Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Ormulum continued

The other thing I wanted to discover was how closely Ormin’s translations follow the Latin of the Vulgate version of Bible he would have known and how far he was expounding rather than translating it.

I simply played with three verses (John 2.3-5) which appeared to show very quickly that he consistently took each Latin phrase of the Vulgate text and expanded it to make one of his own fifteen syllable couplets.

The example I enjoyed most was ‘nondum venit hora mea’ (‘my hour has not yet come’) for which he needed just seven syllables (‘ne comm nohht ȝet min time’ – not come not yet mine tim-e) so he had to preface these with a magnificent eight syllable line all of his own ( ‘abid, abid, wifmann, abid’ - abide, abide, wife-man, abide).

So here are the verses adapted from the handout I generated. First the Latin which Ormin would have known, then the English of the much later Wyclif Bible which tracks the same Latin very closely, and finally Ormin’s couplet.

Et deficiente vino
And whanne wijn failide
[and when wine failed]
& teȝȝ win wass drunken swa
þatt taer nass þa na mare
[… drunk so that there was no more]

dicit mater Iesu ad eum
the modir [mother] of Jhesu seide to hym
& Crisstess moderr comm till Crist
& seȝȝde himm þuss wiþþ worde
[… said to him thus with word]

vinum non habent
thei han not wijn
þiss win iss drunken to þe grund
& niss her nu na mare
[this wine is drunk to the ground/ bottom
and isn’t here now no more]

et dicit ei Iesus
and Jhesus seith to hir
& ure Laferrd [our Lord] Jesus Crist
þuss seȝȝde till hiss moderr

quid mihi et tibi est mulier
what to me and to thee, womman?
whatt falleþþ þiss till me wiþþ þe
wifmann, þiss þatt tu maelesst
[what falleth this to me with thee
woman, this that thou speakest]

nondum venit hora mea
myn our [hour] cam not yit
abid, abid, wifmann, abid
ne comm nohht ȝet min time
[which isn’t quite
Stop, woman, stop;
this isn’t the time or place]

dicit mater eius ministries
his modir seith to the mynystris [servants]
& Sannte Marȝe ȝede anan [straight away]
& seȝȝde to þe birrless [cup-bearers]

quodcumque dixerit vobis facite
what euere [ever] thing he seie to you, do ye
doþ þatt he shall bidden ȝuw
ne be ȝe nohht taerȝaeness
[do that he shall bid you
not be you not there-against].

Be not there against, indeed.

The picture is a random one from our Spanish holiday – Seville Cathedral, I think.

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