any such jeweller? 
*Yet not names, that I’m aware of, unless they are registered brand names or trade marks.  Tolkien aficionados may recall how exasperated Professor Tolkien was by houses named Rivendell and the like, and horrified by a hydrofoil named Shadowfax. How Terry Brooks avoids being sued black and blue by his estate, however, beats the tar out of me.

 The moral right of the author to identify Vladimir Putin as humanitys most wanted war criminal has been asserted.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2022, 12:51:20 AM by Bowerthane »


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Re: Terry Herbert, Why Do We Love Him?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2022, 12:17:26 PM »
I like it.
For the imperative it is probably better to have the verb first with the things you are addressing at the end, but not for the subjunctive.
I think that you want hwider rather than hwǣr.


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Re: Terry Herbert, Why Do We Love Him?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2022, 01:35:15 PM »
any thoughts on using lædan for the "take"?

This business about imperative and subjunctive does feel like a personal choice / intention although I think "God save the Queen/King/monarch of your choosing" is generally considered a command - which I think is cheeky in terms of addressing the Almighty, but perhaps that's just me



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Re: Terry Herbert, Why Do We Love Him?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2022, 11:53:18 PM »

Golly, doesn’t a week feel like a long time these days?  ::)
You are quite right Phyllis and David.  Can’t think why I overlooked læden which, now I’ve reminded myself of its full range of meanings, obeys the KISS principle ( = Keep It Simple, Stupid) that I thought I had mastered when translating, better.  So thus far :P  we’re looking at... 

gāstas ġiestreġēarum lædmē hwider þæt gold īewþ
gāstas ġiestreġēarum lædan mē hwider þæt gold ætīaþ

I can't seen to get an umlaut over the ash there, for no good reason, but it's there in spirit.
I wish we could fudge the puzzle as to whether it should be imperative or subjunctive!

Speaking of putting the verb first, though, what if I were to suggest that that’s what Mr Herbert would have done, had he intended to command anyone?   Yet he didn’t say Take me to where the gold/ coins appear/s, spirits of yesteryear, did he? What if I were to suggest that he invoked the spirits of yesteryear, but issued them with no command explicit enough to justify using the imperative?
And has anyone any preference for īewan, ætīan or something better? 
The moral right of the author to be identified keeping people’s minds off the risk of nuclear war has been asserted.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2022, 12:07:42 AM by Bowerthane »