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Author Topic: Carols  (Read 45730 times)

David

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Carols
« on: February 08, 2016, 07:55:32 PM »



Listening to carols over Christmas I thought it would be nice to sing along in old English. Therefore I translated “Silent Night” into old English. Please post corrections. Now I have started to translate  “O Holy Night”. This is a bit longer so I shall probably post it verse by verse. Do join in with other carols.

Silent Night                                                                Still Night

Silent night, holy night                                               Still niht, hāliġ niht
All is calm, all is bright                                                Eall is smylte, eall is beorht
Round yon virgin, mother and child                            Ymbe ġeonre mægþ, mēder and ċilde
Holy infant, tender and mild                                        Hāliġ lȳtling, hnesce and milde
Sleep in heavenly peace                                              Slǣp in heofoniscum friðe
Sleep in heavenly peace                                              Slǣp in heofoniscum friðe
 
Silent night, holy night                                               Still niht, hāliġ niht
Son of God, love’s pure light                                      Goding, lufe clǣne lēoht
Radient beams from thy holy face                               Torhte bēamas of þīnum hālgan ansīene
With the dawn of redeeming grace                              Mid þǣm uhte alīesednesse lisse
Jesus, Lord at thy birth                                               Iesus,dryhten æt þīnum ġebyrde
Jesus, Lord at thy birth                                               Iesus,dryhten æt þīnum ġebyrde
 
Silent night, holy night                                                Still niht, hāliġ niht
Shepherd’s quake at the sight                                     Hierdras cwaciaþ æt ġesihte
Glories stream from heaven above                               Wuldor iernaþ of heofone ofer
Heavenly host sing hallelujah                                       Heofonliċ gaderung singþ hallelūiā
Christ the savior is born                                              Crist se hǣlend wæcnaþ
Christ the savior is born                                              Crist se hǣlend wæcnaþ
 
 

In line 3 I took ġeonre to apply to mægþ, but not to mēder and ċilde. I took ymbe to apply to everything in line 3 but nothing in line 4. What do you think?
In the last verse I have no idea how to write hallejulah in old English so I just made a guess. Please correct me.
With the extra syllables it can be difficult to fit the old English to the tune. So in the first verse I had to run together ymbe ġeonre and run together -foniscum friðe.
 
« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 08:05:53 PM by David »

Horsa

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Re: Carols
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2016, 07:02:44 PM »
I looked up the word still in the B&T. I would have been very wary of using this word as it is in the German version of the song, and I'm nervous of false friends that stretch across the germanic languages. Anyway, the B&T gave stille as the adjective rather than still. But more importantly, one of the meanings given is indeed 'silent', so I learnt something and I'm only one word in.

Bowerthane

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Re: Carols
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2016, 02:12:23 PM »
Ooh, thanks David that was delicious!

I can do nothing to critique your treatment of the material, which is ahead of my abilities grammatically, unless to endorse your decisions.

It seems clear to me that “Silent night, holy night/ All is calm, all is bright/ Round yon virgin, mother and child” are functionally a sentence, in that they develop and complete only one thought, whereas “Holy infant, tender and mild/ Sleep in heavenly peace” etc. amount to another, grammatically separate sentence/ thought.  Ergo “sleep in heavenly peace” is the predicate/ verb and object of which “Holy infant, tender and mild” is the subject, so nothing that goes on before “Holy” has any bearing on it.  Or at any rate you are within your syntactical rights so to treat it!

I’m sure hallelūiā is as good a way of spelling it as any too, though left to my own devices I’d’ve plumped for halelúġa.  Only the Old English may use double S for Z and double F for V ( and doesn’t Northumbrian or something use double U, literally UU, for our W-sound?) all of which gives me the willies about using any double letters for fear they may have had some phonetic significance for our ancestors. 

( That, and because one of my ‘ten commandments’ when translating is to minimize any risk of ambiguity, all other things being equal.  Unequal considerations could include an ambiguity that is integral to an attempt at artistic effect, or if it is in character for a certain speaker to waffle, use broken English, work in IT or they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, mental illness, Hegelian metaphysics, Postmodernism, French existentialism and just about any career politician since about 1965, onwards.)


« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 02:25:50 PM by Bowerthane »

David

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Re: Carols
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2016, 11:40:33 AM »



Thank you Horsa and Bowerthane for your comments which I have taken on board. I did originally write “stille” but when I came back to it I thought “I want the adjective not the adverb”. Of course for “stille” they both have the “e”. I would normally use “ġ” rather than “i” for the consonant “y” as I try to use the 10th century West Saxon if I know what that is. However most of the religious work I have seen has been Anglian. I think I might use Bowerthane’s suggestion. When we think we have written something in good Old English it is probably a mishmash of time periods and dialects.
 
I will wait a couple of days to see if there are any more comments on “Silent Night” then I will post the first verse of “O Holy Night”

Æðelstān

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Re: Carols
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2016, 04:05:04 PM »
Going back to what Bowerthane said about the Uu in place of W, I've seen it in Old Saxon and Old High German for Woden (Uuöden and Uuodan) but I'm not sure about Northumbrian

David

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Re: Carols
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2016, 04:38:51 PM »



I thought that it was common to use "u" or "uu" for "w" in Northumbrian.

David

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Re: Carols
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2016, 08:40:36 PM »



I was rather hoping for more comments on “Silent Night” and that some-one would join in with another carol. Anyway this is my attempt at verse 1 of “O Holy Night”. Later I will post the other verses. After that I wondered about “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
 
O Holy Night                                                                Lā Hāliġ Niht

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,               Lā Hāliġ Niht! Þā steorran beorhte scīnaþ
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.                    Hit is sēo niht þæs lēofan Hælendes byrde
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.                   Lange liþ eorþe in gylte and dwilde weorþaþ.
Till he appeared and the spirit felt its worth.                Oð hē cōm and se gāst onġeat his weorð.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,                     Yð tōhopan se wēriġ weoruld blissaþ
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.               For ġeond niwe and wuldorful morgen bricð
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!            Feall on þīn cnēo! Lā, hīer þāra engla drēamas!
O night divine, the night when christ was born;          Lā niht godcund, sēo niht þe crist awōc:
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!                         Lā niht, Lā Hāliġ Niht, Lā niht godcund!
 
 
« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 08:42:30 PM by David »

Bowerthane

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Re: Carols
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2016, 01:37:22 PM »

________________________________________________
I was rather hoping for more comments on “Silent Night”
________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________
[ O]ne of the meanings given is indeed 'silent', so I learnt something...
__________________________________________________________



Funny thing Horsa but lately I, too, stumbled upon that overlap between the meanings of the Old English and Modern German word stille.  Many years ago I ordered a copy of Der Herr der Ringe, The Lord of the Rings in German, from a bookshop um meines Deutsche zu üben*.  Only I noticed you get lines like: Es trat Stille ein, und aller Augen wandten sich Frodo zu. for “There was a hush, and all turned their eyes on Frodo” and »Stille!« sagt Gandalf. »Die Botschaft von diesem Unglück hätte zuerst dem Vater überbracht werden sollen.« for “‘Peace!’ said Gandalf. ‘The news of that grief should have been told first to the father.’”
   All of which reminded me of the version of the Christmas Day truce of 1915 I’m most familiar with: that it began when our Tommies heard the Germans singing Stille Nacht and, after giving them a round of applause and singing a carol back, a German chap popped over with a flag of truce and an invitation to share a bottle of schnapps, and matters developed therefrom.
   Then, only last year, at the beginning of an excerpt from The Lord of the Rings I’m still using to practise my Old English, I find that, “Quiet,” said Frodo. “I think I hear hooves again.” works out ( so far!) as: ‘Stille!’  cwæþ Frodo. ‘Iċ  þence iċ  híere hófas  ongéan.’ ( Though in this instance the German has »Pst!« machte Frodo. »Ich glaube, ich höre wieder Hufe.« I notice). Even more erroneous may be a line from chapter ten of Great Expectations I’m also practising on, where Pip/ the I-narrator says of Miss Havisham: iċ ræswode héo wæs ġíet sprecende tó hiere selfe, and hielt stille which may one day mean I thought she was still talking to herself, and kept quiet

All of which makes me wonder, since Ædmund is clearly fluent in both English and German, whether he sees twice as much familiarity when reading Old English than a fluent speaker of only one germanic language?  My German is good enough to see that sind is ‘are’ in both languages, and clearly Old English ġesund for ‘uninjured, in good condition, sound in health’ and Modern German gesund for ‘healthy, in good health, sound ( in wind and limb)’ and colloquially ‘well’ are related, that Modern German Kraft may mean ‘power’ much as Old English cræft also may, and of course there’s many others.** 

At the risk of straying back to Silent Night, however, I wonder if you, David, were aware just how free the Modern English translation gets, in places? Only if you want to make an Old English rendition work better, you could always pinch what you like from the German wording and defend this on the grounds that you are being more faithful to the original. This is the version Wiki has:

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
 Alles schläft; einsam wacht
 Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
 Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
 Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
 Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
 
 Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
 Hirten erst kundgemacht
 Durch der Engel Halleluja,
 Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
 Christ, der Retter ist da!
 Christ, der Retter ist da!
 
 Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
 Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
 Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
 Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’.
 Christ, in deiner Geburt!
 Christ, in deiner Geburt!


Joseph Mohr, 1818. Our current translation was first published in 1859 in New York, it says.




* So now I can just walk into any clothing store in the German-speaking world and ask Wo ist der Elbenpanzer, bitte?, or saunter into an Elvish takeaway deep in the Black Forest and order Dreimal Lembas und ein Trinkhorn Miruvor, los! and then their kids’ll come out and... look at me.  Just like the real thing. 

** Another little curiosity of mine is whether, since English and Icelandic are the only two germanic languages still using the sound ‘eth’, whether we who speak them sound in any way old-fashioned to native speakers of continental germanic languages.  When we come out with things like “this thistle is thinner than that thistle” do we sound like something strayed from the far side of the Nibelungenglied? Or do academic linguists in Germany hear some ‘blast from the past’ when we open our ething mouths?  Or not, Ædmund?

« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 02:51:11 PM by Bowerthane »

Phyllis

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Re: Carols
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2016, 02:57:16 PM »
Oh these are wonderful! I agree that it might be useful to take the translation from the original German as the English is a little free in places.

I also thought "uu" was used in Northumbrian based on eg the Northumbrian version of Caedmon's Hymn?

I am only just catching up with Gegaderung after another of my hiatuses (hiati? hiatopodes? excuse me) following starting a new job. 
Phyllis

David

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Re: Carols
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2016, 05:51:34 PM »

I think it is a wonderful idea to have an old Engish translation of Silent Night from the original German version as well as one from the modern English version.  I’ll leave Stille Niht for that and change my version to Swīge Niht.

I believe that O Holy Night was originally French so maybe we could also have a translation from that version.

David

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Re: Carols
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2016, 04:03:27 PM »



I have now added a second verse to O Holy Night – please comment.
I changed the last word in line 6 from bricð to þurbricð. It seemed more appropriate although I could have done without the extra syllable.
 
O Holy Night                                                               Lā Hāliġ Niht

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,             Lā Hāliġ Niht! Þā steorran beorhte scīnaþ
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.                  Hit is sēo niht þæs lēofan Hælendes byrde
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.                 Lange liþ eorþe in gylte and dwilde weorþaþ.
Till he appeared and the spirit felt its worth.              Oð hē cōm and se gāst onġeat his weorð.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,                   Yð tōhopan se wēriġ weoruld blissaþ
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.             For ġeond niwe and wuldorful morgen þurbricð
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!           Feall on þīn cnēo! Lā, hīer þāra engla drēamas!
O night divine, the night when christ was born;        Lā niht godcund, sēo niht þe crist awōc:
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!                       Lā niht, Lā Hāliġ Niht, Lā niht godcund!
 
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,                 Þæt  lēorht ġelēafan lǣdde smolte beamaþ,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.              Mid glōwendum heortum wē standaþ be His cradole.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,                  Ofer þǣre eorþe steorra swētlīċe glisnaþ,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.  Nū cumaþ þā witan of ūt þǣm Ēastum  lande.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;                   Se Cyning cyninga swā lege hēanliċum binne;
In all our trials born to be our friend.                         In ealle ūre earfoðe awōc ūre frēond tō bēonne.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,     Hē cnāweþ ūre nīed, ūre lēwsa is nā uncūða,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!                 Lōc nū ēower cyning! Ǣtforan Him bugaþ hēanlīċe!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!                 Lōc nū ēower cyning! Ǣtforan Him bugaþ hēanlīċe!

Bowerthane

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Re: Carols
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2016, 02:01:04 PM »
Any special reason for Þā steorran beorhte scīnaþ rather than Þā steorran sind beorhte scīnende, David?  I wonder what your thinking is when faced with a choice between conventional Old English and strict fidelity to the original?



