Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Hobbit in Ancient Greek, paragraph 16

Γανδάλφε, Γανδάλφε! Βαβαί! Μή ὁ μάγος ὁ πλανητός ὁ δούς τῷ Τούκ τῷ Πρεσβύτῃ δύω περόνας μαγικάς ἔμψηφας ἐμπερονησάμενας ἑαυτὰς οὐδέποτε λύουσας ἕως ἐπιταγῶσιν;  Μή ὁ ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις εἴπων μύθευματα τοιαῦτα θαυμαστὰ περὶ δρακόντων καὶ μορμολυκεῖων καὶ γιγάντων καὶ βοήθειας βασίλισσων καὶ εὐτύχιας ἀπροσδόκετης υἱῶν χηρῶν; μή ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὁ ποιήσας τοιαῦτα ἄριστα πυροτεχνήματα; μιμνῄσκομαι ταῦτα! Πρεσβυτης Τούκ αὐτά εἶχεν  ἐν τῇ  προτεραίᾳ θέρου μεσοῦν. Λάμπρα! ἀνέβαινεν ὡς κρίνα μεγάλα καὶ δρακάνθη καὶ λάβυρνα πυρρος καὶ ἐκρεμάνετο ἐν τῷ ἀέρι ὅλην τὴν ἑσπέραν! Κατανοήσεις ἤδη ὅτι Βάγινος οὐκ ἦν σχέδον ποιητικός ὡς ἤθελεν πιστεύειν καὶ ὅτι ἐφίλει ἄνθη. προσετέθη λέγειν· ἔα! Μή ὁ Γανδάλφος ὅς ἐποίει τοσούτους παίδας καί κορασίας ἡσυχίους ὑπαγειν εἰς τὴν ἔρημον εἰς τολμήματα μάνικα. ὑπαγουσιν ἀναβαινόντες δένδρα ἤ ἐπισκεπτόντες Ἄλβιους ἤ πλεόντες ἐν πλοίοις τοῖς αἰγιαλοῖς ἄλλοις. Βαβαί, βίος ἐτερπ-  σημαινω, ἐταράσσες σφόδρα πράγματα ἐν χώραις ταύταις ἐν ἡμέραις ἐκείναις. ἄφες, οὐ ἐγινώσκον ὅτι σύ εἶ ἔτι ἐπ’ ἐργασίας.

“Gandalf, Gandalf! Good gracious me! Not the wandering wizard that gave Old Took a pair of magic diamond studs that fastened themselves and never came undone till ordered? Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at parties, about dragons and goblins and giants and the rescue of princesses and the unexpected luck of widows’ sons? Not the man that used to make such particularly excellent fireworks! I remember those! Old Took used to have them on Midsummer’s Eve. Splendid! They used to go up like great lilies and snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the twilight all evening!.” You will notice already that Mr. Baggins was not quite so prosy as he liked to believe, also that he was very fond of flowers. “Dear me!” he went on. “Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures. Anything from climbing trees to visiting Elves - or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! Bless me, life used to be quite inter - I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts once upon a time. I beg your pardon, but I had no idea you were still in business."

Translation notes:

  • πυροτεχνήματα = fireworks. I coined this word as I thought it would have been in ancient Greek if they had fireworks. Then I discovered that this actually is the word for fireworks in modern Greek! 
  • δρακάνθη = dragon-flower (coined), since I can't find a word for "snapdragon" in ancient Greek. 
  • Ἄλβιος = Elf. I cannot find a good ancient Greek equivalent for Elf, so I have transliterated it from the Old English word for Elf. Modern Greek uses Ξωτικος. 

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