Thursday, 11 February 2016

Poetry And Science Fiction

Mercatores tui auroram mari persequntur.

How often do poetry and sf interact?

James Elroy Flecker wrote a speculative poem about the future. See here.

Poul Anderson, Neil Gaiman, SM Stirling and Michael Scott Rohan quote Flecker.

Until David Birr pointed it out, I had completely overlooked Anderson's character, David Falkayn, quoting the same line from Flecker that concludes Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers:

"He murmured, as best he could in Latin, 'Thy merchants chase the morning down the sea...'"
-Poul Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (New York, 2009), p. 314.

But what is the Latin translation? This post begins with my attempt. Brian from our Latin class suggests:

tui mercatores mane ad ipse mare persequuntur.

Addendum: Andrew, our Latin Tutor, says:

mercatores meridiem trans mare persequuntur.

Later: We have established that "meridies" is "midday," not "morning."

Two days later: Mercatores mane trans mare... gives us alliteration but "aurora" is a poetic word for morning. In my first attempt at translation, I miss-spelt the verb and got the ablative case of mare wrong.

8 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Iow, David Falkayn was using League Latin into which he translated the line from Flecker. Interesting, how Anderson had Latin being revived by the Polesotechnic League to use as a lingua franca.

    I can see the need of a single language being used as a Common Speech by an interstellar organization having many human and non human members using a wide variety of tongues. But why Latin instead of Anglic? Wouldn't Anglic already be far more widely known than Latin?

    Sean

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  2. Sean,
    Esperanto is much simpler. Harry Harrison bought me a drink for addressing him in Esperanto at a Con.
    Paul.

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    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Amusing, you and Harry Harrison using Esperanto! The problem for Esperanto, of course, is how it has never WIDELY caught on among more than a few small circles.

      And, of course, Anderson made it plain that the Anglic used in his Technic History is not the same as our English. Rather, it's a later form of English, one which was different enough that Dominic Flandry mentioned to Aycharaych having read Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem "A Musical Instrument" in TRANSLATION.

      Sean

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  3. Sean,

    I think that Esperanto or an equivalent will be adopted when there is real international cooperation. Schools will teach a universal second language so that everyone will be able to communicate.

    Recently, I saw someone wearing the green star. I managed, "Cu vi parolas Esperanton?" (Do you speak Esperanto?) He replied, "Jes, jes, flue. Kaj vi?" (Yes, yes, fluently. And you?) I could only respond, "Ne, ne flue." (No, not fluently.)

    Paulo.

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    1. Kaor, Paul!

      I am EXTREMELY skeptical we will ever see anything what you call "real international cooperation. Let alone schools teaching Esperanto on a mass basis!

      Far more likely, some Napoleon type will eventually arise and conquer the entire world into one realm. And the universal language that will be favored will be English, Chinese, Russian, or even (Heaven forbid!) Arabic. And we had better hope this Napoleon will be a half way decent person like Manuel Argos!

      Besides the Latin and Anglic used in PA's Technic History, there is also the dominant position of Chinese in David Wingrove's CHUNG KUO series.

      Seano (or however my name might be spelt in Esperanto!)

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    2. Saluton,
      "Sean" estas "Johano."
      Paulo.

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    3. Kaor, Paulo!

      Cool! Meaning " 'Sean' would be or is Johano' " in Esperanto? Gracias! If that would be "thanks" in Esperanto! (Smiles)

      Johano

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  4. Johano,
    "Thanks" estas "Dankon."
    Paulo.

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