David

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Re: Carols
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2016, 07:04:48 PM »
Any special reason for Þā steorran beorhte scīnaþ rather than Þā steorran sind beorhte scīnende, David?  I wonder what your thinking is when faced with a choice between conventional Old English and strict fidelity to the original?


Bowerthane, it is good to hear from you. I have no objection to your alternative. However, as you suggest, I think that my version is more natural old English so I would be looking for an advantage to change. My version has the advantages of fewer syllables so fits the tune easier, also the rhyming matches the modern English.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 05:05:13 PM by David »

David

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Re: Carols
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2016, 04:57:11 PM »



I have now finished translating all three verses of “O Holy Night”
 
O Holy Night                                                                Lā Hāliġ Niht

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,               Lā Hāliġ Niht! Þā steorran beorhte scīnaþ
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.                    Hit is sēo niht þæs lēofan Hælendes byrde
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.                  Lange liþ eorþe in gylte and dwilde weorþaþ.
Till he appeared and the spirit felt its worth.               Oð hē cōm and se gāst onġeat his weorð.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,                    Yð tōhopan se wēriġ weoruld blissaþ
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.              For ġeond niwe and wuldorful morgen þurbricð
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!            Feall on þīn cnēo! Lā, hīer þāra engla drēamas!
O night divine, the night when christ was born;          Lā niht godcund, sēo niht þe crist awōc:
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!                         Lā niht, Lā Hāliġ Niht, Lā niht godcund!
 
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,                  Þæt  lēorht ġelēafan lǣdde smolte beamaþ,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.               Mid glōwendum heortum wē standaþ be His cradole.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,                   Ofer þǣre eorþe steorra swētlīċe glisnaþ,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.   Nū cumaþ þā witan of ūt þǣm Ēastum  lande.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;                    Se Cyning cyninga swā lege hēanliċum binne;
In all our trials born to be our friend.                           In ealle ūre earfoðe awōc ūre frēond tō bēonne.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,       Hē cnāweþ ūre nīed, ūre lēwsa is nā uncūða,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!                   Lōc nū ēower cyning! Ǣtforan Him bugaþ hēanlīċe!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!                   Lōc nū ēower cyning! Ǣtforan Him bugaþ hēanlīċe!
 
Truly he taught us to love one another,                       Soþlīċe Hē ūs lǣrde lufian ælc ōþer.
His law is love and His gospel is peace.                        His lagu bið lufu and His godspel bið frið.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother,       Racentan Hē bryhð, forðǣm se þēow is ūre brōþor,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.                  And in his naman eall oferfrēċednes āswāmaþ.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,           Swēte ymenas drēames in þancfulum wynwerode hēaþ wē,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.                 Mid eallum ūrum heortum wē heraþ His hāliġne naman.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,               Crist is se Dryhten! Þon ā, ǣfter lofiaþ wē,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!                      His miht and wuldor ā māra ġebēodaþ!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!                      His miht and wuldor ā māra ġebēodaþ!
 
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 05:05:38 PM by David »

Bowerthane

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Re: Carols
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2016, 02:31:11 PM »
____________________________________________
Before him lowly bend! = Ǣtforan Him bugaþ hēanlīċe!
_____________________________________________
________________________________
[F]ewer syllables so fits the tune easier
________________________________


How’s this for irony?  When I’m translating lyrics I don’t aim for singability.  Long ago I decided that making lyrics actually singable was beyond my ability and I’d better stick to Getting The Meaning Right until I improved.  You’ll notice I took no account of syllables or stress in my rendition of the Hymn to Elbereth that I posted on the ‘folk rock’ thread, though I’m under the impression Professor Tolkien penned it as a metrically correct hymn, viz, it fits the Classical verse form and you could sing that in church, too.  The very first translation into Old English I ever attempted was some of Kate Bush’s lyrics in my teens, and I still practise using those and The Lord of the Rings on account of my lifelong battle with my poor memory.  I know all Kate’s lyrics by heart and, when reading The Lord of the Rings auf Deutsche, I rarely have to look up words I don’t know* because I can guess from memory!  Yet for the same reason, whenever I get a clear run at ‘improving’ my Old English, I spend most of my time relearning and reminding myself of most of what I forgot since last time, so overall improvement over the years has been incremental.

However [ insert emoticon for long, nervous cough here] if there’s one thing I’m tolerably certain of in this uncertain world, it’s that for on its own in Old English can and did mean ‘spatially before, in front of’ ( if not often) so, if it’s syllables you’re worried about, then For Him bugaþ hēanlīċe! ought to be quite sufficient.

