7 oct. 2003

I.3a

A translation of someone (Hesiod?): the myth of the ages of history in heroic couplets (and triplets):

"The golden age was first; when man, yet new,
No rule but uncorrupted reason knew;
And with a native bent, did good pursue.
Unforced by punishment, unawed by fear
His words were simple, and his soul sincere."

Man is the 18th century universal "Man." I find this rather glib: a projection of neo-classical values of reason and mankind onto the Classics. Ideological objections aside, it is quite well done in that Drydenesque, epigrammatic way. B+

3b

The same passage in delightful "fourteeners":

Then sprang up first the golden age, which of itself maintainde
The truth and right of everything unforst and unconstrainde.
There was no fear of punishment, there was no threatning lawe
In brazen tables nayled up, to keep the folkes in awe.

Charming and naive. Fourteeners sound kind of "dumb" to the modern ear, but here there have a folksy appeal. The language is more vivid than in the neo-classical version. Late 16th century? Or whenever it was these fourteeners were in vogue. A

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