Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Hobbit in Ancient Greek, paragraphs 12-13


Γανδάλφος δὲ εἶπεν· Ἀστεῖος σφόδρα! ἀλλά οὐ δύναμαι χρονίζειν ἐκφύσων κύκλους καπνοῦ τούτο τὸ πρωΐ. ζητῶ τινα κοινωνεῖν ἐν τολμήματι ὅ παρασκευάζω καὶ χαλεπόν λίαν ἐστιν εὑρίσκειν τινα.

[Very pretty! said Gandalf. But I have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning. I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.]

Ἀπεκρίθη Βάγινος ἄνθρωπος ἡμῶν· Ναὶ, δοκεῖ μοι οὕτως ἐν ταυταῖς ταῖς χωραῖς! ἔθνος εὐήθες καὶ ἥσυχος ἐσμεν καὶ οὐ τιμῶμεν τολμήματα. ταλαίπωρα γὰρ ἐστιν καὶ ταρακτικά καὶ δυσχερά! ποιεῖ ἐσχατίζειν εἰς δεῖπνον! οὐ δύναμαι εἰδέναι τί φιλεῖν τινα αὐτά. ὑποτιθέμενος δὲ ἀντίχειρα μίαν ὑπὸ τὴν ζώνην αὐτοῦ ἐξεφύσησεν ἄλλον κύκλον μεγατέρον καπνοῦ. ἐκβαλών οὖν τὰς ἐπίστολας αὐτοῦ τὰς καθ᾽ ἡμέραν καὶ ἀρξάμενος ἀναγινώσκειν ὑπεκρίθη μηκέτι ὁρᾶν τὸν πρεσβύτην. ἐκεκρίκει γὰρ ὅτι οὗτος ἀλλοῖος τις ἐστιν, ἠθέλησεν δὲ ὑπαγαγεῖν αὐτόν. ἀλλά οὐκ ἐκινήθη ὁ πρεσβύτης. εἱστήκει ἐπιστηρίζων τῇ ῥάβδῳ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀτενίζων τῷ ὅββιτῳ μὴ λέγων μηδέν, μέχρι Βίλβος δυσχερός σφόδρα ἐγένετο καὶ ὀλίγον ἠγανάκτησεν.

[I should think so - in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them, said our Mr. Baggins, and stuck one thumb behind his braces, and blew out another even bigger smoke-ring. Then he took out his morning letters, and begin to read, pretending to take no more notice of the old man. He had decided that he was not quite his sort, and wanted him to go away. But the old man did not move. He stood leaning on his stick and gazing at the hobbit without saying anything, till Bilbo got quite uncomfortable and even a little cross.]

Translation notes:
  • our Mister Baggins could be κύριος Βάγινος ἡμῶν, but "our Lord Baggins" just won't do. I am trying Βάγινος ἄνθρωπος ἡμῶν, since ἄνθρωπος seems to sometimes have a similar function as Mister.
  • Thumb (ἀντιχείρ) is very rare in Greek. The LXX uses τὸ ἄκρον τῆς χειρὸς, but that phrase is rare also.
  • There is not a good ancient Greek equivalent for braces (= suspenders), so I went with belt (ζώνη).
  • Morning letters I decided to render with τὰς ἐπίστολας τὰς καθ᾽ ἡμέραν, daily letters.
  • Not his sort is idiomatic English, so a little hard to translate. I came across a similar Greek idiom in LSJ, ἀλλοῖον τι, "of another sort" which implies "of the wrong sort."

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