Now that I make myself check, I notice that whilst my trusty old The Student’s Dictionary of Anglo-Saxon by Henry Sweet definitely lists for under that meaning, and gives the examples for eaxlum stód þǽs cyninges and weorþode híe for ealle menn, he adds in italics “These meanings are not W. [ = West Saxon]; they are probably the result of transliterating A. [ = Anglian] fore into for.

However, in that Old English Syntax ( ISBN 0-19-811935-6, Clarendon 1985) by Bruce Mitchell that by some minor miracle I’ve still got out on the long loan, he says “On for = ‘before’ ( temporal) in Gregory’s Dialogues see Timmer 1934, pp. 52-3. OED ( s.v. for) remarks that ‘in OE. for and fore seem to have been used indiscriminately as preps.’ And Wülfing ( ii. 339 and 354) observes that, while fore is less frequent than for in ‘Alfredian texts’ it does not differ from it in meaning or use...  One tendency, however, should be noted: a general preference for for immediately before its case and the use of fore in other positions.  Belden ( p. 61) puts it thus:

For and fore, distinct in Gothic.. are confused in Ags., especially in Bede. In the other texts read for this work [ Alfred’s Pastoral Care, Orosius, the Chronicles, Ælfric’s Homily and Grammar], though distinction of meaning is not firmly held to, there is a distinction in syntactical function: for is the preferred form, in most categories, for the preposition proper, immediately preceding its case, while fore is always used when the particle is removed from its case and more closely united with the verb.”       

In other words it looks like an adverb when it functions like an adverb. Otherwise it’s a preposition whose shades of meaning include the ‘spatially before, in front of’ one, albeit seldom.  For neither Mitchell nor any other authority he quotes says anything about this knock-off-from-Anglian business Sweet seemed to think important; and since I’ve noticed nothing in my 1987-impression Sweet to suggest it has undergone any significant revision since the 1896 first edition, whereas Old English Syntax was first published in 1985 ( which by Anglo-Saxon-scholarship standards must make it our answer to the discovery of cosmic gravitational waves, or at least the Human Genome Project) I’d be tempted to quietly ignore Sweet and use for in the requisite sense, if yer bleedin’ well feel like it.

Also, I can’t help but notice that Sweet also lists for in the sense ‘in the sight of, as regards’ and gives the exemplars ríce for worulde and módigode for his fæġernesse which can cover somewhat similar conceptual ground and, in your context, any ambiguity would only be to your advantage.  Then there’s foran too, it says here.

Likewise, what say you to *niþerbugaþ so as to prune two syllables off bugaþ hēanlīċe? Sweet gives a niþerbogen as ‘bent down’ which looks like the past participle of that very verb, and there’s at least half a dozen verbs built on that pattern.  It’s hardly your fault if some village idiot misses the intention of For Him niþerbugaþ!

Or have I gone wrong again?

One other thing: are you familiar with the book Is that a Fish in your Ear? by David Bellos? Only that sheds light on how professional translators do things. They are unanimous that the old saying that poetry is “that which is lost in translation” is a myth.  They can translate Alexander Pope into the style of France Prešere and vice versa, seemingly.  More to the point, though, if memory serves no professional translator attempts too strict a word-for-word translation because they know that, in one way or another, the grammar, syntactical conventions and idioms of the target language are forever hatching little conspiracies against that.  What they aim for is an authentic ‘feel’.  This is why the fact that for is “the most common preposition in Old English to express cause or reason” is the kind of thing I take mental ( and frantic ink) notes of, since  Old English Syntax is due back on the tenth and I haven’t a clue how I got away with renewing it, last time.  It’s the British Library that wants it back!


* If you, like I, are interested in how the translators handled the word “dwimmorlaik”, since Professor Tolkien was drawing upon his professional knowledge rather than the OED, then Dernhelm’s dialogue runs: «Fort mit dir, du abscheuliches Geistergeschöpf, Herr über Leichen! Laß die Toten in Frieden!».  Granted that the “dwimmor-” is from Old English dwimor for ‘spectre; illusion, delusion’ and the “-laik” is most likely a variety of Old English líc, which is poetically ‘living body’ but otherwise ‘corpse’ ( if memory serves this survives in “lychgate”, through which one enters a graveyard) then it looks as if the translators, Margaret Carroux and E-M von Freymann, were earning their money.







« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 02:54:51 PM by Bowerthane »