Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hail Poetry

With apologies to Sir Philip Sydney and the Countess of Pembroke

וְאַתָּה אֱלֹהִים
תּוֹרִדֵם לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת
אַנְשֵׁי דָמִים וּמִרְמָה
לֹא יֶחֱצוּ יְמֵיהֶם
וַאֲנִי אֶבְטַח בָּךְ

Task: to render in 'verse' what we here roughly cut: But you, O God, will bring them to the well of destruction. Men of blood and deceit will not-half their days, but I will trust in you.

Psalm 55 (Geneva Bible 1560 - Sternhold Hopkins)

But God shall cast them deep in pit.
that thirst for blood always;
He will no guileful man permit
To live out half his days.
Though such be quite destroid and gone,
In thee O Lord I trust:
I shall depend thy grace upon,
With all my heart and lust.

Now aren't we glad that Hebrew does not use rhythm and ryhme scheme!

The Countess:

But, Lord, how long shall these men tarry here?
Fling them in pitt of death where never shin'd
The light of life; and while I make my stay
On thee, let who thirst with bloud allay
Have their life-holding threed so weakly twin'd
That it, half spunne, death may in sunder sheare.

Wow! Where are today's poets?

Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke and sister of Sir Philip Sydney, was born at Tickenhill Palace, near Bewdley, Worcester, on October 27, 1561. She was married in 1577 to Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke. Her major work, the translation of the Psalms, praised by Donne, was not published until 1823.

1 comment:

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Sylvia Dunstan, born in 1955, died at age 35, was a recognized master poet and hymn writer. She also translated the psalms into poetry but they are so far unpublished.